Briefly on foreign citizens purchasing property in Hungary

Basically, with a few exceptions, such as agricultural land, non-Hungarian citizens are free to buy property in Hungary. However, the obstacles faced by nationals of different countries differ as to whether a special permit is required.
Cases where no special permit is required for non-Hungarian citizens to purchase real estate.

The following cases do NOT require governmental permission:

  • Citizens of European Union Member States, legal persons or organisations without legal personality,
  • Citizens of Member States of the European Economic Area (EEA) (Norway, Lichstenstein, Iceland), legal persons or organisations without legal personality,
  • nationals of Switzerland (on the basis of the Agreement on the free movement of persons  promulgated by Act CXXV of 2006), and
  • Dual citizens, if one of the citizenship of this person is a Hungarian or EU citizenship, and acquisition of real estate of Hungarian citizens living abroad, and
  • In case of inheritance
In the case of nationals of third countries not covered by the above exceptions, the acquisition of real estate requires a permit from a government office

In all cases other than those listed in the above point 1, foreign natural and legal persons may acquire ownership of real estate only with a government permit.

For natural persons, if they are not citizens of any of the above countries, regardless of their status in Hungary (e.g. settled, immigrant, refugee), they need a government permit to acquire real estate.

The procedure is subject to a fee, the procedural fee is HUF 50,000 per property.

A foreign natural person who has the right of free movement and residence, or a person with settled status AND who has initiated the acquisition of Hungarian citizenship, pays a reduced fee (HUF 10,000) for the acquisition of residential property.

The average duration of the procedure is between 45 and 90 days, which should be taken into account in the event of a purchase contract, as the permit is usually a condition of effectiveness of the sale, without which the title cannot be registered with the Land Registry.

The application must also be accompanied by the following:
  • the preliminary contract or agreement for the purchase of the property
  • a certified title deed for the property to be acquired, not more than 21 days old
  • where the applicant is not acting in person, one original copy of the power of attorney given to the legal representative or other natural person acting on his/her/its behalf
  • an official certificate of good repute attesting to a clean criminal record
  • in case of minor applicants, a certified copy of the birth certificate (translated by OFFI – National Centre of Translation and Translation Validation of Hungary )
  • in the case of natural persons, a certified copy of the applicant’s valid travel document or other means of identification
  • in the case of legal persons, a certified or notarised company certificate not more than 21 days old
  • proof of payment of the procedural fee

A frequently asked question for UK citizens regarding the acquisition of property. In view of the legal situation post-Brexit, UK citizens are not exempted from the requirement to obtain a licence for property acquisitions.

In the near future, the above rules are also likely to change in light of the new Act XC of 2023 on the General Rules for the Entry and Residence of Third-Country Nationals including the issue of the residence permit for third-country nationals who purchase real estate worth up to EUR 500,000, where third-country nationals will be obliged to prove the purchase of real estate via the electronic aliens’ registration platform within three months of entering Hungary, if they apply for a residence permit (guest-investor permit). Such a short time limit of three months is likely to entail a review of the licensing process for property acquisitions, although the content and details of this are not known at this stage.