Residence Permit
June 6, 2024
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Real estate, business or bonds: guide on the investment opportunities in Hungary

Hungary is becoming increasingly attractive to foreign investors thanks to a rising economy and a wealth of investment opportunities. Investors can choose from securities and stocks, invest in startups, or purchase property.

Investors contributing at least €250,000 to Hungarian assets will be eligible for a 10-year residence permit, which is also extendable to family members.

Investment opportunities in Hungary in 2024
Real estate, business or bonds: guide on the investment opportunities in Hungary

7 benefits of investing in Hungary

1. Residency opportunities. Investing in fund units or real estate grants the chance to obtain residency in Hungary. Starting July 1st, 2024, foreign investors who purchase real estate fund certificates for at least €250,000 can get a 10-year residence permit under the Hungary Golden Visa program.

Starting January 1, 2025, buying residential property worth at least €500,000 will also qualify for residency. Properties can be used for personal purposes or rental. After five years, it can be sold at a profit, as property prices in Hungary have been growing at an average rate of 19% per year since 2015.

2. Access to the European market. As an EU member, Hungary provides investors with access to the single European market. The market operates with almost half a billion consumers and offers associated regulatory and business advantages, including trade without customs duties within the EU.

3. Support for business. The government of Hungary implemented various subsidies to boost the competitiveness of local businesses. For example, entrepreneurs can get regional aid from local funds and VIP subsidies for investments, training, and job creation.

Hungary’s corporate tax rate is the lowest in the EU at 9%, compared to Austria’s 23% and Germany’s 30%. Companies that invest in R&D, SME, and job creation can get incentives of up to 80% of the corporate tax.

4. Advanced economic conditions. The country boasts a highly educated and skilled workforce, particularly in the engineering, IT, and manufacturing sectors. At the same time, labour costs are generally lower compared to Western Europe.

Hungary also has a well-developed infrastructure, including modern highways, reliable energy supplies, and advanced telecommunications networks, which support efficient business operations.

5. Strategic location. Hungary's central location in Europe makes it a strategic gateway to other European markets, providing easy access to the rest of the continent. Moreover, the country is at the crossroads of three major European transport corridors. This is particularly beneficial for logistics and distribution businesses.

6. Investment-friendly legal framework. Hungary has been a member of the EU for 20 years, so its legislation is fully harmonised with EU law. Companies can be established within one or two days using a simplified procedure, and the cost of company registration is lower than in many other EU countries.

7. Strong banking system. Hungary's banking system is among the most robust in Central and Eastern Europe. Its banks maintain a healthy liquidity reserve and strong capital adequacy ratios, which position them well to handle potential financial shocks​.

The largest Hungarian bank, OTP Bank, is a significant player in the Central and Eastern European region.

Hungary foreign investment 2024
The Hungarian National Bank — the Magyar Nemzeti Bank — was established in 1924, several years after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The bank is located in a historical building in Budapest

Features of the Hungarian economy

The Hungarian economy is open and increasingly diversified, benefiting from robust engagement in international trade, particularly with EU countries.

GDP and inflation. According to the IMF, in 2024, Hungarian GDP per capita reached a threshold of $23,320, ranking the country 48th globally. Within the EU, this value is comparable to those of Portugal and Poland. Hungary is classified as a high-income economy as per the World Bank.

In recent years, global factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine tested the resilience of the Hungarian economy. However, economists anticipate it to get back on track within the next two years. Specifically, the GDP is set to grow by 2.5% and 3.5% in 2024 and 2025, respectively.

Inflation spiked to 17% in 2023 compared to 5% in 2021 but is expected to decrease to 4.5% in 2024 and to 4% in 2025.

Economic structure. Around 65% of the Hungarian GDP is accounted for by the services sector, with significant contributions from trade, tourism, and finance.

The second largest sector of the Hungarian economy is the industrial sector representing approximately 25% of the Hungarian GDP. Manufacturing in Hungary includes automotive, electronics, computer technologies, and construction industries.

Agriculture is the third-largest sector of Hungary's economy. It makes up about 3% of the GDP and encompasses traditional farming, high-value organic and specialty food production, and food processing.

Foreign trade. Hungary plays a significant role in global trade, ranking 35th in imports and 38th in exports worldwide as of 2022. Trade volumes are extensive, with exports and imports each accounting for roughly 80% of GDP.

Hungary exports cars, vehicles and parts for them, electric batteries, medicaments, and computers. Primary imports are petroleum gas, electricity, cars, and broadcasting equipment. Key trade partners in the EU are Germany, Austria, and Slovakia. Outside the EU, it is China.

Labour market. There are about 5 million working individuals in Hungary. The unemployment rate in the country is 4.2%, which is below the EU average of 6%. Employment is projected to increase by 3.5% from 2021 to 2035, with high-skilled non-manual occupations taking 40% of all job openings within this time frame. The average monthly wage in Hungary is €1,600.

Hungary residency by investment 2024
The values are measured by the purchasing power parity and represented in thousand dollars. Source: International Monetary Fund

Hungarian securities market

Investing in Hungarian securities, including shares and government bonds, is a viable option. 

Stock market. The Budapest Stock Exchange allows trading in various securities. Notable listings include MOL Group in the oil and gas sector and OTP Bank, which are significant players listed in the Fortune 500 Europe.

State securities. The Hungarian government issues bonds that appeal to investors with conservative strategies seeking predictable returns. These bonds, accessible to non-residents, come with tenors of 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years, catering to different investment horizons.

Investment funds. There are various types of investment funds in Hungary: money market, bond, venture capital and private equity, mixed, guaranteed, derivative, and real estate funds. The total number of funds on the market is over 800, with assets above €260 million.

The Hungarian National Bank, MNB, is a regulator of the investment fund market. Most funds are registered at the MNB to ensure transparency and compliance with the law.

The most popular type is real estate funds, comprising more than 20% of the market. These funds invest in income-generating properties, such as commercial buildings, residential properties, and industrial facilities. They provide exposure to the real estate market without the need for direct property ownership.

Prominent real estate investment funds in Hungary include:

  • OTP real estate fund;
  • MKB real estate investment fund;
  • Erste real estate fund;
  • Raiffeisen real estate fund.

An investor can get a residence permit in Hungary after purchasing units of real estate funds. The minimum investment requirement is €250,000.

Investment in Hungarian real estate

Foreigners can buy real estate in Hungary without needing local citizenship or residency. To proceed, they must obtain permission from the authorities. Hungary offers a Guest Investor Visa, making it easier for investors to reside and manage their investments.

A lawyer typically assists in the purchasing process, handling the necessary permissions and communicating with the authorities on behalf of the investor.

Property price. The real estate market in Hungary has shown significant growth, increasing by around 20% every year since 2015, far outpacing the EU's average growth of 5%. 

In 2024, the average apartment price in Hungary ranges from €2,040 to €2,690 per square metre, depending on the location. Prices in Budapest are about a quarter higher than nationwide, ranging from €2,430 to €3,560 per square metre.

Associated costs. Investors pay associated fees when buying a property. For new properties, they pay VAT at a reduced rate of 5%, which is normally included in the property price.

Buyers also incur expenses such as stamp duty, which is 4% for the price portion of up to 1 billion forints, or €2.6 million, and 2% for the exceeding amount.

Service fees for lawyers, realtors, and notaries can total up to 5% of the property price, with administrative fees generally not exceeding €320. Overall, associated purchasing costs can amount to up to 10% of the property price.

Taxes. Property taxes in Hungary are levied annually and can vary by region, often calculated either as a flat rate per square metre or as a percentage of the property's market value. Rental income and capital gains from property sales are both taxed at 15%.

Investors purchasing residential properties in Hungary worth at least €500,000 are eligible to obtain a 10-year residence permit under the Hungary Golden Visa program.

Examples of investment real estate in Hungary

Business investment in Hungary

In 2022, the total value of inward foreign direct investment in Hungary was approximately €98 billion, marking an increase from previous years.

The Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency, HIPA, was established to attract foreign investment. In 2023, the agency managed to secure investments worth €13 billion for 209 projects, effectively doubling the investment volume of the previous year.

According to the HIPA, the key business sectors in Hungary include:

  • automotive;
  • electronics;
  • IT;
  • business service centres;
  • battery production;
  • medical and biotechnology;
  • food industry;
  • chemical and packaging industries;
  • logistics.

Hungary also has a growing startup scene, hosting around 2,900 startups. The startup environment is vibrant, with an emphasis on tech sectors such as AI, data analytics, cybersecurity, and fintech. The government supports this sector through business incubators and education programs aimed at nurturing innovation​​.

The Hungary Golden Visa — a program tailored for investors

The Hungary Golden Visa program offers non-EU nationals the opportunity to obtain a Hungary residence permit by investment in the country’s economy. Residency is granted to both investors and their families. The permit is issued for 10 years with the possibility to extend it once for an additional 10 years.

Investment options. The minimum investment amount is €250,000. Investors can choose one of the three options:

  1. Buying units of a real estate fund. Investors can buy units issued by a real estate fund registered with the Hungarian National Bank. The minimum investment is €250,000+.
  2. Residential property purchase. The minimum investment is €500,000, fees and taxes excluded. This option becomes available starting January 1st, 2025. Properties purchased before this date will not qualify.
  3. Charitable donation. A minimum donation of €1 million is required. This non-refundable contribution goes to an institution of higher learning to support education, scientific research, and artistic or creative activities in Hungary.

To maintain residency, an investor must retain fund certificates or real estate for 5 years. After this period, they are allowed to sell the asset and recover their investment. The donation to an educational institution is non-refundable.

Requirements for applicants. To be eligible to participate, an investor must:

  • be over 18;
  • be a non-EU or a non-EEA citizen;
  • have a legitimate source of income;
  • have medical insurance.

Family members, including a spouse, children under 18, and dependent parents, can be added to the application. 

There is no residency requirement. The investor and their family may move to Hungary or choose to stay in the country of their residence and enjoy the benefits of the EU residency remotely.

Documents. The list of required documents includes:

  1. Passport with at least 12 months of validity remaining.
  2. Two recent 3×4 cm photos.
  3. Health insurance.
  4. Proof of the legitimacy of the income.
  5. Bank statement showing a cash balance.
  6. CV for each family member over 18.
  7. Marriage certificate, if applicable
  8. Birth certificates for children.
  9. Residency application form.
  10. Written confirmation of the intention to fulfil the investment condition — for the Guest Investor Visa application.
  11. Confirmation of investment — for the Hungary Golden Visa application.

Residence permit extension. To qualify for an extension, the applicant has to meet one of the following conditions corresponding to the initial investment option:

  • hold a fund share worth at least €250,000 at the time of claiming the extension;
  • own the purchased property, ensuring it is valued at no less than €500,000; if the property was sold or its value decreased below €500,000, a new property should be purchased;
  • if the initial permit was granted for a non-refundable donation, it is extended automatically upon request.

How to get Hungary residency by investment

To obtain Hungarian residency by investment, a foreigner must visit the country to fulfil the investment condition and apply for a permit. The entire procedure takes approximately six months.

1 day
Preliminary Due Diligence
Preliminary Due Diligence

Our Certified Compliance Anti-Money Laundering Officer conducts a thorough verification of the investor’s data against international databases. This process allows investors to reduce the application refusal risk to just 1%.

The procedure is completely confidential and requires only a passport.

2 weeks
Collecting documents
Collecting documents

Our lawyers provide an applicant with a list of necessary documents, help fill out the application form, and manage document translation and notarisation.

4 weeks
Obtaining a Guest Investor Visa
Obtaining a Guest Investor Visa

The investor initially applies for a Guest Investor Visa allowing them to enter Hungary and make an investment. The visa is valid for up to 6 months and allows its holder to cross the Hungarian border multiple times.

If the applicant’s country has a visa waiver agreement with Hungary, this step is skipped.

Up to 3 months
Arriving in Hungary and fulfilling the investment condition
Arriving in Hungary and fulfilling the investment condition

Upon entering Hungary with the Guest Investor Visa for the first time, the investor has 93 days to invest in the chosen option: purchase a property, buy securities, or make a charitable donation.

1 day
Applying for a Guest Investor residence permit
Applying for a Guest Investor residence permit

After making the investment, the applicant submits documents for a Hungary Golden Visa either online or at the Hungarian immigration authority.

The application is processed for several days. In case of approval, the investor makes an appointment with the migration office to submit the original documents, provide biometrics, and take a photo.

3 weeks
Receiving a Hungary residency card
Receiving a Hungary residency card

The residency card is mailed to the investor’s address specified in the application within 21 days.

To maintain residency status, the applicant must retain their investment in real estate fund units or property for 5 years. After 5 years of ownership, they can sell the asset.

After 10 years
Extending a residence permit
Extending a residence permit

The residence permit for investors in Hungary is initially valid for 10 years. One can extend it once for 10 more years, provided they continue to meet the investment requirements.

Getting a Hungarian passport with a Hungary Golden Visa

Individuals with Hungarian residency can apply for permanent residency after three years, provided they do not leave Hungary for more than 4 months in a row or more than 270 days in total. Permanent residency is granted for life, although the associated ID card must be renewed every 5 years.

After an additional eight years of residency, a foreigner may apply for Hungarian citizenship by naturalisation. During this period, it is crucial that they do not spend more than 45 days outside the country. The applicant must successfully pass an exam on basic proficiency in the Hungarian language and knowledge of the country's history.

Hungarian law allows dual citizenship, meaning an investor can obtain a Hungarian passport without renouncing their first citizenship.

best ways to invest in Hungary
A Hungarian citizen can travel visa-free to 171 countries, including the EU member states, the UK, the UAE, and Hong Kong; to visit the USA and Canada, an e-visa is needed

Key points about Hungarian investment opportunities

  1. Investing in Hungary provides significant benefits, including access to the vast European market, substantial business and tax incentives, and the opportunity for residency by investment in fund units and real estate.
  2. There are various investment paths in Hungary, such as securities, business, and real estate investments.
  3. The Hungary Golden Visa program offers non-EU nationals a pathway to residency by investment. This residency is valid for up to 10 years and covers investors and their families. The minimum investment is €250,000.
  4. Applicants for a Golden Visa can choose from three investment options: acquiring property worth €500,000+, purchasing real estate fund units for at least €250,000, or making a charitable donation of €1+ million. 
  5. Investors can obtain permanent residency after 3 years of living in the country under a qualifying permit. They become eligible to apply for Hungary citizenship by naturalisation after 8 years of living in the country with permanent residency. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best investment opportunities in Hungary?

Investment opportunities in Hungary include business investment, buying securities, and property purchases. 

The government offers incentives to support foreign direct investment in business. The key sectors are automotive and ICT.

The stock market offers viable options with significant companies like MOL Group and OTP Bank. Conservative investors might prefer government securities for predictable returns. 

Investments in real estate provide rental income and capital appreciation prospects, with the market showing substantial growth. 

How much to invest in Hungary to get citizenship?

In Hungary, citizenship by investment is not possible. However, foreigners can obtain residence permits by investment. To do so, they need to contribute at least €250,000 to the country’s economy.

An investor must come from outside the EU and the EEA, be over 18, prove legal income, have health insurance, and have no criminal records.

After living in Hungary for a total of 11 years, investors can obtain Hungary citizenship by naturalisation.

What is the most successful business in Hungary?

The most successful business sectors in Hungary include automotive, electronics, IT, and business service centres. These sectors are buoyed by significant foreign direct investment, which totaled approximately €98 billion in 2022.

Additionally, Hungary’s vibrant startup scene, especially in AI, data analytics, cybersecurity, and fintech, underscores the country’s emphasis on tech innovation and growth. 

Why is Hungary attractive to foreign investors?

Hungary’s strategic central European location, serving as a transport corridor between Western and Eastern markets, significantly enhances its attractiveness to foreign investors. 

The country boasts an investor-friendly environment characterised by the EU’s lowest corporate tax rates, extensive economic incentives, and streamlined business establishment processes. Furthermore, Hungary offers a well-developed infrastructure and access to a skilled yet cost-effective workforce.

Is Hungary good for earning?

Hungary’s economy is growing and provides diverse investment opportunities. The country features low corporate tax rates and a lower cost of living compared to many Western European nations. 

Hungary’s strategic location in Europe and robust infrastructural developments offer numerous business and employment opportunities, particularly in sectors like IT, automotive, and manufacturing.

Can I get residency in Hungary if I buy a house?

Yes, starting January 1st, 2025, buying a house in Hungary can qualify for residency. Investors need to purchase residential real estate valued at a minimum of €500,000 to obtain a 10-year residence permit. 

Applicants must come from outside the EU and the EEA, be over 18, prove legal income, have health insurance and have no criminal records.

Can foreigners buy property in Hungary?

Yes, a foreigner can purchase real estate in Hungary; citizenship is not required. To buy a property, one needs to obtain permission from the Land Registry with the assistance of a lawyer.

If a foreigner buys a residential property worth €500,000 or more, they are eligible for a 10-year residence permit. This option will be available starting January 1st, 2025, under the Hungary Golden Visa program.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the European Union and the Caribbean.

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