The main property market season at Lake Balaton is getting off to a tougher start than usual, with the brutal price increases of recent years pushing interest towards cheaper areas further away from the shores. In some places, there are so few interested buyers that even a 10 percent bargain is not considered impertinent. Only the price of newly built houses is not moving, with developers preferring to wait with new projects, reports Világgazdaság.
Energy prices are affecting all corners of the housing market, with prices rising dramatically not only in the capital but also at the Lake Balaton region. Lake Balaton, also known as the Hungarian sea, is deservedly popular with people, but those who want to buy property here will have to dig deep into their pockets.
Tibor Tóth, strategic partner of OTP Ingatlanpont, told Világgazdaság that interest in the region has fallen and demand has dropped, but prices remain at the same level and sellers are not willing to give in. The beginning of spring shows some promise for a market recovery, but this only affects certain areas.
For now, buyers are looking mainly in the agglomeration area of the lake, i.e. 5-15 km from the shore, for smaller houses and apartments that can still be maintained on the reduced utility bills.
Price reductions are not uncommon for such rural properties, nor is it uncommon to bargain down to 10 percent of the price. While properties in these areas are selling for between 135,000-500,000 forints (EUR 340-1,260) per square meter, urban properties closer to the shore can go for a million forints (EUR 2,535) per square meter and above.
Just how expensive properties are at Lake Balaton is shown by the fact that currently, the average price per square meter of newly built projects for sale in Keszthely, at the western corner of the lake, exceeds HUF 1.8 million (EUR 4,560). It is worth noting that in Budapest, by contrast, the price per square meter of such properties is around HUF 1.4 million (EUR 3,550).
In the past, foreign buyers used to arrive, but they have now disappeared. When they do show up, they can hardly believe the price increases that have taken place in the region over the last two to three years.
Currently, buyers are looking for plots and houses in the HUF 20-50 million (EUR 50,700-126,700) range, with a ceiling of HUF 60 million (EUR 152,000).
After that, it is the properties in the hundreds of millions that are more of a fantasy for companies. In the experience of real estate agents, a turn-of-the-century villa for 800 million forints (EUR 2 million) is now more likely to attract buyers than an 80 million forints (EUR 202,000) apartment.
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