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Analysis of the property markets and where they are likely to be going. -- Buying property in Hungary

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Retirement/Holiday Homes in Hungary

Okay, you really want to own a holiday home. I know, there's something about owning things. I usually disapprove, but mainly for reasons of cost efficiency. Buying a holiday home in Southern Europe simply doesn't make any economic sense when you can rent so cheaply, but there are other places where the maths work in your favour.

Have you ever thought of Hungary?

You have an ancient cultural heritage which is intriguing on any level. The food is fabulous, and so are the wines. They are cheap, tasty, and, in some cases (sorry about the pun) the best in the world. Think Tokai.

I haven't been back for some time, but when I used to live there, every saturday night we used to go to one of the hotels and sit at long tables and eat and drink ourselves silly while the band played, and half the diners insisted on singing as well, and dancing. And yes, some of the girls did get up on the tables.

That was back in the bad old communist days when I arrived in town with two suitcases, one containing knickers bought in M&S, and one containing bras. The first girl I accosted for help proved to be wonderful help, and took me back to her place where I stayed for a month. Happy days! Some of her friends were so excited at the gear, they even tried them on in the living room. As I said, Happy Days.

Budapest is a wonderful city. You should go.

But there is more to the country than the capital city. You can take a river-boat down the Danube from Vienna to Budapest. It's a great trip. You should do it some day.

How about hiking in the countryside, boating on Lake Balaton, touring the vineyards, exploring the caves, riding through the forests. This place is wonderful. And if you like more classical music do visit the Esterhazy palace in Fertod, where my friend and I sat at Haydn's piano and played duets, and then stood in the wonderful horse-shoe shaped courtyard and watched as a German brass band on holiday brought out all their instruments and set up for an impromptu gig. The acoustic was unbelievable.

The sound was set off by another impromptu event. One piece of music had a one beat rest, and a dog outside barked bang in time with the gap. Magic!

It's a place you could really get to love if you find endless sun and sand boring. And you can buy a small place using your credit card. The prices for houses on the members' Hungary bulletin start at £5,500! I kid you not. If you dont check out these prices you are missing a treat indeed.

Why on earth would you want to buy some over-priced apartment in the Algarve which some smarmy estate agent claims is "cheap at the price"? Do you really believe €150,000 is a bargain, when you can get on the property ladder in Hungary for less than €10,000?

Next summer I shall be going back. I miss the wine and food. I miss the girls, and I miss those saturday night bashes. And maybe I'll come across another German band setting out their stall in the grounds of another stately home.

I've just picked some figs off my fig tree at the bottom of the garden. I'm sure I've got one bottle of Tokai wine left. Pardon me while I go and open it, and dream sweet dreams.


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