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What a Predicament

What a Predicament

Old Jan 3rd 2011, 2:10 am
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Default What a Predicament

I have two Hungarian friends whom both spend time here and in the UK, one says that Hungary is the finest land in the world with the finest people and the finest tradesmen who make the finest goods etc etc.

The other is totally the opposite and says mostly negative things about the place.
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Old Jan 3rd 2011, 3:07 am
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Default Re: What a Predicament

You could probably find similar conflicting views in any corner of the globe. It's like New Zealand, some expats fall in love with the place, others can't wait to get back to Blighty. There is actually an expat website specifically created for slagging off New Zealand.
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Old Jan 3rd 2011, 9:02 am
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Default Re: What a Predicament

Much like the UK, some love it yet others don't have a good word to say about the place.
Myself, I love much about Hungary but there are things I detest, the newly passed media law, the new constitution, the racism and subsequent social problems... I could go on.

I am curious as to whether your friends experiences in Hungary are of the same villae/area? I know of Hungarians having moved from the east or Budapest who swear they would never return whereas the majority of people I have spoken to in Zala wouldn't dream of leaving.
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Old Jan 3rd 2011, 8:42 pm
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Would love to have a list of pros and cons! :-)
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Old Jan 4th 2011, 12:07 am
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Default Re: What a Predicament

Hi Polgardi, I do plan on writing up a buyers guide for the forum, when I get a minute or two

The biggest con I think is people not knowing much about the country before moving here.

It never fails to surprise me that when Brits move abroad, not just to Hungary, they seem to think of that country as a whole and being the same throughout. As in - there are Brits living in Hungary/France/Italy - so it must be an agreeable place to live.
However, as with the UK, there are good areas and not so good areas and within those areas there are villages that have fewer and greater social problems. Just as in Glasgow where you have Drumchapel and the adjoining Bearsden (one a rather rough, mostly council, estate and the other a middle class suburb), in Kent, as in most of the UK, you have estates with drug/alcohol/crime problems sat alongside more desirable locations.

Yet when many people look to buying abroad, they never seem to consider this and go simply for the "cheapest" property without knowing anything at all about the area they are buying in. It doesn't help when you have rather unscrupulous agents setting up shop in these areas (where originally a 2 bed house could have been purchased for £3-4,000 ) they double or triple the price and sell to unsuspecting foreigners. One area in particular that has experienced this is parts of Somogy county. Reports show it to be an area of declining population with many empty properties and a large Roma community (understandable, empty houses, low property prices) and high unemployment. Of course, not all of the county can be classified as such and there are many lovely villages with those on the lakeside obviously being more affluent, that said, there are many villages which we have visited during my daughters research where the poverty and social issues are blatantly obvious and sat alongside the "Roma quarter" are newly renovated foreign holiday homes, many looking as though the owners have "given up" on them.
Forgetting about ethnicity for a moment, it is understandable that in areas of high unemployment, problems such as crime and alcohol abuse will prevail and this is no different in Hungary - there are many other issues affecting the Roma in Hungary but I won't dwell on it here.
Recently a Brit said to me, "the Roma in Zala are different to those in my village - Somogy county" and the main factor in this difference is employment. Zala and Vas, after Budapest and Pest county are recorded as being the most affluent in Hungary and subsequently have lower unemployment. Provide a man with a legitimate way to care for his family and the majority will do so, that same man left with no alternative but to steal to provide, will do so, before long depression sets in, alcohol becomes an escape then an addiction ; it happens the world over and Hungary is no different - only, in Hungary, the Roma have fewer chances, employment opportunities are limited and therefore social problems within Roma communities are greater.

Okay, rant over. Basically, here is the same as the UK, location, location, location. You will pay more for property near the lake, towns and in areas with established British communities. Cheaper properties will be in the poorer counties, areas with social problems or rural areas with few foreigners.
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Old Jan 4th 2011, 12:29 am
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Default Re: What a Predicament

Thank you Rural - this is very interesting and very true. I think its the whole 'rose tinted glasses' scenario. Plus, people tend to run away abroad and find they have the same problems i.e. its not an escape. I am really looking forward to moving to Hungary, warts and all. However if it doesnt work out, it doesnt work out - nothing ventured and all that :-)
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Old Jan 4th 2011, 1:30 am
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Hi Polgardi, I am sure you will be fine. If memory serves me correctly, you have purchased between the east of the lake and lake Velence? I don't know the area well having only travelled through it once or twice but as that part of the lake and around lake Valence are both fairly affluent, the Hungarian and small Roma population will most likely be in employment with the Roma being well assimilated into the community.

Rose tinted is absolutely correct, I remember a Brit telling me, having lived here in a "resort" for a couple of years, about how they went for an exploratory drive and proclaiming how shocked they were that outside of their "comfort zone" there were people living in poverty. They had believed that everyone in Hungary lived as they did or at the very least, as the "Hungarians" in their village and this is just not so.
Another time, a German neighbour of ours told us of his disbelief that some villagers live in such dire conditions, after all this is Europe and people in Europe DO NOT live like that
God help him should he ever visit Bulgaria or further afield, Morocco or India.

That said, some of the pros are: friendly (though rather introvert - hangover from communism?) people, warm climate, laid back lifestyle, affordable eating out and leisure activities and gorgeous scenery (in the hilly or mountainous parts).
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Old Jan 4th 2011, 3:19 am
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Default Re: What a Predicament

As Hungary is often one of the countries people drive through when going from England to Bulgaria I asked for peoples impressions of the country on a Bulgaria Expat website. This is one of the replies:

"Hi Fido, Im probably talking through my Hat but maybe of some help! I have travelled through Hungary, stayed over, visited friends. I have an old college friend that has a great time living in Budapest. It seems easier/cheaper to get to than Bulgaria and its pretty central to other great places. He's always going off to Austria, Switzerland, Italy etc. On the other hand driving from the UK, Austria is like driving through someones well kept garden and then Hungary is just like a big flat unkempt farmers field and not very interesting. Im always nosey and love to stop off somewhere but Hungary doesnt do much for me as for Serbia also. I arrived in Bulgaria just to visit friends for a few days -20C and fell in love, hit me without warning, I'm still here five years later.
For an investment generally property prices in Eastern Europe are now 50% of that 2 years ago. These are great times of change. For those people without millstones around there neck you have better chances of survival these days. Bulgarians come out strong when the are faced with recession.
I would write down a list of your hopes and priorities and things you like to do and see how each country fares, presently financial investment would be low on the list of importance. A motorhome at present is best! and go touring! Good luck "
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Old Jan 4th 2011, 5:56 am
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Hi fidobsa, naturally, if I had only ever visited Norfolk in the UK, I would claim it to be flat and uninteresting (no offence to anyone from Norfolk, chosen purely because I believe it to be flattish). However, this would not be relevant to much of the UK, in particular the mountains of Scotland, Wales, the Lake District etc.

Most of the Bulgarian expats I know of drive through Austria then via Romania or Serbia which will take you across the top of Vas (flat), across country then through either the Southern plains or the east of the country, both of which are flat and depending on your perspective, uninteresting.

The North of the country is mountainous and has amazing scenery - however, I personally would not consider living there. Then there is the South Eastern quadrant which includes Lake Balaton and whilst not mountainous; is hilly, has forests, nature reserves and numerous lakes, some areas within this quadrant I would recommend buying in, others not. This area is very similar to the bordering countries but much less expensive and most likely why a large number of Austrians and Slovenias have purchased in the area. This is of course a sweeping description of the terrain and even in the flatter regions then may be hills and valleys.

With regards to the decision between Hungary and Bulgaria, only you can decide: for us it was a "no brainer". After 3 months in Bulgaria I nearly wept with relief on leaving Gorna station and again with relief on arriving in Hungary and discovering the villages were not full of renderless brick shacks and huge grey concrete municipality buildings. Obviously, that is an entirely personal preference but one that made me realise Bulgarian villages were not for us. Hungarian villages, in the SW anyhow, are overflowing in the summer with an array of colourful flowers, whereas in VT villages there was rarely a flower in sight. The lack of packs of stray dogs was also a huge relief and we have been able to relax here in a way we never could in Bulgaria. Don't get me wrong, occasionally I hanker after a "Yugoslavian Steak" from Stratsalavitsa (sp?) before wandering down to Tsarevets or a club sandwich in the Yantra hotel, I would willingly holiday there but could not live permanently. What we did love in Bulgaria was the "spirit" of the people - extrovert, full of life and a can do attitude then of course the stunning mountain scenery with crystal clear streams though not the grossly polluted rivers and lakes. Even the bargain basement cost of living couldn't have swung our decision to move there and though Hungary has it's faults - Bulgaria, in my opinion, has far more.
Also, Hungary is in Central Europe and due, in part, to the capital gains system, it never saw the bubble inflate the way it did in Bulgaria. Unless buyers have been unfortunate enough to buy through an agent charging a ridiculous 30-60% commission, it is unlikely they will have made a loss or be in negative equity (excluding Budapest). Prices here have pretty much stagnated in recent years, they haven't quadrupled then halved, so you might not make your fortune but so long as you buy wisely, you won't lose it either.
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Old Jan 4th 2011, 6:31 am
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Default Re: What a Predicament

Well my friends have never met each other but both are from the same County, Vas I tell them how differently they think but not in detail.

It's not really neighborhoods and Gypsies and things like that they slag off or praise, but just normal things here in general like the Salami sausages, utility bills, weather anything really, one still pays the doctor in hospital, he reckons you have to to get good treatment. I have never paid them myself (other than for my private room) and I have had brilliant treatment in hospital, of course the other guy swears they are the finest doctors in the world.

I'm stuck in the middle wondering how they can both see things so differently in the same place.
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Old Jan 4th 2011, 6:34 am
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Yesterday the young English speaking lady at the coal yard told me that the east of Hungary is absolutely dreadful
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Old Jan 4th 2011, 6:57 am
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Default Re: What a Predicament

From what we seen, the East and North are far poorer and have a larger concentration of ethnic minorities. The East reminded us more of Romania and Bulgaria, whereas the West, more like Austria and Slovenia. The plains are as flat as a pancake - hence the name, others love this type of countryside but not me. Not surprising really that the majority of foreigners, outside of Budapest, buy in the SW.
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