The government decree laying down the details of the village family housing allowance ‘csok’ has been published in Magyar Közlöny (Hungarian Gazette), the government commissioner for the development of modern settlements announced at his press conference held on Monday in Budapest.

Alpár Gyopáros said the village ‘csok’ is part of the Hungarian Villages Programme, and its goal is to offer extra support to young people who wish to start a family and a home in the countryside. The range of eligible settlements includes those villages with a population of less than five thousand whose populations decreased between 2003 and 2018 as well as villages which are situated in the most disadvantaged districts. These are 2,486 settlements in total.

The detailed regulations now released supplement the general ‘csok’ decree, will enter into force on 1 July, and will remain in force for three years as expected at this point in time, but the effects of the village ‘csok’ will be monitored on an ongoing basis, and a decision will be made three years from now, at the latest, on whether the arrangement should continue, and whether the range of eligible settlements should be extended, he said.

Outlining the rules which depart from the general ‘csok’ rules, the Government Commissioner said if a person wishes to avail themselves of the village ‘csok’ for buying a used property and at the same time for the upgrading and enlargement of the property, they may receive the same amount of support as for the construction of a new home in the case of the general ‘csok’. This means a non-repayable grant of HUF 600,000 for one child, HUF 2.6 million for two children, and HUF 10 million in the case of three children. At the same time, in the interest of reducing potential price boosting effects, maximum one half of these amounts can be used for the purchase of a property, and the remaining part for enlargement or refurbishment.

The village ‘csok’ – one half of the mentioned grant amounts – can also be used for the upgrading and enlargement of existing homes, Mr Gyopáros informed the press.

Additionally, families agreeing to have two, three or more children will also have access to state interest-subsidised loans: in the case of combined purchase and upgrading or enlargement projects, families with two children will be able to apply for loans up to HUF 10 million, while families with three children for HUF 15 million. One half of these sums will be available for the upgrading of existing properties, meaning HUF 5 million and HUF 7.5 million, respectively, he said.

He further told the press that the village ‘csok’ will also be available in every farming community in the country where there are residential properties.

He also said that, in the interest of avoiding abuses, applicants will be required to prove a clean criminal record with a certificate of good conduct; the village ‘csok’ will not be available for the purchase of homes from close relatives or businesses owned by the applicants themselves; and the competence of local clerks will be extended in order to ensure that contractual performance is duly verified.

Mr Gyopáros finally explained in detail what qualifies as upgrading. He specifically mentioned the installation of public utilities, bathrooms, washroom facilities and central heating, including the use of renewable energy sources, building insulation, the replacement of doors and windows, roof refurbishment, the building and modernisation of chimneys, the refurbishment of interior spaces, the renovation of outbuildings, and the building and modernisation of fences.

In answer to a question, he said that, according to their calculations, the village ‘csok’ could have an annual impact on the central budget worth tens of billions of forints, but it could amount to as much as a hundred billion forints.