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CSOK home subsidy scheme expands in March

The government will expand its home purchase subsidy scheme for families with children, known by its Hungarian acronym "CSOK," from March 15. In addition, application procedures will be made easier and quicker, Katalin Novák, state secretary for family affairs at the Ministry of Human Capacities, said on Wednesday.

The program will be expanded to include families returning from abroad, provided they made social security contributions in the foreign country where they resided and if one member starts making social security contributions in Hungary within 180 days, national news agency MTI reported. 

CSOK will also be extended to families who already own property and buy new or resale homes. Currently these families may only apply for CSOK subsidies if they buy a new home. Those building additions onto their homes can avail themselves of the subsidies even if construction work has already started, and CSOK may be applied to the full cost of the project.

Applications will require the submission of fewer documents and banks will have to process applications within 30 days of home purchases and 60 days for home construction.

The government launched the scheme, which awards subsidies and preferential credit for home purchases to families with children, late in 2015. Big families are eligible for grants of up to HUF 10 million, as well as preferential loans.

Meanwhile, data released by the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) show that last year close to 11,000 homes were foreclosed due to non-performing loans. Most of them - some 6,300 - have been purchased by Hungarian National Asset Management Inc., in a scheme which allows former owners to continue living in their homes in exchange for a rental fee. Banks sold 2,318 homes, while owners sold 2,219, business daily Világgazdaság reported.