Data journalism

State-owned properties worth €131.2 million were given away for free to municipalities and churches

The Hungarian National Asset Management Inc. gave away 1152 pieces of real estate for free since 2010. The value of the formerly state-owned properties that were given to churches or municipalities is 42.5 billion Hungarian forints (approximately €131.2 million at today’s exchange rate), a freedom of information request by Atlatszo revealed. We created a map and an infographic to show you where these properties are located and how much they are worth.

The Hungarian National Asset Management Inc. is a supporting organization of the Ministry of National Development and it exercises ownership rights over state assets of over 16 trillion Hungarian forints. These assets include companies and real estate as well. The company is called  Magyar Nemzeti Vagyonkezelő Zrt. (MNV) in Hungarian.

Atlatszo recently reported that MNV has been auctioning off Budapest real estate recently and was selling them under market price. Most of these were bought by a few business groups who profited from the deals. MNV argues that it is selling real estate in order to increase revenues.

However, MNV is often giving away real estate for free: to churches and municipalities. Atlatszo filed a freedom of information request to learn how many buildings or parts of buildings were given away for free.

According to the data, MNV gave away 1152 pieces of real estate since 2010 and their total value is 42.5 billion Hungarian forints (€131.2 million at today’s exchange rate).

MNV sent us the list of the real estates as 22 pages of a bad quality PDF. However, we managed to convert it into a spreadsheet and map the locations using the MePAR database.

When there were two or more pieces of real estate (e.g. apartments) in the same building on the list, registered under the same land registry reference number, we marked the building with only one dot on the map.

Most of the buildings or apartments are given to municipalities to help them carry out their basic tasks and duties.

You can zoom in on the map and see where the real estate given away is located and how much it is worth – according to the MNV data.

The color purple marks the real estate given to churches; the color blue marks the real estate given to municipalities.

We also list who which organizations were given the biggest value and which year had most of the real estate given away.

According to the graph, churches received real estate worth roughly 14.5 billion Hungarian forints while(€44.8 million) municipalities received real estate that is worth almost 28 billion Hungarian forints (€86.4 million).

The biggest value, real estate worth 5.7 billion forints (€17.6 million) was given to the Hungarian Reformed Church. The second is the town of Törökbálint, with real estate worth 5.1 billion (€15.7 million).

If you zoom into this satellite map, you can see the buildings themselves:

Written by Attila Bátorfy

Hungarian version by Anita Kőműves. You can see the original, Hungarian-language story here.