A city that grows like the ‘kisgömböc’ in Hungarian folk tales. In recent years, Sopron became popular among those economic migrants who would like to work in Austria for a possible higher wage than in their hometown. The incoming crowd brought with it, overcrowdedness, sky-high apartment and sublet prices, traffic jams, parking problems and every other nuance, which correspond with the problems of rapidly and heavily growing cities – as Élménynektek wrote.
To start things off, the traffic problems caused by crossing the border are, although not entirely new, but significant. Among the cities on the Western peripheries of Hungary,
it is from Sopron that is the easiest and fastest to travel to Burgenland,
abound of workplaces. Wien is also easily accessible, mainly due to the excellent train services. Although Mosonmagyaróvár is also a good candidate for those who wish to work in Austria, Szombathely and Győr are much worse, as it either takes too long to commute or there are not as many possible workplaces.
According to last year’s research, the time spent on commuting is 30-60 minutes a day.
The number of commuting people is yearly increasing by 8%, and even those are needed in the labour market of Burgenland (until it is completely full), who might not be well qualified or do not speak German as good. This is often times the topic in Sopron, if nothing else, but from a real estate investor’s viewpoint.
It is a mystery how many people live in Sopron exactly
It is unclear how many people live in the city ridden with problems stemming from overcrowdedness. According to the data of the latest census (2011), this number is 60,548. But everyone ignores this number – for good reasons. There is another data from a study of Sopron’s municipality – the latest official data (2014) – which approximates the number of residents to 70,000. According to ‘native’ people in Sopron, the reality is much more shocking.
They approximate the soul count of Sopron to over 120,000. The infrastructure that was designed for 60,000 people and served Sopron well in the recent decades has collapsed.
Everyone comes from different parts of the country, but of course, the criterium is not Sopron’s beauty or liveability – if you want to know more about Sopron’s beauty, you can read an interesting article here. Rather, it is the enticing job opportunities over the border. It is an option present for a long time; live in Sopron for cheap and work in Austria for good money
The growing of Sopron – and the majority of the Western cities of Hungary – started when the ‘migration onslaught’ from the Eastern parts of the country began. The rumours about Austrian jobs promising 3-4 times the wages than in their hometowns have moved a large number of people.
Nowadays, according to the data which the Trade Union Confederation of Austria published, 20,000 people commute to work in Burgenland every day. The majority is probably doing so from Sopron.
From bed lease to real estate development
Some people who come from the Eastern parts of the country have settled down and intend to stay in Sopron for at least several years. They work the day over the border and come back to sleep and rest, and they either send the money back to their family or save to buy their own property. While others only seek temporary accommodation to try their luck abroad and if they succeed, they move to parts of Austria further away in the country.
It was Sopron’s municipality themselves who stated that such solutions appeared that were not present since between the world wars.
Take for example the bed lease, but the rows of working clothes drying on the balconies of hotels is not an outlandish sight to behold either.
Some people come alone, others with a whole brigade of workers and some sell their properties at home and move to Sopron with the whole family and relatives. At first, they rent an apartment and later, from the high Austrian wage buy their own. Purchasing real estate and building homes for rent is a huge business in Sopron. Some of the wealthier people in Sopron have been taking their part in the business lately.
The price of the newly built properties is approaching that of Budapest’s property prices, which means about 1400€ to 1600€ (450,000-515,000 Ft) per square meters. The average apartment or flat can be rented for around 310€ to 470€ (100,000-150,000 Ft) – and over – per month alongside 2-3 months bail. And there are the old and serious investors as well. Some real estate professionals know about a Russian businessman, who bought 35 lots in a resort area at once.
Thus, the lots in the city are virtually gone and in the formerly suburban parts of Sopron, apartment blocks are sprouting like mushrooms.
It is unknown how many people are there, yet they are nowhere
The municipality noticed years ago that a significant portion of those who move to Sopron do not register themselves in the Office of Government-issued Documents as residents, because then they would not be able to check in to the non-taxpayer apartments. This is, of course, the interest of property owners to save a little money. But there is certainly a bigger problem.
Those who work in Austria pay their taxes there as well, but they still ‘use’ the city.
While there were considerations about tolls for commuters using the roads to go over to the other side of the border, none of it can be heard anymore. Also, a 2017 study gives account for a surprising fact; a significant amount of commuters – 40% to be exact – spend their time in Hungary, or Sopron during the day. This is probably due to the flexible working hours.
They live here, but they do not care
The local newspapers had sounded the alarm for a long time. The illustration of Cyberpress perfectly portrays the case of overcrowdedness in Sopron, which has worsened since.
The city in the respect of everyday life has filled up to the brim.
There are also some other problems. The previously mentioned study also showed that many commuters are not interested in events concerning Hungary, their homeland. Only 15% of them follow the progression of domestic affairs in the media daily.
Although it has become a little bit crowded, Sopron is still worth a visit. And while at it, you might be able to avoid the crowd if you try these places out.
Featured image: www.facebook.com/PölczKlaudiaPhotography
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