Prior to World War II, housing conditions in Hungary were rather backward. Rural housing was inadequate, while rents were high in proportion to incomes. The war of course had a serious effect on the housing situation. Over 80 per cent of the dwellings in Budapest suffered some damage. Of the apartment-room space in Budapest, 23.7 per cent was destroyed, and 1,201 buildings were declared dangerous by the authorities and had to be demolished.
Although reconstruction work started after the war, all efforts were concentrated on repairing war damage, and no new houses had been built until about 1950. Szabad Nep (Free People) of May 8, 1955 reported that 100,000 apartments were constructed during the entire Five-Year Plan period. According to the January 22, 1956 issue of Szabad Nep, 30,000 apartments were built in 1955. In view of the growth of the population and rapid industrialization, construction fell far below the need of the growing industrial population.
As a result of the Communist housing policy, the availability of dwellings has decreased, and many apartments were taken over for office use. This type of expropriation actually was greatest in the industrial centers. Moreover, apartment houses were not properly maintained, and few improvements have been made since 1943-44. In 1952, apartment houses and larger-size family dwellings were nationalized, and the regime was forced to have these nationalized houses repaired.
Prime Minister Andras Hegedus, in his speech before the National Assembly on November 15, 1955, recognized the impossible housing situation and emphasized that the government was ready to begin improvements. Therefore, the government made more funds available for housing construction. Meanwhile, the number of 2-3 room units now under construction will be reduced, with room-and-kitchen apartments given priority. According to the April 27, 1956 issue of Szabad Nep