The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU Working Paper - No. 33

The Failure of Socialised Housing Policies in Hungary

26 March 1985

Author: Simon Ratcliffe

Publication Date: September 1989

In 1983 the Hungarian government introduced a new Housing Act which overturned the essentials of the housing policy that had been in place since the Hungarian Working People's Party had first taken office in 1948. The emphasis in policy would now be towards the private provision of dwellings and allocation would be done through the market. The previous housing policy had attempted to assert the dominance of the state as the central source of housing provision, by trying to suppress market mechanisms through nationalisation, rent controls and subsidies. The underlying aim of housing policy was a desire to correct social inequalities that had been at the heart of the policies in the previous capitalist era. The aim of this study is to explore how socialised housing policies came to be abandoned in favour of the market.

It is important at the outset to draw attention to some of the limitations of this work. To examine the full complexity of a topic like this, would require a study that goes beyond the scope of this paper. For this reason some key aspects have been ignored. In examining the context in which housing policy functioned, a comprehensive analysis of the social formation is required. This study has examined in some detail the economic circumstances, but has ignored both the political and the ideological conditions, because ultimately it is the economic factors which play the determining

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