We at Hondon Villas hope you are well, making it through or at least coping with the current 3rd wave of Covid-19 now spreading across Europe. Keep strong and let us all look forward to a better 2021.
We reflect … Across the board, it was a hard year.
It’s not been a happy year for many, indeed most of us. Either personally or professionally 2020 was a challenging year across the board. Sadly, we have seen and heard some heart-breaking stories of people passing, losing jobs, not seeing family / friends and eroding their normal security or social circles. Many have had to endure isolation, loneliness, hardship and uncertainty and not least of course, had the dreaded disease itself. Everything changed.
We have to thank the frontline & health workers that made life bearable, made the world somewhat safer and kept things ticking over whilst most of us stayed indoors, binging on TV (and food in our case ;-) ). They put their own lives on the line. APPLAUSE!
Well, of course we all saw or heard the news over & over.
Simply depressing on the whole. But …
The Hondón Valley and areas were (and still are) relatively free from Covid. We are quite remote enough inland & not that touristy so the population is fairly static, except in the summer months. Thankfully we feel generally safe here but not complacent or careless. Covid has and can still turn up anywhere. So we keep an eye on the stats, employ the hygiene and social distance rules at all times to protect ourselves, our staff and our clients. Practises had to & did change. The local shops, bars and restaurants also comply. We are open and trading with precautions. The office is open… please call in. We like to talk about houses ( funny that!) but e like to know what you are doing with your new life in the sun, or your hobbies and new friends. Love Hondón and it will love you back.
The cake got smaller, the slices thinner!
But for sure, in terms of business, Hondón area house sales are down over 2019, but not so bad as we feared. We rely heavily, not exclusively, on international travel for new buyers. And as we all know, flights & inter-country movements to/from Spain was/is drastically down in 2020. So logically, there are less people to see or buy villas in the Hondón Valley. And, in turn, less sellers being able to plan their future, reach their goals or even list their homes until the pandemic is over. Indeed the cake became considerably smaller with local agents competing over smaller slices.
Indeed, this is the first year we have not beaten our previous year-on-year sales targets. And we blame the pandemic. We did see more people interested in New Build this year and we found new ways to collaborate with trusted agents, marketing lines and portals.
As a registered business, this downturn was cushioned somewhat by being able to enrol staff on the Spanish Gov’s “ERTE” scheme that pays a % of salary whilst in the “State of Alarm”. Like other agents we had to shut the office in the early months of Covid. We could work from home though to service existing sales, leads and general online upkeep. Nevertheless, it has hit the general overseas real estate industry & holiday trade hard. Already we see some agents / businesses closing up and unseen practises and new ideas to bolster things to survive. Trading got and still is harder in the midst of a Covid & post BREXIT world.
2021? Towards the light…
As humans we try to turn to hope first, to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have to believe things will get better. After all, a Covid vaccine is being rolled out as of now. People & businesses have gotten used to the strict safety measures now. And thankfully, most of us comply and understand the seriousness of controlling Covid for the collective good and all our futures.
Although far from perfect, in the EU we have the back-up and support of Government help and volunteers. Most people got assistance at home and at work and it showed that the “war time spirit” can still surface when called upon. There have been heart-warming stories, human kindness and community heroes. Maybe you had your own hero to help you. Maybe you were a hero.
So onward… as we cannot go backwards.
Hondon Villas, like most small businesses felt the repercussions of a Covid Europe in the first half of the year. Lockdown, meant little or no business, staff confined to home, no travel, no office and literally no customers wanting to buy in a locked down Spain.
But to our surprise, since restrictions were lifted, we have definitely felt more positive about the future of overseas property sales and the Hondón Valley … although we are still cautious as we do not have a crystal ball.
We know from our own online stats, phone enquires, emails, industry news and tourist data that the desire to visit Spain for holidays, buying homes abroad and tourism is still there. How it pans out or how long it takes of course, we don’t know yet. Time will tell. But we have sold houses this year when it was possible, enquiries are coming in, website visitors are up across all our portals and sales channels, and we have email after email saying “we want to buy” / “as soon as we can get over”. We have even had a few sales that have been bought “blind” on the strength of our help, videos, photos and video calls. Other buyers have “popped over” in a non-quarantine period to view property in the Hondon Valley.
Positive and improving
We think demand will return slowly as Covid takes a backseat. We can’t wait to get back to some form of normality. That desire to get a better, more relaxed lifestyle has not gone away, just delayed. We still feel positive at Hondón Villas.
During this lean period (and Christmas is also traditionally quiet) we are:
1) Improving our systems & paper processes
2) Increasing our online presences & portals options
3) Updating auto’ property feeds to portals like RightMove, Kyero, Think Spain and Google
4) Improving our Social Media output in 2021
5) Looking at video/image tech’
6) Re-training staff for a better service, personal experience
7) Intend to improve our Frailes Office
… and more to be announced as and when the pandemic allows.
Keep strong, keep local… We need your support too!
So as it stands, we intend to keep the office open in the Frailes Plaza. Our staff should be better trained and geared up with better tech to assist buyers and sellers. We feel positive & ready that Hondon Villas and the Spanish real estate industry has a good future in 2021 but probably quite slow to return as dependent influences, economy, policy and confidence returns. Here’s to a better 2021.
… please keep strong, support local businesses and follow your dreams.
After all the Hondón Valley, its beauty, its peace and that glorious Spanish sunshine is as appealing as ever.