Roscon de Reyes – 3 Kings Parade in Spain

Roscon de Reyes is a traditional sweet cake to celebrate the Spanish Christmas & the 3 Kings parade on 5th Jan, Epiphany.*

At this time of the year all across Spain families like to share a “Roscones de Reyes”, a delicious sweet pastry ring, which is shaped as a crown to welcome the Epiphany of the Three Kings on 5 January. This is one of the oldest traditions in Spain, and can be traced back to the 12th century, if not before.

This is usually the most magical night of the Spanish Christmas calendar, especially for the children. The three Wise Men or Kings visit houses and leave presents for everyone or parade local streets & town centres. They can be spectacular with the Kings giving away sweets and presents to joyful , excited children. Loud music is blaring, the costumes are glitzy and theatrical and people dance. In Madrid, the capital, they televise the parade to the country which usually includes some very special guests and celebrations. It’s a HUGE parade and worth a look. Of course all towns and villages, like the Hondon Valley make the effort too.

*Alas. COVID-19 wil curtail mass gatherings and celebrations in 2020 but we are sure the Spanish will embrace and do what they can.

These Roscones are usually decorated with pretty colourful candied fruit and are often stuffed with a cream or chocolate filling and it is lightly fragranced with “aqua de azahar”, made with the blossom of orange. Look out for the little figurine of Jesus or some similar gift, as it brings luck (if it doesn’t bring the dentist).

The Covid crisis is having a big effect on the bakers of these Roscones, with sales down by one third this year, reflecting the fact that big family gatherings are being avoided at this time. if you can support your local bakers, rather than the supermarkets #lovelocal.

Remember that the 6 January is a public holiday to celebrate Los Reyes and children finally get to open their presents on the evening before.

Have you tried a Roscon? Where is the best place to buy one?

*Based on an article by Dino T.

Visit our Office in Frailes…

We have a Hondon Villas office in Frailes, Spain.

Hondon Villas Oficina
Calle Juan Carlos I #24,
Plaza Central, Hondon de los Frailes.
Alicante 03689 : España (Spain)
GOOGLE MAP

Business Hours / Horas de Trabajo
WEEKDAYS: 10.00 ~ 17.00 / Lunas – Viernes 10.00 – 17.00
WEEKENDS & EVENINGS by Appointment
Sábado y domingo con cita previa

WEEKDAY TELEPHONES:
OFFICE +34 965 075 357 / MOBILE +34 683 635 339
EVENINGS & WEEKENDS: MOBILE +34 683 635 339

Thank you! A friendly and trusting environment…

Gaziza recommends Hondon Villas Estate Agent (via Facebook).

We spent 6 months searching for property on the Costa Blanca before finding the Hondon Valley. We met Maureen at Hondon Villas Estate Agents and, compared to many other estate agents we had met on our travels, we were immediately impressed by her friendly personality, local knowledge and how perceptive she was of our needs. She guided us through multiple viewings, providing valuable support with patience and understanding and going the extra mile to research and ensure the accuracy of information she provided, including informal consultations with local lawyers.

It was a pleasure to do business with Hondon Villas estate agents in such a friendly and trusting environment and we would recommend them to anyone looking to buy property in the Hondon Valley.

Thank you Gaziza for your glowing review. We truly appreciate this gesture. This year in particularly it means so much and helps us remember why we do this (at times, stressful but rewarding job). We wish you happiness in your next chapter :-)

Happy New Year Message… 2020 into ’21

happy New year in 2021 from Hondon Villas, Spain

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.

The 2020 Covid Pandemic.

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.

A slice of the Euro pie !!

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 Valleyalthough 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.

Glorious Grapes! 40 Million Kilos of Them.

The Spanish love their grapes for the Festive Period, especially New Year. And the reports are that it is a bumper harvest expected in Spain, especially in the Vinalopó / Hondon areas. This year’s production of PDO Vinalopó Bagged Table Grapes amounts to 40 million kilos.

Vinalopo Grapes for 2020

At the beginning of November, the harvesting of the Aledo variety grape kicked off in the Vinalopó region. This fruit is traditionally consumed on New Year’s Eve in Spain following a tradition that dates back at least to the final years of the 19th century.

In an interview with Agencia Efe, the president of the PDO Vinalopó Bagged Table Grape, José Bernabéu, said that they are looking towards a “good campaign” both in terms of production and marketing. This year sees an excellent quality of the product and the good market response to “the best protected grape in the world.

He said that the weather has been “very favourable” this year since September. The crop has benefited from the dry climate in this area of ​​the Region of Valencia, necessary to obtain a “premium quality” product.

In addition to the good weather, “the product is being well-received in both national and foreign markets,” says Bernabéu. “However with a good supply and demand the growers are not being forced to lower the price of the fruit, as we’ve seen happen in previous years.” They have been the same price for about 20 years.”

This year, the production registered under the PDO amounts to 40 million kilos, counting all 7 protected varieties. In addition to the Aledo, there are also Victoria, Ideal, Red Globe, Doña María, Rosetti and Dominga grapes.

The Vinalopó grape is harvested in the municipalities of Novelda, Monforte del Cid, Aspe, Agost, Hondón de los Frailes, Hondón de las Nieves and La Romana, and gives employment to more than 10,000 people.

#lovehondongrapes

Article Fresh Plaza [ freshplaza.com ] c2020

Sold! Sold! Sold! Hondon Villas :-)

Finally some good news in this Covid-19 year!! Hondon Villas have been busy in these difficult times. It’s been hectic to be honest, a surprise given the current pandemic. But we are happy to report multiple sales post Lockdown. Congratulations to all involved.

It’s a relief as we all know it is a worrying time for businesses that rely on movement of people and freedom of travel, like us. And of course the dreaded Coronavirus has impacted on people wanting to travel to/from Spain for their holidays and property inspections.

Thankfully people still want to move homes or invest in property in Spain and the glorious Hondón Valley is on many people’s list right now… or at least they have been for us, Hondón Villas.

It’s been a mixed bunch of sales, mainly from people already living in Spain and either upsizing/downsizing or moving areas. However, we have had two that flew in from the UK (safety measures in place of course) just to view a property, loved it and paid the reservation deposit! Bonus! And so pleased for vendors and buyers alike… more dreams made.

Anyway, so we need more properties to replenish stocks. Property that sells in the right location and at the right price. it can and is being done.

Let us know if you want to be listed with Hondon Villas, the first choice agent for 15+ years in the Hondón Valley area.

INTERESTED? CONTACT US:
TEL: +34 965 075 357
Mobile +34 683 635 339

OFFICE: Central Plaza in Hondon de los Frailes
Office Location: https://www.hondonvillas.net/google-maps-for-hondon.php

A Place in the Sun Property Portal

We love #aplaceinthesun. We had the honour of helping them many times for their show here in the Hondón Valley areas.

HV- Place in the Sun MagazineSummer2020

Well you can also see a good selection of Hondon Villas for sale on the APITS property portal.

We strongly recommend that you register with them as they have lots of generic online help & online webinars for buyers of homes abroad. Most of the main presenters are involved too. You can download buyer’s guides too to read on your web device and even ask questions on their social media pages. Start on the main APITS “The Hub” section here. ( https://aplaceinthesundigital.co.uk/the-hub/ )

or see their downloadable Buyer’s Guides here.

We Love To Help… 15+ years in the Hondon Valley!

CONTACT US TO MAKE AN ENQUIRY or APPOINTMENT
Hondon’s First Choice Local Agent for 15+ Years!
TEL: +34 965 075 357
Mobile +34 683 635 339

OFFICE: Central Plaza in Honodn de los Frailes
Google Map: https://www.hondonvillas.net/google-maps-for-hondon.php


Thoughts: Spanish Housing Market 2020

[August 2020] What a year so far!! Here are some rambling thoughts for now … in a very fluid 2020!
As we write we are 6 months into the Covid 19 pandemic. Masks, sanitising and social distancing are still compulsory here in Spain. It has affected all our lives in some way. By now most of us have seen personal and professional problems as a result of the pandemic… losing family or friends, unemployment, businesses closing, financial hardship and a general difficulty in coping with the uncertainty.

It’s this uncertainty and the restrictions on activities that lower people’s confidence in their immediate futures, their short-term plans. Life changing decisions, like changing jobs, investment, holidays, moving house & migration, will be put-off or even cancelled for now. There’s a knock-on affect of course. And we are not out-of-the-woods yet (August 2020).

House Price Index (Spain)

So it is fair to say that Real Estate in Spain (a key economic driver) over 2020 will continue to be & has already been impacted by various Covid related lockdown restrictions in travel, employment and the economy. Spain’s House Price Index* and property sales volume has been a snail’s pace upwards from 2013 to Q1, 2020… but because of Coronavirus we suspect the index to drop when the whole of 2020 figures come out, especially if things do not improve with the pandemic. Brexit will also be in the mix come Q1, 2021. How we’d like a crystal ball right now!

Property Price Index Spain ... 2008 to 2020 Q1 (Pre Covid)

The graph above (c/o Kyero.com) shows a steady price increase from 2013 up to pre-Covid but also shows how prices dropped steadily after the crisis of the 2008 crash. You can also see that Spain still has not reached the heady days of the property boom before 2008.

* General Council of Spanish Notaries Public.

Sales & Mortgages Down

Kyero also report that during this last year up to April 2020 both the volume of sales and mortgage approvals have taken a dive just as Covid was taking a hold. Up to Q1 2020 there was a 39% reduction in sales volumes and -18% less mortgages approved in Spain. In our Valencia region sales are down 12%.

Hondon Valley Area…

Whilst Hondon Villas (the Hondon Valley, Alicante, Spain) saw no meaningful business during the lockdown period it has been surprisingly buoyant since we all went back to “normal” work mid-June. Trading conditions are still difficult but interest in buying / selling in Spain and in our case, the Hondon Valley area, is still keeping us busy right now…. thankfully.

But we would not be human if we didn’t show concern about our industry and our livelihood. Business wise it’s hard to justify investment right now or taking on more staff…. are all an if/but debate. Not knowing demand & supply is a strain. Paying bills, like rent and wages is a stress.

Still we are far from beat yet … Real Estate in general is an awkward cash-flow business anyway, relying on sporadic, unpredictable results (especially since the crash of 2008) and we don’t get paid until completion of the sale. So we are used to forward planning and ensuring we have a “float” to work from. In our case we can see creditor payments in the pipeline for pre-Covid sales to give us some comfort. That helps. And our appointment diary is busy for the short term at least.

As you’d expect both seller and buyer are cautious right now and we are all trying to work out the game plan. Of course the seller always wants the best top price and the buyer wants to barter down the price! Nothing new there then.

It’s a fact that in the Hondón areas in general, the supply of property out strips the demand = buyer’s market !! And it means buyers are gold. A seller that will not negotiate, can and do regret it. Covid may well have exacerbated this.

In the Hondon Valley areas, we’d definitely say it is still a buyer’s market, houses rarely get the asking price. Typically, 10/15 K off the asking price is normal… and buyer’s like to make the “cheeky offer” a la “A Place in the Sun”, and they are more savvy to the Spanish property market than we were 15 years ago. So seller’s have to be realistic and motivated on price if they want to sell.

The Brits can mitigate this if they play the Sterling/Euro exchange and are returning to the UK with their equity. Just a few cents per pound can make £1000’s on a sale of a house. So if a Brit bought during the boom €1.46+ to the £ era, then the lower exchange rate is now in their favour going back to the UK.

Also, we know the local Hondón economy is not wholly reliant on full employment as there are few jobs and careers here anyway (apart from seasonal farm work / construction / hospitality. We rely on the investment and pension income of foreign property owners in the main. The market and area here is now about 20 years established… so we are on the property map so to speak for re-sales and new build. It’s money in, very little has to go out, so to speak. So in that way Hondón is a bubble and can buck the national trend.

Lowest Property sales fee in Hondon

So…. overall as we write…
we, at Hondon Villas, still believe and are increasingly getting more confident that Spain, and the Hondon Valley areas, is still a massive attraction for relocation, retirement and holiday home purchases. There is no lack of enthusiasm to live abroad in sunnier climes. After all this area is still as beautiful, tranquil, very Spanish and houses prices are amazing value compared to northern Europe. We attract mainly affluent, cash-rich 50+ age groups / retirees from the UK, Netherlands & Belgium looking for that slower sunnier lifestyle so they are not so worried about employment or the cost of living.

Yes, the Spanish Real Estate market might take time to pull its socks up post Covid, but the green shoots are already here in Hondón. Caution is still key of course and not withstanding a worsening of Covid-19, or another strict lockdown on travel / hospitality.

One thing for sure we do know is that Spain has plenty of property available if and when anyone needs it and to suit all budgets and tastes, inland or coastal. The Spanish government may even add incentives or tax breaks to encourage the property market like they did post 2008 crash. Hopeful.

Here’s hoping to a post-covid shopping spree on Spanish property. Salud!