After one of the coldest winters on record in Spain, the province of Alicante is already seeing the first and glorious pink and white blossom of the almond trees on their farmland. The areas of Torrellano, in Elche, Hondón de las Nieves and Hondón de los Frailes, in the Medio Vinalopó, the districts of Marina Alta and Vega Baja are some points of the province in which you can already enjoy a beautiful landscape. The pictures below were taken 1st week of Feb’ 2021.
Nature is wonderful and brings us this “blaze” of glory each year. It is common for the first petals and the first almond buds to begin appearing at the beginning of February. The local residents get excited about this, as not only is the Hondon Valley full of colour for the first time of the year, but it heralds the start of the warmer and longer sunny days.
The relatively high temperatures in recent weeks in the region, where in some points, such as Elche, have reached between 18 and 20 degrees! We’ve seen people sun bathing on the coast. However, the local farmers are a little worried that some almonds groves in the mountains may be exposed to possible early morning frosts as the local temperature and inclement weather can be cold in the evenings / mornings in February. Lately the Hondon Valley is feeling 5-9 degrees first thing. BRrrrrrr! But all is well by mid-morning and a lunch al-fresco is a still a pleasant experience.
So how do you like your almonds? … Sweet or savoury? Roasted and salted, spiced, cookies, ground into cakes, marzipan or mixed in muesli… what’s your favourite use of local almonds? Enjoy. They are delicious. #almondblossom
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.
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.
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: +34 622 314 244 OFFICE: Central Plaza in Hondon de los Frailes Office Location: https://www.hondonvillas.net/google-maps-for-hondon.php
Private Swimming Pool with 6 Double Bedrooms – SOLD!
NEW PICTURES & A VIDEO!! This large fully renovated finca is situated 5km outside of La Romana and would make an excellent B&B.
PLEASE MAKE AN ENQUIRY or an APPOINTMENT TO VIEW
Key Property Points: Heated Private Swimming Pool • 6 Double Bedrooms • Outside Kitchen • Out Building • Furnished • Carport • Under Floor Heating • Feature Wood Burner • Fully Fenced Plot.
Hondon Villas are pleased to bring onto the market for sale this very large fully renovated finca that would make an excellent business opportunity. The property consists of 6 bedrooms, 2 lounges, 3 bathrooms, a dining room and a fully equipped kitchen. There is also a storage room. Externally you will find a large heated swimming pool,an outside kitchen, a workshop, various terraces and a carport
What is the good news? In a nutshell IT HAS GOTTEN VERY BUSY in Spanish Real Estate very quickly post lock-down. And we can see it here in Hondon too. Whilst we could see that from our own website stat’s we got confirmation from a major International property portal today!
We’ll take that as at least a positive sign Spain is still a desired property hot spot. We already know Hondon is fantastic place, great value and popular with retiring Europeans.
Busy, Busy, Busy: As we navigate the “new normal”, post Covid-19 Lockdown we are pleased to see how busy our Hondon Villas office in Hondon de los Frailes is now.
July 2020 – RightMove says: Searches for property in Spain are up 25% compared to June last year… For the last three consecutive months, searches to Rightmove Overseas have been higher than last year. On Sunday, there were over 1 million property searches on Rightmove Overseas for the first time ever – that’s 73% higher than the same Sunday last year. This resulted in the highest number of leads sent to overseas agents and developers in a single day : c/o RIGHTMOVE OVERSEAS
Let’s be honest, most of us are a little worried or uncertain of the future right now. International Real Estate is directly affected by lock-down/quarantine travel restrictions. Here in Hondon the property market demographic is mainly the northern Europeans buying /selling. And they need to travel. We need them to get here to see & snap up the Hondon Valley bargain prices.
Rising Online Browsing & Enquiries: Thankfully, many buyers can research and browse online. Of course we have our own dedicated websites, social media, blogs and other portals to display our properties. They all report rising visitor numbers over the last 2/3 months after the lull of March, April and into May 2020.
That’s GREAT NEWS as it is proof that the appetite to buy Spanish property is still strong despite the pandemic we are still in. Our emails / telephones / Facebook / Whatsapp are teaming with enquiries. We have had to bring staff back early to cope!
As a long-term advertiser with the UK’s biggest Property Portal “RightMove Overseas” we regularly get bulletins and today WHAM BAM! they confirmed that their portal has NEVER BEEN SO BUSY for overseas property enquiries.
… something good is happening and right now we need to smile.
Local resident and writer Trudie Le Beau recalls her winter “moving-in” experience into the Hondon Valley many years ago to “live the dream”. She opted for a new build as many did in early 2000’s as Hondón redeveloped itself. Of course new builds have to become homes and that means getting stuck-in! But it’s a happy ending. Thank you Trudie, here at Hondón Villas we wish you many more happy years in this gorgeous tranquil part of rural Spain.
When in November 2004 my husband and I moved into our villa in Hondon de los Frailes it sat lonely and unadorned in a plot of dirt with not a blade of grass in sight and which, much to our dismay, still represented a building site inside.
Snagging the Property Fortunately we had one day free before our furniture was due to arrive so, instead of treating ourselves to a celebratory lunch, we hastened along to the Ferretaria in Hondon de las Neives to buy buckets, mops, scouring pads etc and spent the rest of the day sweeping up cement dust, mopping floors, cleaning gunk off windows, scrubbing grout and cement from various surfaces and falling into our camp beds exhausted.
Not the best start but thank goodness our furniture arrived as planned and things soon began to look much more homely once we had somewhere to sit and the fire (of which our builder Paco was very proud) was lit.
Over the next few weeks Paco visited on an almost daily basis to attend to the odd snags that presented themselves, like the radiator leaking, the shower head being put on back to front and the boiler not working. We also had bathroom furniture and wardrobes fitted so for a few weeks the place felt more like Piccadilly Circus than home.
A Pool? It’s all going Swimmingly! The next thing to organise was the swimming pool and once we had decided where to position it, we set things in motion. Earth was excavated and a frame of re-bar and the pipe work were fitted, and that was when it began to rain. Our dirt patch soon became a sea of mud but, dear old Paco came to our rescue by laying a path of scaffolding boards from the gate to our steps, but unfortunately each time we walked on them they sank a little deeper into the liquid, brown slurry and almost disappeared.
The rain continued relentlessly so naturally we assumed that the pool installation would be put on hold, but how wrong could we be! The next day a cement lorry arrived to pour in the base of the pool, which it managed to do but by which time it had sunk into the mud up to its’ axles; at that point we closed the door, put on the kettle and switched on our VHS recorder (we had no television at that point) in order to drown out the raised voices and what we were sure were Spanish expletives!
Eventually the pool was finished and our plot resembled a stock car racing track but peace reigned. It was February by then and freezing cold, so much so that when the water lorry came to finish filling up the pool the water that was already in it was frozen. Never mind, we were starting a new life and we’d discovered that booze was cheap and the natives were friendly.
Slowly but surely the Hondón summer feels more like the “dream” Things improved no end through the summer months. We began to plant out the garden (with the aid of a kango hammer) and had plenty of visitors who didn’t seem to be phased by the frequent electricity cuts and days with no water – at least we had the pool. We were able also to have a telephone and wi-fi installed as well as a television – all the creature comforts of home.
New Furry Friends By this time we had acquired two dogs that needed homes. One was a beautiful Husky that had belonged to the bathroom fitter whose circumstances had changed, making it difficult to look after her and the other, an Alsatian cross who had been abandoned. There seemed to be so many dogs in need of help then but over the years, thanks to the wonderful people at Hovar and Barkinside to name just a few the sad problem of feral dogs has receded.
Hondón is Still a “Gem” all these years later… If we ever had any doubts about moving to Hondon de los Frailes they didn’t last long. Over the years we have seen the village gradually grow and improve so that at present it has just about everything one could ask for in the way of amenities, yet it still retains the quiet peacefulness that first attracted us to the Hondon Valley.
What could possibly be better than sharing a meal with friends and family whilst watching the sun set on a beautiful summer evening in Hondon de los Frailes? Can’t think of anything? No, nor can I.
Copyright 2020. This article was kindly written for Hondon Villas and the Hondón Community by Trudie Le Beau, a member of the Hondon Writing Circle . She has recently published her book “The Petite Chronicles”.
Percy Chattey Books publish ‘Story Telling®, a series of Short Stories and Poems in both digital eBooks & paperback formats available online via Amazon and Kindle.
Many property buyers and sellers and the general economic “experts” have been asking will the current Covid-19 crisis adversely affect the Spanish property market and house prices?
Well the short answer is YES the market will change, it already has, but of course we are entering a “new normal” right now so predictions can be wild. After all we have a moving target. What about the Hondón area?Please read this to find out more…
At Hondón Villas we endeavour to keep abreast of the Spanish property market & house prices. It’s helpful to be able to advise our clients. The data and reports we look at are varied and from quite a few sources, such as property portals and official government stats. These, are of course, a few months retrospective, usually quoted as annually or quarterly. Nonetheless, they are a good indicator.
The Spanish Property Market Late 2019
The market reports surfacing now are for Q4 2019 / earlier this year (pre-Covid-19). They all pretty much show the Spanish property market had a positive line with overall, an average 3~5% increase in property prices across the country. Here are a few highlights. (c/o Spanish Property Insight).
Kyero.com says Spanish house prices are down for Q1 2020 already. They report the average price of a Spanish property is €249k, down from a figure around €270k at the end of last year. That’s nearly an 8% reduction. We can’t attribute this wholly to the current pandemic though.
The Ministry of Public Works (Fomento) +2.1% in the last quarter (Q4), based on official valuations
The National Institute of Statistics (INE) index +3.6% in Q4, based on data from the Land Registry
The Spanish Land Registrars’ Association +7.2% in Q4, using their ‘repeat sale’ methodology
The Association of Spanish Notaries index +0.5%% in February 2020
The Idealista.com (property portal) resale asking price index +3.2% in March
Two thirds of property for sale in Spain are apartments. Most Spaniards live in flats.
So the 2019 Spanish property market was jogging along OK, but was also showing a slow decline. We at Hondon Villas thought 2019 was a good year locally for us, despite the BREXIT uncertainty. Our key buyers are from the UK, Netherlands and Belgium. All the nationalities seem keen to come to live in our areas. The Hondon area community is about 50/50 locals and Expats. So a few reasons to be buoyant for the local property market but maybe not over-excited given Covid-19 has affected all these key countries.
Where are we in 2020?
We think there will be very little house price data to publish for Q2 2020 now the market is at a standstill. It could be 6 months before we can see how Covid-19 truly affects property prices.
SPI (Spanish Property Insight) did a recent survey of its readers: Foreign investors expect Spanish house prices, in particular holiday-home prices, to fall by 10% or more.
The Hondon Valley, an Established Buyer’s Market
Of course, country & regional property trends factor in the price indicators of cities and towns and the general Spanish buyer’s/seller’s habits. So these reports can be wide indicators as they DON’T focus on local markets like Hondón. For that we rely on our own sales / listings, monitoring other local agents, enquiries and of course the client’s negotiations as they buy or sell. After 15 years in the area we have a good handle on this.
The Hondon Valley property market, since the 2008 crash, has been a buyer’s market. Very few sellers get their asking price and a buyer inevitably makes a lower offer. The prospect these days are wiser to the market.
For non-Euro nationals, like the Brits, the currency exchange rate can also influence property prices. But, prices (as well as supply & demand), give or take 5%, have remained fairly stable over the last 5 years in this area.
It’s worth bearing in mind also that the Hondón Valley property market is established and mature now, with the boom being 15 years ago. This makes it much more transient as Expats move to other parts of Spain, downsize or return to their native countries. Of course migration to & from the area is mainly retired northern Europeans. The local economy is reliant on seasonal agriculture with little in terms of work prospects. There is less reliance on employment or growth. Therefore, resale property account for more of our business than new build and mostly represent better value.
Concern after the long Pandemic Lockdown in Spain
Of course, now the dreaded COVID-19 crisis has temporarily stopped the real estate market for a while. Agents in the Hondon / Alicante region have not been able to conduct house viewings for safety reasons. This should change soon, as we write, Spain is phasing in de-escalation of the severe and long 3 month Covis-19 Lockdown here.
This is a big concern for all parties involved, in what is a key sector of the Spanish economy. Covid-19 has also affected, globally, people’s confidence in life-changing choices, their health and their wealth. Europe, particularly Spain, has had some severe lockdowns, no travel in/out of the country & between regions. Tourism has suffered and has shown depressing stats for coronavirus infections and deaths (about 35,000 deaths at time of writing). External factors and how other countries handle the crisis in health and economy is also likely to affect international real estate markets.
All the above post Covid-19 problems are a worrying mix that will influence the Spanish property market supply & demand and so with it the price negotiations.
Post Covid-19 Changes: A Moving Target
We have no crystal ball on how Covid-19 might adversely affect prices, supply and demand. It’s a moving target. We are, as we write, still on Phase 0 of lockdown in the Hondón Valley. Many say there will be a second Covis-19 spike! But early feedback from clients during this time suggests we can be at least optimistic there will be a local market as we have had enquiries to view and to sell during the lockdown. No-one as yet as taken their house off the market because of COVID-19.
But to what extent the market will change, for now, we are unsure. But many retired Expats will want to return to their home countries for health / family reasons which means new houses coming onto the market. We repeat that our key market is the retired, cash-rich couples still looking for “a place in the sun“. These buyers still exist and are looking for value for money away from the crowded tourist traps.
Also, before Covid-19 we got indication that many Brits in particular wanted to get out of the UK, post Brexit vote. And of course Hondón still offers quality villas & value for money compared to many other northern EU countries.
How will Covid-19 affect the Hondon Property Market?
So, overall, as it stands now, we think there will still be a market worth pursuing in 2020, albeit slower, In general: – The market will be more competitive as supply will outweigh demand – We think prices will decline a few % points in 2020 if the crisis continues until late summer or beyond. Certainly buyers will make offers well below the asking price – It is and will still be a buyer’s market in the Hondón areas for some time – Seller’s may find they have to realistically price to sell if they want to sell quickly – Agents will have to offer better value or improve services to gain a competitive edge – Agent reputation is key in small areas like the Hondon Valley. Agents have shown in the past that they will “steal” clients or use pressure in a competitive market. A bad move or greedy agent will soon find their name is mud in the local bars / social media. – Continued crisis restrictions on air travel, higher travel prices, accommodation costs and a decline in tourism in Spain has and will continue to dent the market potential for international property buyers in 2020. – The Hondón property market relies on mainly European buyers. Any airport restrictions, curtailed schedules, quarantine measures or steep price increases in flights will slow the market down. If so, they’ll be less demand for 2020. – The UK BREXIT plans seem to be on hold amid COvid-19 and may well be delayed if the Coronavirus crisis drains UK resources and effort. Right now it’s an unknown. Uncertainty usually dents a housing market. – UK buyers and sellers will want more certainty before they make relocation or property plans. Again this could slow the market down.
So on the surface it might look doom & gloom. However, once the crisis is over we think Hondon will recover as a micro-market due to the demographic being mainly retired, cash-rich, mobile and time independent. Many here are rarely in a rush to leave and so have flexible plans in terms of price & timescales. Some play a waiting game or have room to move on price and completion.
We know from experience that new buyers also looking to retire here tend to move quickly on a house they like and can complete quickly. As cash buyers, we find houses are bought outright, such is the value of property here compared to Northern Europe. Rarely are mortgages or chains involved. House Sales can be done in 6 weeks, sometimes less.
Providing all parties realise the market is what it is right now and can find an agreeable price we think there the future will be OK, not fantastic for a while, but OK. We think some sellers and buyers need to be realistic and respectful of the current situation as many long term property owners have had to endure a stormy EU market for 10+ years where most, if not all property here has dropped 30-40% in price over that time. It’s been picking up for the last few years but Covid-19 has may well have undone all that.
Hondon is an established market now. The villas are large and usually excellent value. It’s on many Agent’s radar now, there are collaborations, publicity, it’s a summer holiday destination too now… In general it is very buoyant for an inland rural area.
We can also say that the Hondon Valley area is still a sought-after retirement niche for inland property. The sprawling and quality built Urb. La Montanosa is still very popular with foreigners looking for decent sized villas with pools.
So the Hondón property market kind of ticks over rather than shows growth, as there is no substantial new build or major business opportunities at the moment. Friends and relatives of foreign residents see this, the “real Spain” community, they see the value-for-money and look to buy also.
So we have to be optimistic, it’s our job, but of course, we can only speculate and time is our answer. Maybe you disagree? Let us know.
NEED HELP? PLEASE CONTACT US : If you need advice or help with property sales in our area just contact us. We are always happy to assist. You can call, email, Whatsapp, Facebook or best of all walk into our high street office in Hondón de los Frailes – Contact details here >
Supermarkets in Nieves, Aspe, Albatera, Elche, Crevillente
Cinema & Theatre in Elche
Open air markets in abundance – local ones are on Weds & Saturday
Coast and Beach 25/30 minutes
Bars / Restaurants in/near Hondon de los Frailes
Veintiocho 28 Restaurant : Plaza, Hondon de los Frailes – Restaurant and bar, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner most days
La Buena Vida : International Cuisine Restaurant in Hondon de los Frailes Plaza
Bar Caramel : Bar, snacks and music (main road Frailes)
Infinity: Restaurant. Avenida Constitucion #8, Hondon de los Frailes
El Nuevo Valle : Frailes Plaza, Sports TV bar, lunch, dinner, pizza, snacks
Tipsy Terrace : Bar, snacks and meals. Open everyday.
Bar Pepin : Frailes, Main road. daily food, drinks, bingo and quiz
Punjabi Virsa : Frailes Plaza. Sit-in or takeaway curries and Asian cuisine
El Fogon : Barbarroja Bar, restaurant, events and music venue. Private parties catered for
Finca El Romana : Barbarroja based restaurant, bar and guest house
Bars / Restaurants in/near Hondon de las Nieves
La Finca Montanosa : Hotel and restaurant, on the Hondon urbanization
Bocadito Gourmet Restaurant: Spanish menu – Nieves Plaza
Texas Ranch : Americana – Nieves Plaza
La Font : Nieves Plaza (near the fountain
Bombay Indian Restaurant : Nieves Plaza
Central Bar : Nieves Plaza bar, restaurant, BBQ, cafe, music and quiz
Bodegas Cerda : Wine merchant in Nieves, museum and tasting groups
Solo Hazlo : Bar Restaurant in Hondon de las Nieves Plaza
Restaurante Polideportivo : Fish restaurant next to the sport centre, Nieves
Hola! thank you for your visit.
If you are looking to buy or sell property in the Hondón Valley area, please consider Hondón Villas, a local family business for 15 years. We are passionate about property and can advise & hold your hand throughout the process. Our office is in the main Frailes plaza, open Mon-Fri 10.00-17-00 and by appointment at evenings and weekends, WEBSITE : WWW.HONDONVILLAS.NET