The first almond flowers arrive 2018!

The province of Alicante is already seeing the first 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 of the points of the province in which you can already enjoy a beautiful landscape.

This flowering is earlier than usual in the region. It is common for the first petals and the first almond buds to begin appearing at the beginning of February. The high temperatures registered in recent days in the region, where in some points, such as Elche, have reached between 18 and 20 degrees has been the final push for this week to start to appear the first flowers. However, the farmers are a little worried that some almonds trees may be exposed to possible frosts as the local temperature and inclement weather is forecast to be poorer.

Grapes and wine are part of Hondón’s Heritage

The Vinolopó area produces 40 million kilos of table grapes every year. The Hondon Valley is at the heart of this production … you will see acres and acres of land is dedicated to the grape (mainly for eating). It is a key employer of casual labour at bagging and harvest time. Of course the late harvest means some grapes are kept back for the New Year celebrations where locals, on the stroke of midnight try to down 12 grapes and sip cava with each chime of the town hall bell. Not easy we can tell you!

Grape Bagging in Hondon

Beyond Hondon other regions are producing wine grapes, Jumilla is one to note. Hondon de las Nieves has the outstanding Bodega Cerdas that would grace any city as both a building and as a historic reference to one of Spain’s key industries and culture. If you live or visit Hondon then you really should pay Bodega Cerdas a visit and purchase the local wine or take in a Tapas on the terrace.

» More about the Vinolopo grapes here.

Spain. The global magnet for holiday makers and property investment

Momney Exchange in the Hondon ValleyThe sun is shining, the £/€ rate is great and property prices in the Hondón Valley are a buyer’s market.

So you do not have to look far to see why Spain is so popular as both a holiday destination, property investors and as a place to migrate to. Many northern Europeans, especially the Brits, Norwegians, Germans and the Dutch are well established in Spain’s population count… it’s of course a lot warmer and a more relaxed way of life… and so it is very easy to be seduced by the sun, sea, sand and sangria!

Spain receives over 60 million international tourists a year which is more than the whole population of Spain, (47 million).So Spain is well geared up for international airports, flight schedules and can be relatively cheap. It’s usually very easy to get to from the UK / North Europe. And of course it is served by plenty of low cost airlines (Ryanair, Jet 2, Easy Jet, Vueling, etc).

We all love the sun and Spain has a great climate all year round… yes that much loved Mediterranean lifestyle and the superb infrastructure is a massive draw. The roads and healthcare are excellent and it’s easy to get around. Car Hire is very cheap compared to other European countries.

But Spain has of course had its own share of problems since the 2008 crash and is still recovering. However, it still offers good value for money when buying property and there’s plenty of choice for buyers on all budgets. And as I write the exchange rate £/€ is best it has been for a while.

House prices are still depressed and so there really are some incredible bargains on resale. It’s a great time to invest in Spanish Property, particularly in the inland areas like Hondón de los Frailes / Nieves.

About 800,000 Britons already live in Spain, making it one of the most important host countries for UK expatriates abroad. Spanish healthcare and education costs can be competitive and there is also a healthy appetite for running small businesses in the tourism sector. Many Expats run bars, restaurants, domestic  services, property management, pool cleaning and the sort.

> Place in the Sun – Guide to Buying Spanish Property
> http://www.aplaceinthesun.com/spain.aspx

If a prospective house buyer for the area asks you:
What are the best things about living in the Hondon Area?
What would your answer be?
The 300+ days of Sun? Friendly People? Food? Pace of life? Mountain Views? Sense of Community? Work? Play? Fiestas? … the peace maybe?
Any more suggestions?

Tranquilo – Introducing the Hondon Valley

Video by Hondon Villas c2017
Enjoy the sunshine, the views and chill. This video is a short introduction to the glorious Hondon Valley inland to the Alicante Region, Costa Blanca South, Spain.

INTERESTED? CONTACT:
Email: property @ hondonvillas.net
Tel: OFFICE: (0034) 965 075 357

The Hondón Valley is a peaceful, friendly, warm place surrounded by mountainous scenic beauty

The main two villages of Hondon de las Nieves and Hondon de los Frailes nest in the beautiful Hondon Valley. The relatively newly built Urbansation of La Montanosa is sandwiched between these two Hondón villages.

For decades they have grown an abundance of agricultural delights such as Grapes, Almonds and Olives (the main economy).

Hondon is surrounded by an expanse of stunning mountain views and traditional arid Spanish countryside. These excellent vistas are a delight in all seasons! Take a walk or drive through the country roads and you will just marvel at the changing light, shadows and picturesque skies.

The Hondon Valley is well known for its mild climate and pleasant summer breezes, which is very welcoming in those hot summer months when temperatures rarely fall below 30 degrees. The region enjoys sunshine in excess of 310 days per year, where the air is very clean and the pace of life slow. Hondon offers a very peaceful and stress free life.

Come take a look at the Valley of the Vines, drink the local wine under the bluest of skies and feel the warmth of the Spanish sun on your face … and you’re hooked! We were! We love it!

WEBSITES & SOCIAL MEDIA:
UK Site: http://www.hondonvillas.net
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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hondonvillas/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hondonagent
Blog: http://www.villasinhondon.net/

Drones in Hondon Valley. Good or Bad?

As an established estate agent in Spain, Hondon Villas are always keen to use new technology if it helps present and sell our clients houses, improve our real estate services and help speed up our work flow.  [ Published on: 29 May 2017 ]

We did consult an experienced lawyer on the use of drones ( see below). She advised us that in a nutshell: it seems clear that currently in Spain (2016) it is not advisable to fly drones for commercial purposes or anywhere over urban or populated areas, particularly government owned or where security and privacy is paramount. To do so can incur massive fines.

Background: Well we saw some excellent promo’ footage of luxury properties in places like Marbella, Florida, UAE, etc. After seeing these we thought that for some luxury properties with a global appeal, aerial photographs or video would help the prospective buyer in their potential property choices.

But are they of use in Hondon? Does the law allow us? Well,  about two years ago we at Hondon Villas researched the use of Drones for aerial photography as we were unsure of the appetite for such a service, the cost to do it or even if it would help or hinder or business.

Of course it is early days for such technology and because of mass production and a relatively low price entry level, unmanned remote aircraft are now in abundance. Rightly or wrongly, many people already have them. But as a result, there are now numerous reports of some pilots abusing their use with no regard for others. In short aerial photography has become a “wild west”  situation.

So it turns out that the use of retail drones, particularly over private land, government buildings, urban land & housing estates is contentious across the globe. Indeed there are few places you can fly them legally unless the drone and pilot register and get permissions, particularly for commercial purposes.

Indeed, a local Hondon Valley real estate agent has already used a drone to film the area and some of our own clients have expressed to us the dismay they have that their home, location and land layout have been exposed without permission. Did the agent get permission? Well the law would suggest it would be necessary as it’s used for commercial advertising (branded with a logo) and the flights are over populated urban land and critically within the Alicante airport flight paths.

So whilst the use of drones in Real Estate seems a good idea, it is not as straight forward to just buy a drone and willy nilly film whatever you want! Indeed, it is risky in many ways. The Spanish government has collected almost €2 million from drone fines alone since 2015 as they actively looked for breaches of the law. There is a total ban on drones in around the Balearic Islands for instance.

Pro’ versions of drones with high-end UHD cameras can be costly and difficult to fly. So the EU & USA in general are keen to legislate on their use and limit the areas they can be used. The reasons are mainly on safety, privacy and security grounds. After all a falling drone could damage property or hurt someone and people are quite precious about their privacy and can feel spied on.

We think in general, the above reasons for laws on drones have some merit in this uncertain world. And of course many people will and do misuse this new technology for criminal or dubious activities.

So Drone laws make sense to us. And whilst the main manufacturers and retailers pile drones high on shop shelves and sell them to anyone, there are actual laws to govern their purchase, registration, use and permissions. It can be a “red-tape” paper chase, especially in Spain. ( Royal Decree-Law 8/2014 on Air Navigation and Law 18/2014, of 15 October )

We certainly advocate laws on grounds of privacy in built-up areas. E.G. In Spain a property vendor may list their house with many agents, so do we really want those many agents “droning” over properties on a regular basis? We don’t think so. We get the impression that local residents would take a dim view of regular “spies in the skies“.

So, after a lot of questions to legal eagles, near-by flying clubs and asking people in the Hondon Valley, plus taking into account the price of a pro drone purchase, accessory costs and training, we at Hondon Villas concluded that currently (2016) using drones in Real Estate might not be the way to go until the laws are changed over these temporary 2014 ones in place now.

So, yes we’d love to offer the service to those that want it but as the Hondon areas are predominantly an urban sprawl we think that many locals would soon complain about noise, nuisance and security issues. In short, we respect the law and our prospective clients privacy and safety. We can’t rule it out for the future of course so we will be keeping an eye on any developments and laws.

Our SOLICITOR spelt out the current stance in Spain:

The matter of private or commercial “drones” is regulated in Royal Decree-Law 8/2014 on Air Navigation and Law 18/2014, of 15 October, approving urgent measures for growth, competitiveness and efficiency.

Article 50 of that Law establishes provisions relating to civil aircraft piloted by remote control.

That provision primarily regulates identification, features, possible uses, operating conditions, enabled airspace, security, accreditation of pilots and authorization certificates. An important remark is the obligation to obtain the necessary authorizations and make the flights always during daylight, in good visual meteorological conditions and out of congested areas of cities, habituated towns or settlements and outdoors gatherings of people.

Also, the drones can only be used for technical or scientific works; which in accordance with European standards it includes specialized operations such as research, pest control, photography, surveillance, security, patrol, advertising, fire fighting, rescue and scientific works. So, although the law does not define what is meant by specifically technical or scientific works, it seems clear that in Spain is not currently allowed the use of drones for commercial purposes.

On that regard, State Aviation Safety Agency showed, in his note of April 7, 2014, the following statement: “is not allowed, and has never been, the use of aircraft piloted by remote control with commercial or professional purposes “.

As a final note, it is important to know that this regulatory framework is provisional and will apply until the approval of the regulatory rules laid down in Final Provision second, second paragraph, of the Act. So, it is possible that operating drones in Spain in urban areas and for commercial purposes can be allowed despite that is not what Law has permitted so far.

Update May 2017 …

The Spanish RPAS regulation (Ley 18/2014) is only applicable to flights for commercial purposes and all professional activities.

But for recreational use (hobby) you should comply with the provisions in Spanish Law “Real Decreto 552/2014” (rules of the air), article 15, that allows RPAS flight at low altitude “as long as they do not involve any risk or harm to people or properties on surface

So in particular you should:
– operate at Visual Line Of Sight (VLOS) and below 120m height.
– not fly in urban areas and over buildings and people. Overfly of populated areas and crowds is not allowed.
– not fly in controlled airspace (near airports) and avoid flying in areas where flights are conducted at low altitude with manned aircrafts.
– not fly at night or in bad weather conditions.
– please ask your local authorities prior to flying.
– other special restrictions may apply, for example in some special areas like Natural Parks and Biosphere Reserves.

Update Jan’ 2018

Spain has recently changed the laws on Drone usage for both commercial and hobby use. They are still quite strict however. In a nutshell, the pilot has a legal responsibility to fly with consideration of the safety, security and privacy of people and buildings, including him/her self. Commercial or paid drone pilots must be registered, insured, medically certified as fit and trained to use a drone (currently about 4 day course and an exam). Certain flights, locations and areas require authority from the AESA (Spain’s state aeronautic organisation). There are distance rules for built-up areas and “sensitive buildings” like hospitals, airports, schools and urbanisations.

Spain Info for Tourists, Travellers & Events

Visit SpainWe at Hondon Villas use SPAIN.INFO a lot for tourist information in Spain. It’s a great 0ne-stop place to go if you are planning a trip to to or around Spain. They also have Facebook and Twitter pages if you care to subscribe to them. Well worth the time we think. » Visit the website here| spain.info

This website has some excellent articles and outstanding pictures about Spanish art, culture, museums, monuments, beaches, cities, parties, tours, cuisine and nature in Spain. You can plan your journey with their “Interactive map” and then document your travels with a free online Journal.

The weather is sublime, the Spanish are so welcoming and kind, the mountains are stunning and we have fab restaurants and a wonderful community of Brits, Dutch and other nationalities. There are so many social activities too. The coast is never far away. We feel very fortunante to have found this place to live.  : says Janni (Hondon Valley)

2017 was another record year for Tourism in Spain and the projections are that 2018 will be even bigger. We live here so we know the reasons people come to Spain year-after-year, often tempting people the buy a property for emigration or a holiday home. The Hondon Valley is very popular with Expat Brits, Dutch and Belgiques who have made homes in the campo and the upmarket Urb La Montanosa, near Hondon de las Nieves.

Spain Information for Tourists Screen

 

 

Wiki: Hondón de las Nieves

Central Plaza in Hondon

A Brief History of Hondon de las Nieves

Although not officially documented, it is said that the Hondon Valley would have been already populated in ancient Greek times. But records show that in 1246 Christian troops fought with the Arabs & Moroccans in the area.

Copyright ©2016 Hondon Villas.  Based on information by WikiPedia

Hondon was under the jurisdiction of Aspe until 1839 when it became independent and formed a single municipality together with its neighbouring village Hondón of the Friars, which in turn had been segregated from Redován. Nieves still shares many local festivals and amenities with Aspe today.

In 1926 Hondón de las Nieves and Hondón of the Friars (Frailes) separated to form independent municipalities. It reached its peak population in 1900: 3,690 inhabitants, although at that time still included the population of Hondón of the Friars. Today, the Hondon Valley, over the last 20 years, has grown to include mainly northern Europeans looking for an alternative lifestyle from their own native countries. A new urban development of about 400 villas has been built between the two Hondón villages known locally as La Montañosa Villas.

Demographics and Economics

The 2008 figures show a population for Nieves of 2,730 inhabitants, known as hondoneras / hondoneros. The municipality also includes two smaller villages: El Rebalso and La Canalosa, the latter being higher in the mountains and former between the two main villages, close to La Montanosa Urb. In reality the population swells in the summer as foreign property owners and their friends or relatives come for long holidays. It’s a busy time in the villages from May to October.

The traditional economy for Hondon is agricultural based, mainly almonds, vegetables, olives and table grapes (produced under the designation of origin Table grapes pocketed Vinalopó). In the last decade or so the local economy is complemented and probably surpassed by the real estate business (Hondon Villas AIPP registered) An increasing number of foreigners (British, Dutch, Belgium, French) is  now installed in the municipality. As such, there are many sand and gravel quarries, cement and related industries in the Hondon Valley.

Geography & Recreation

Hondon is located in a small valley protected by the Sierra de Crevillente, populated by pine, almond, olive trees and vineyards. It offers 300+ days of sunshine per year, a pleasant climate all year, an al-fresco lifestyle, clean air and a tranquil life. The Hondoneros make the most of the outdoors for both religious, domestic and for recreational needs. There are many public holidays and fiestas to tempt the locals and visitors. Many are based on religious history or holidays, such as Easter. They are always well attended.

Virgin of the snows, Hondon

Being surrounded by mountains attracts many walking groups, cyclists and game shooting. Hobby groups are in plentiful supply. You will also observe numerous animal welfare groups, horse and pony trekking and Hondon has a myriad of plant species: pine, juniper, thyme, rosemary for those with a botanical interest. The local fauna includes wild boars, foxes, partridges, hares, rabbits, lizards, owls real, etc. The mountains do attract hawks and eagles too.

Hondon Architecture

The stand-out building in the area is relatively new (and a useful place to visit), that is Bodegas Cerda, a family run wine merchant and museum to Hondon’s vineyard history. The Cerda family have a long history of growing grapes and making wine. It still does and the modern Bodega could grace any city or town. You must pay this building a visit and try its many wines.

Wine Merchant and Museum

The central Plaza, as is typical of Spanish towns & villages, is the central point for most social and official ceremonies or fiestas. The local square is often converted or re-decorated for an event throughout the year. The highlights are usually in the summer (July/August) fiestas when the children are on the main break. It seems like the village comes out then. These are a “must-see” and can both entertain and educate the visitor on the local Spanish culture.

Other places of interest: Rollo Cave, an archaeological site, is a settlement of the Upper Paleolithic.  The Parish Ntra. Sra. De las Nieves. Erected in 1746 by the Bishop of the Diocese of Orihuela D. Elias Gomez de Teran on the chapel of San Pedro, of Baroque style.

In 2007 there have been wall paintings of s. XVIII, that they are being restored.
Ermita de San Isidro. In the area of La Cruz, a small church, typical of this area.

Plaza de la Villa. With City Hall and the Culture Centre. Facade of the convent of the Franciscan Concepcionistas. Mid-twentieth century, today rehabilitated turned into the Chapel of Ntra. Sra. De las Nieves.

Hondon Gastronomy

Apart from the exquisite table grapes included in the designation of origin grape Embolsada Mesa del Vinalopó, we can taste risotto, gazpacho, gachamiga, stew and rice with rabbit and snails. You will often see the older Hondoeros collecting snails from the campo or hear the hunter’s guns early in the morning. Sweets are also well represented with crusty rolls, French toast, the sequillos or embocaos.

Most of the popular restaurants and bars are in the village plaza. As we write to include: Destiny’s, La Font, Bar Central, Bocodito, Vamboo to name a few. The local market is very popular on Wednesday and Saturday.


AUTHOR: This article ©2016 was brought to you by Hondon Villas, the local premier and award winning Estate Agent in the Hondon Valley. Hondon Villas can help you buy, sell or rent luxury villas on La Montanosa Urb, Frailes, Nieves and all surrounding areas. With over 30 years experience in real estate, a local office with mutli-lingual agents, we sell more villas than any other agent in the area. Our extensive network of online portals and collaborators, a call centre and central office ensures a faster route to property sales. Check out our website for testimonials and our professional property services. www.hondonvillas.net | www.hondonvillas.nl

European Day. Hondon de los Frailes

A special charity night in the Hondon Valley was held on 15th July 2017. This has been an annual event in the area for a few years now and brings together many residents and their visiting friends to enjoy what is a street party with live music. Organised to raise moeny for the Fiestas and local people this event fills the main plaza of Hondon de los Frailes.

This is a popular community night for all nationalities to enjoy food, drink, live bands and a disco. This year the bands were “The Hardest” (a classic rock tribute band) and “Stone Control” from Alicante who perform as a Rolling Stones tribute act. Proceeds started at 8.30pm to a very late finish … 3am +.

The village plaza was jam packed with excited and party-mood residents and holiday makers of all ages who enjoyed singing and dancing in the street. Those that booked a table were allowed to bring their own food and beverages so the atmosphere was very jovial.

A great night that the whole Hondon Villas team attended to support our local community. Thank you for a great night!

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All proceeds go to the Frailes Fiesta’s Collection.

The CoastRider: Hondon Villas is a Sponsor

Each year the ExPat newspaper “CoastRider” runs and hosts the CoastRider Music Awards covering the Costa Blanca South in Spain. Various categories are voted for by the public through their weekly paper or online.

Sponsor for the Music Awards

Our very own Property Agent “Hondon Villas” in Hondon de los Frailes were proud to be a Sponsor of the event and Maureen and her team from Hondon Villas helped give out the awards to local artists in a lavish party in La Zenia.

A great day out and some great musicians and artists entertained a packed crowd. The awards presentation was covered in the Coastrider (June 10th, Page 30), . Here is a picture (can you spot Maureen?)
Read More here: http://www.hondondelasnieves.co.uk/hondon-news/coastrider-music-awards/

» Buy Property in the Hondon Valley

Brexit? What Brexit, we love coming to Spain

Business Premises and Warehouse for Sale / Retail UintSpanish Tourism Minister Alvaro Nadal told a news conference to present tourism figures for 2016 that the number of arrivals last year was up by 9.9 percent over the 68.1 million foreign visitors who flocked to the country in 2015. It was the fourth consecutive year of record numbers of arrivals.

There was no Brexit effect in 2016, it did not affect British tourism in our country,” said Nadal, before adding this trend should continue this year.

Tourism represents some 11 percent of Spain’s gross domestic produc.

Already advance reservations as well as requests for landing slots at Spanish airports are going very well which confirms that the tendency for British tourism remains the same.

Each foreign tourist to Spain spent an average of €1,023 ($1,078), a 3.75 percent increase over the 2015 figure.  They spent a total of €77 billion in the country in 2016, an 8.3 percent increase over the previous year.

So Brits LOVE IT! We at Hondon Villas can’t predict the future but we do echo that 2016 and so far 2017 would suggest Brits (Dutch and Belgiums) are still keen to buy property in Spain. We are as busy as ever and had the confidence to open bigger premised earlier this year.  We are cautiously optimistic of Spanish Real Estate, despite prices being fairly static to showing slight growth.

Costa Blanca Villas For Sale
A property on the Costa Blanca is a dream for many people and once you’ve visited the area, you’ll understand why. As well as an excellent climate, the Costa Blanca boasts many beautiful Blue Flag beaches, superb sports opportunities, lots of festivals and lively nightlife. No wonder so many people are choosing the Costa Blanca for their Spanish holiday home! Here in the Hondon Valley we are surrounded 360 with glorious mountain views bathed in sunshine for over 300 days a year.

On the Hondon Villas website, you can find hundreds of Hondon area properties (Southern Costa Blanca region), from secluded rural houses and villas to town houses, land and apartments. Our property lists are frequently updated and our informed staff can help you understand the local market and make an informed decision when buying any type of Hondon Valley home or property.