Founded by entrepreneur James Johnson, Luxury Villa Sales (LVS) operates out of their upmarket offices on Marbella’s luxurious Golden Mile, right opposite the iconic Marbella Club hotel.
Interview by Victoria Wood
As their name suggests LVS focus on luxury villas, they have a strong social media presence, aim to stay ahead in the IT world and offer a media-rich web presence for individual properties. All this combines to give LVS a competitive edge and unique service in their niche market.
We spoke to Sales & Marketing Director David Honeyman, who leads their small team of approachable, knowledgable, multi-lingual agents, about his experiences and the future of property here in Marbella.
Many agencies claim to be in the luxury property market. What would you say qualifies a property in this area as being in this bracket?
We try not to be too elitist in this respect. It’s very difficult to find a luxury villa in the Marbella area for less than 2 million euros at the moment, but I would consider anyone with over 500,000 euros to spend on a holiday or second home a very wealthy individual. If a client walked into a Bentley or Ferrari showroom with that type of budget, they would be given the red carpet treatment!
How did you find real estate or how did it find you?!
I was always attracted to Spain and particularly the Marbella area, so property was the natural choice of career – although I did quite fancy the idea of owning a nice chiringuito on the beach!
Where are you from originally, and what lured you to/keeps you in this area?
I am from Scotland originally. It’s a beautiful country but when I went there in summer a few years ago, it was around 14 degrees and raining! Andalucía is an amazing region with fabulous weather, breathtaking scenery, culture and history, so there’s nothing really to compare with it.
Marbella attracts people from all walks of life – what are some of the weirdest or most extreme things people have requested in your experience?
I had an American client who was obsessed with privacy and seclusion. We were viewing a property with a very nice (but posh) German agent who asked him why privacy was so important. He then proceeded to tell her, in way too much detail, about his penchant for having swinger parties round his pool!
What are your predictions for the luxury property market here for 2021-22?
We believe the demand is going to stay strong as buyers want larger gardens and private space more than ever before due to the pandemic.
Has the pandemic really nudged people to move here, or buy second homes here?
Covid-19 has been extremely disruptive to the whole economy but paradoxically some sectors have benefited – Amazon and Zoom being just one example. If pandemics are here to stay, no-one wants to be locked down in an apartment in the city. This means that larger properties with ‘healthy’ coastal climates will continue to be at a premium. The whole idea of working from home has been revolutionised. Why work from home in the rain, when you can work in the sun?
To give us an idea of how the pandemic affected business how did your sales compare from March 2020 to March 2021 compared to the year before?
Although clients have been a bit thin on the ground this year due to all the travel restrictions, we have managed to stay ahead of last year’s targets. A lot of our buyers this year have been permanent residents and investors looking to buy older villas and refurbish them. They are all very confident about where the market is heading which is a great sign.
Tell us a bit about the team at LVS
We are very multi-national and multi-lingual as can be expected in Marbella! We speak Spanish, English, German, French, Dutch and Swedish. We also have an Irish Listing Manager but no one really understands what he’s saying (just joking!)
Of all the areas in and around Marbella, which location would you personally pick for your dream villa?
My personal favourite is Cascada de Camojan. It’s not as famous as its neighbour Sierra Blanca but it’s more secluded and private in my opinion. It feels almost like living in the countryside whilst being only five minutes from Marbella Club and Puente Romano. Most of the properties have great sea views as the area is elevated above the whole Golden Mile.
LVS were recently shown the Vista Lago presentation by the BRIGHT development team, what was your impression?
Yes, we were given the presentation by Michael the CEO, which we all found extremely impressive – we love the concept and think it will be an amazing project! Next step is to go and visit the site with the team.