Anniversary interview Class&Villas14th December 2020
Thank you very much for the anniversary article in Class & Villas
His grandfather had a printing shop, so Walter Arp, born in 1935, began his training as a printer right after leaving school. And because he does everything with passion, he quickly made a career, first in Heidelberg, then building a large printing company in India. When at the end of the 1960s holiday properties in Spain became increasingly popular, Walter Arp, married to his childhood love Reni since 1959 and father of two sons, changed the profession, founded HG Hamburg with a (former) Partner and became a real estate agent in Jávea.
Arp is a proud member of the assembly of honourable business owners in Hamburg, specialized on high quality real estate at the northern Costa Blanca, HG Hamburg is one of the top addresses in the Region. In 2015, granddaughter Julia Arp joined the company to lead the family business into the future in a timely manner.
Walter Arp has been trading real estate on Spain's northern Costa Blanca for 50 years, the last years with the support of his granddaughter Julia. Class&Villas spoke with both of them about the past and future of HG Hamburg.
Class&Villas: Walter Arp, do you still remember the first property you sold 50 years ago?
Walter Arp: Sure. Our first sold property on the Costa Blanca was a new construction of a large building company in Benissa, that still exists today. The model was called "Saturn" and cost 65,000 Deutsche Mark including the plot.
And how many properties have since then changed hands thanks to you?
Walter Arp: I could not tell you, even if I wanted to - it must have been hundreds. Over those 50 years we had many properties not only once, but several times in our portfolio.
In retrospect: How was it back then on the Costa Blanca?
Walter Arp: The sun was always important as well as the beach, tapas and dream houses, just this combination of a more relaxed Spanish way of life and one of the most pleasant climates worldwide. Things like snorkelling, water skiing, sailing, hiking, tennis, trips into nature inland or smartly dressed strolls on the promenade are still en vogue! But the level has increased, especially in real estate. 20 years ago nobody believed the prices that would exceed the million Euro mark. Today some of our properties are priced at well over three million euros.
Julia, you entered the Hanseatische Gesellschaft in 2015. How is the cooperation between grandfather and granddaughter?
Julia Arp: It is a great combination of experience and youthful vigour. He's got many contacts, knows his stuff and has a solution for every problem. I am out with customers a lot and take care of them intensively. Taking on new listings is an important part of my work as well, just as constantly improving our website and social media channels.
Class&Villas: Before coming to Spain, you worked as a flight attendant for a large airline…
Julia Arp: I did that for several years with great pleasure and saw a lot of the world in the process. But when my grandfather made me this offer, I couldn't refuse. I have known the northern Costa Blanca since early childhood and I feel very comfortable here.
Class&Villas: HG Hamburg and Class&Villas have enjoyed decades of partnership and friendship. You were one of the first brokers to provide professional photos ...
Walter Arp: Photography has always been a passion of mine. Until this day I take part in the creation of the advertisement we pubish with Class&Villas every sigle month. The pictures reflect the class of the properties we offer to our clients and it has to be outstanding always.
Class&Villas: How did interested parties find you back then before Class&Villas and the internet?
Walter Arp: At first we found our customers at boat shows, especially in Hamburg and Düsseldorf, with our booths, which were always very attractive. We remember one of our first trade fair appearances in Hamburg, where we generated almost 600 interested parties in nine days with a glass showcase that stood between two exhibition halls and a house model on a turning table.
Class&Villas: In the gold rush years, your customers also included celebrities like James Last or Roy Black. But there were also difficult phases ...
Walter Arp: Oil crisis, Gulf War, economic and financial crises - there was no shortage of challenging times. But we believe that the difficult times let us show what we are made of and that continuous success is what distinguishes us as a company.
Class&Villas: How has Corona affected the Costa Blanca and your business?
Julia Arp: Tourism and the real estate business were idle for a few months. Nobody was allowed to come here. But the demand was constant all the time. To own a property in sunny Spain has even become more important due to the pandemic crisis. All in all we had an excellent business year.
Class&Villas: How will the market develop, what tendencies can be identified?
Julia Arp: Slight fluctuations are foreseeable. But select locations on Spain's Mediterranean coast, which have developed positively over the decades, will remain in demand.
Class&Villas: Even at the age of 85, the entrepreneurial spirit still flashes in your eyes. Is there no talk of withdrawing into retirement?
Walter Arp: Work was never a burden for me, it was always a pleasure that kept me mentally and physically fit. Of course I don't work as much as I used to. I don't need that either because I know that everything is in the best of hands with Julia.
Class&Villas: What is it that drives you?
Julia Arp: That we will continue to be a sought-after provider of great real estate on the northern Costa Blanca in the future.
Walter Arp: ... and are always good for a surprise; because the name of the HG Hamburg stands for excellence!