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Morocco Property Investment Specialist

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Morocco Property Report


Tangier Conference Will Focus on Moroccan Real Estate

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Thursday July 31, 2008

It has been announced that a major tourism trade & investment themed conference is to be held in Tangier, Morocco, on 16 October. The event is being organised by the Middle East Association (MEA) in conjuction with the Moroccan British Business Council. The conference will be followed by site visits to major investment projects in Northern Morocco.


Moroccan real estate development under the spotlight

The conference will take place under the auspices of Moroccan Minister of Trade & Industry together with the Tangier city authorities. The event will feature a Gala Dinner and business networking receptions which will be attended by prominent members of Morocco’s business community.

The Tangier conference follows the successful Britain/Morocco Trade & Investment Conference organised by MEA in October 2007. There will be a strong focus on world-class new developments in Northern Morocco, including the ground-breaking Tangier-Med Port which is transforming the region into major logistical hub and investment destination.

The organisers have announced that the conference will focus on sustainable tourism and Moroccan real estate development and include participation by British services and expertise.

Morocco Property Report 31st July 2008

Morocco Property Sector Boosted by New Government Investment

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Tuesday July 29, 2008

The Investment Committee, an entity of the Government of Morocco, has just approved 16 new projects worth $2.8 million (USD).


Saidia property benefiting from government investment

It is hoped the invested funds will create 5,767 jobs, according to a press release from the cabinet office of the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister, Mr. Abbas El Fassi, who is chairman of the committee, emphasised the importance of the projects in strengthening the country’s position in North Africa. Much of the new investment resources are being ploughed into infrastructure projects related to tourist sector and the King’s Vision 2010 initiative which is continuing to attract massive inward investment from purchasers of Moroccan properties.

In recent years, Vision 2010 developments such as the vast Mediterrania Saidia property project in Eastern Morocco have benefited greatly from government backed infrastructure projects.

Mr. El Fassi is reported as stating that total investments sanctioned by the committee represented 31% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2007 compared to just 25% in 2002.

Since its inception in 1999, the Investment Committee has approved 421 investment projects, worth in total $ 38.5 billion (USD), which in turn has created more than 175,000 new jobs. Projects and investments have touched many sectors of the Moroccan economy, including, tourism (36%), industry (15%) and energy and mines (10.5%).

Morocco Property Report 29th July 2008

Investors thirsty for Saidia property!

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Friday July 25, 2008

Moroccan Infrastructure Update

Investors in Saidia property will be reassured to learn that an initiative overseen by the Moroccan monarch, King Mohammed V1, means the huge Mediterrania Saidia development will have guaranteed water supplies until 2025 and beyond.


Saidia: Preparing for future demand!

The King visited the city of Saidia last week to check on the progress of a $34.7 million (USD) infrastructure scheme which will meet the future needs of the new tourist resort and neighbouring towns and villages in the Saidia region.

The project supplying Saidia involves the expansion and overhaul of a water treatment plant in the town of Berkane, as well as the construction of a 1000m2 storage reservoir.

Work on the scheme commenced in July 2007, and when complete, will help satisfy the medium and long-term water requirements of Mediterrania Saidia. The project also includes the building of a 21km canal, and the construction of a new reservoir which will have a capacity of 500 sq meters.

Morocco Property Report 25th July 2008

Tunnel Linking Spain and Morocco: Decision Due Soon

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Tuesday July 22, 2008

An extensive study looking into the feasibility of building a tunnel linking Spain to Morocco is nearing completion. If the study proves positive, a decision to begin construction could follow very soon with work beginning as early as 2010.


Another boost for Tangier property?

However, Spanish official Angel Aparicio who is in charge of the government department overseeing the project is quoted as saying: “The study had revealed some problems that could make excavating the tunnel a challenge”.

The tunnel is a joint initiative between the Spanish and Moroccan governments who see it as a potential transport hub between the two countries. The entire project is expected to take at least 15 years to complete at an estimated cost of $8 billion.

If the tunnel does get the go ahead, it will be the first time the two continents will be linked since the land-masses drifted apart millions of years ago.

Comment
Speaking purely from an investor’s point of view, it is hoped that any geological problems can be overcome. Needless to say, the construction phase of the tunnel will create thousands of local jobs on both sides of the Straits of Gibraltar.

The boost to the economies of Morocco and Spain could be significant, with long term gains to the local economies either side of the strait echoing the successes enjoyed in Britain and France after the building of the Channel Tunnel.

A tunnel will also attract more visitors and specifically, more investors in Morocco property to this already booming tourist destination. Those who have already invested in Moroccan real estate have enjoyed healthy profits in recent years. For example, Tangier property prices are currently increasing at 15% per annum.

Just south of Tangier, developments such as the prestigious Emaar Tinja Resort and the luxurious Al Houara Resort (Pictured) are attracting many investors; world beating civil engineering projects like the proposed tunnel, will not only fire the public’s imagination, but if the tunnel gets the green light, will further fuel the demand for Morocco property developments and specifically, Tangier property projects.

Morocco sitting pretty in survey of 2008 top ten investment hotspots

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Thursday July 17, 2008

A survey of the top ten countries that overseas property investors find most appealing in 2008, has recently been conducted by real estate investment magazine, Jet-to-Let.


Morocco Property: Sitting Pretty

The survey was carried out to gauge investor intentions in 2008. The survey involved the sampling of a thousand new subscribers to their quarterly magazine.

Jet-to-Let conducted a similar survey last year and the comparison shows that there is a continued shift away from the British buy-to-let market towards overseas property investments.

More than 50% of those surveyed indicated that they would invest in an overseas property within the next 2 years, with just under 36% saying they intend to buy a property abroad in the next 12 months.

Cyprus, somewhat surprisingly, was the number one country in the survey. It would seem that the chronic drought which has lasted for nearly 2 years and has necessitated water being shipped in from mainland Greece has failed to dent investor confidence.

Perhaps less surprising is that former favoured destinations of Bulgaria and Poland have slipped out of the top ten. This could be because they are no longer regarded as the bargain basement countries they once were; the strength of the euro over sterling hasn’t helped in this respect.

The survey results bring encouraging news for investors in Moroccan property, with the country remaining firmly in the top ten for a second consecutive year. This finding ties in with recent statistics that show that Morocco continues to attract record numbers of visitors which in itself, augers well for those buying properties in Morocco with a view to letting them out to the expanding tourist market.

Overall, the survey indicates that interest in overseas property investment shows no sign of waning. This continuing trend is being boosted in part by Britain’s inflated housing market and the decline in returns from the domestic buy-to-let sector, compared to healthy returns in overseas investment arenas.

Reacting to the survey, Sales Manager of Morocco specialists Moroccan Sands, Tom Browning, said: “The ongoing demand for Moroccan property, particularly the interest shown in spectacular new developments such as Emaar Tinja and the sumptuous Al Houara Resort which are both close to Tangier, shows no signs of abating”. He added: “I am confident that if this pattern continues, Morocco will easily top the list in next year’s survey”.

Brother of Moroccan King Attends Mediterranean Summit

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Monday July 14, 2008

The brother of King Mohammed V1, Prince Moulay Rachid attended the inaugural summit of the Union for the Mediterranean in Paris on behalf of the Moroccan Monarch.


The King’s vision has created Morocco property boom

The summit held over the weekend, was initiated by French President Nicolas Sarkozy with the goal of creating harmony and prosperity among the Mediterranean rim countries.

It is understood that the king decided not to attend the summit on Sunday because of other commitments, but he is reported to be fully behind the aims of the new union.

In total, heads of state from 43 countries around the Mediterranean participated in the summit in addition to a number of regional and international organisations.

Those attending discussed a host of issues including economic development, collective security, energy matters, environment protection, educational strategies as well as pressing political concerns.

Mr Sarkozy welcomed the presence of Greece alongside Turkey, Arab states alongside Israel and Morocco alongside Algeria: The French President said: “The alliance would not be “north against south, not Europe against the rest but united”.

Comment: The importance King Mohammed has placed on the participation of his country within the new union goes hand in hand with his vision to create a modern, dynamic nation which will be a key political and economic driving force in the region.

The ongoing surge in visitor numbers, thriving economy, and the massive investment in infrastructure to accompany the recent Moroccan property boom, are clear manifestations of the success of the king’s initiatives.

House price growth continuing strong in Morocco

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Tuesday July 8, 2008

MOROCCO. The VIPs arrived long ago, including Sting, Mick Jagger, Princess Alexandra, David Bowie, Vanessa Branson, Alain Delon. Many occupy luxurious palaces around Marrakech. The tradition of Western interest goes back to Winston Churchill’s famous patronage of Marrakech’s beautiful Mamounia Hotel.


Morocco property: price growth continues

Yet Morocco preserves an exotic and historic charm lost in many other Arab countries, plus a warm, dry, healthy climate, and a beautiful landscape, with its markets and traditional architecture, its car-free medinas and palaces hiding breathtaking gardens.

Morocco is now going mass-market. The coasts are a major destination for French tourists and increasingly for retirees. There is a whole associated infrastructure of guest houses, French-speaking newspapers and doctors, and an increasing number of French settlers.

Morocco’s economy has been doing quite well. King Mohammed, who succeeded in 1999, is a dynamic monarch who has brought substantial reform to Morocco, and some national reconciliation. Unemployment fell in 2006 to 15.5% in towns (9.7% nationally), down from 18.4% in 2005 (11% nationally).

However national GDP is only expected to grow by 2.5% in 2007, according to the Finance Ministry, due to a poor harvest. This follows a spectacular economic performance in 2006, when GDP grew by 8%. Nevertheless indicators suggest an economy which is steaming ahead, with electricity consumption up 22.9% on the year to March, industrial equipment imports up 12.7%. This is combined with an inflation rate of a mere 2.7%.

In 2007, a study published by the Georgetown University-based Center for Strategic and International Studies called ‘Arab Reform and Foreign Aid: Lessons from Morocco’ concluded that Morocco provides a valuable lesson in political and economic reform. It showed that top-down reforms can be highly effective, if skilfully and determinedly carried out, and that aid donors should lean towards countries where evidence of such commitment is to be found.

Morocco received US$3 billion in foreign direct investments in 2007, mostly from the Gulf, according to reports in the leading newspaper Aujourdhui.

The forthcoming mass tourism explosion

A massive tourism and residential development programme ‘Vision 2010’ – of which the coastal section has come to be known as ‘Plan Azur’ – was launched six years ago to bring 10 million visitors a year to Morocco by 2010 and build 250,000 hotel beds, including 180,000 located in or around the cities.

There will be 1,300 weekly flights into Morocco, with 15,6 million passengers per year. Many large international hotel chains have already built developments, including Club Med, Liwa, Accor, and Sol Melia. Tourism almost invariably brings increased interest in buying in the country, and will likely have an enormous impact both on Morocco’s economy, and on Moroccan real estate prices.

Six huge new tourist stations / residential developments in priority coastal resorts are at the heart of Plan Azur, including: Saidia (Oujda), Lixus (Larache), Mazagan (El Jadida), Mogador (Essaouira), Taghazout (Agadir) and Plage Blanche (Guelmim).

Saidia is being developed by Fadesa and will have 30,000 beds and three 18-hole golf courses, the first unit opened in 2007. Lixus is being shared between three developers and will have 12,000 beds, and two golf courses; the first unit opens in 2009. Mazagan is being developed by Resort Co, and it will have 3,700 beds, opening in 2009.

Mogador is being developed by three developers, will have 6,800 beds, and open in 2009
Taghazout is being developed by Taghazout resort and will have 18,000 beds, and open in 2009
Plage Blanche seems likely to be built by Fadesa, will have 19,500 beds and open in 2012.


Outside the mass market

The long Moroccan real estate boom, of course predates the mass market, and concentrates on the ‘authentic’ Morocco, and above all on giving Westerners a stylish life in exotic, traditional surroundings..

At the core of this has been the craze for buying Riads. It is not unusual to see Riads – traditionally-shaped Moroccan houses, with grand salons giving onto a central tiled courtyard, often with a garden at the centre – offered on the Internet for €500,000 or in the case of the most palatial, €1,000,000. Around 7,500-15,000 French residents live around Marrakech in these and other accommodations.

Will Morocco run out of Riads? Well there are 50,000 Riads in Marraketch and only 1,000 are sold to foreigners. The coasts are also a major destination for French and other European tourists and those looking for a second home. After the boom caused by the French, “the English market is beginning,” says Charles El Fassy of the real estate agent Cabinet Charles El Fassy.

“We have had five years of French buyers. We thought: “Things cannot go on like this any more!” says El Fassy. “But they are going on. It is beginning all over again, with the British.” Prices have increased threefold in four years, he says.

Morocco’s climate makes it a perfect destination all year round. It is hard to imagine, but it is possible to ski in Morocco, and mountain trecking is very popular.

The attraction centres of Morocco

The cultural and physical attractions of Morocco centre on its traditional cities – Marrakech, Fes, Meknes, Casablanca, and Essaouira – and on its one coastal resort, Agadir.

Marrakech is an extraordinarily exotic city, with its drama heightened by a location at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. It is expecting 3.5 million tourists by 2010. Marrakech has a complete tourism zone, Aguedal. A public transport system carries tourists from the district into the city centre for its souks and traditional markets selling copperware, wool merchandise, and carpets and kaftans. There are no less than 27 5-star hotels in Marrakech.

In Casablanca the French built a city in a French idiom, heavily influenced by the architecture of the Arab-Andalusian Empire. The city centre has a modernist grandeur, with plenty of space and light. Casabablanca is large, modern, and agreeable, with five golf courses less that an hour away.

Meknes was recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1996. Its physical location, on a plateau, made it Morocco’s trade crossroads. Its magnificent architecture was built by the 17th century Ruler, Sultan Moulay Ismail. Over 55 years he built palaces, mosques, gardens, and lakes. At his death the unfinished buildings including the royal palace – the Versailles of Morocco – which fills most of the old city.

Agadir is Morocco’s main seaside destination. Beautiful beaches, luxurious hotels, an ultra-modern airport are all combined with a moderate climate. Agadir’s beach is spectacular. Some 10 kilometres in length, it is clean and wide. Agadir enjoys a continuous breeze from the Atlantic, so that the temperature is pleasant all day.

Tangier has a louche reputation dating from the 1920s, when it was an outpost for British paederasts. Then in the 1950s, beats, dropouts and writers like Burroughs and Bowles, Ginsberg and Kerouac, Leary and Eldridge Cleaver came to Tangier.Now its coastline is being covered with resorts and new developments.

Essaouira is popular with independent travelers. This is partly because of its long beach, and partly because of its laid-back atmosphere. Yhe town has long been magnet for Moroccan poets and creative talent. In the Place de L’Indépendence, which is the main square in the centre of Essaouira, there are dozens of cafés and restaurants. It is a pleasant place to eat, drink, and watch the world go by.

Some make the analogy with Turkey. Morocco appeals to European tourists, holiday-makers and retirees for much the same reasons as Turkey. Like Turkey, but arguably more so, Morocco has large qualities of well-preserved architectural history. It has charm, exoticism, and a historical built environment which elsewhere in the Arab world has been largely obliterated by modern buildings. And it has geographical variety, the Atlas mountains, and wonderful beaches. Source: www.bi-me.com

Tangier Property Show a Big Success

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Tuesday July 8, 2008

On Friday 4th July 2008 several representatives from Morocco property specialists Moroccan Sands attended the high-profile Tangier property show, Immoba Tanger which is an annual event staged in the prestigious Movenpick Hotel on Tangier’s seafront.


Tangier: Enjoying a property boom

This year’s show attracted large numbers of exhibitors and sales companies from the Moroccan property world. Among those showcasing their properties were the developers behind the impressive Port Lixus project taking shape on Morocco’s beautiful Atlantic Coast south of Asilah.

Another notable exhibitor was the Tanger City Center development company; this wide-ranging project is a mixed development consisting of residential, retail, commercial units and luxury hotels.

Leading Morocco property company, Mayfair Developments were exhibiting several projects at the show, including Dream Hills, a magnificent development occupying an enviable hillside position affording far reaching views over Tangier City and the brilliant blue arc of Tangier Bay.

Our company representatives enjoyed a busy and productive day, meeting many of the show’s best exhibitors and selecting several of the choicest projects for further evaluation. It is anticipated that in the coming weeks Moroccan Sands will be launching a number of new Tangier property investment opportunities as a direct result of our day at the Immoba Tanger property show.

Marrakech GP a New Addition to 2009 WTCC Calendar

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Monday July 7, 2008

The FIA World Touring Car Championship will expand to Africa in 2009. With the addition of a race meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, the world championship is now set to visit four continents next year: Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia.


Marrakech property: A galloping success

Morocco’s first international Grand Prix in more than 50 years was launched yesterday during a crowded press conference at Marrakech’s El Saadi Palace. The historical city will host the WTCC on a brand new temporary street circuit in the heart of the red city on May 3rd, 2009.

The Marrakech WTCC event will be the first international car race in Morocco after the 1958 Formula One Grand Prix in Casablanca.

“This will be everybody’s grand prix. We all have to work together to prove the world that Morocco can build a street circuit and organise a motorsport event according to the FIA standards. And to do this we need to mobilize all our resources. This event will have an unprecedented impact on Moroccan economy and tourism,” said the President of the Marrakech Grand Prix Ali Horma.               Source: fiawtcc.com

Comment
This is good news for Morocco and good news for investors in Marrakech property. The fact that the FIA World Touring Car Championship have chosen Marrakech as a venue for one of their prestigious GP meetings is further proof that Morocco is positioning itself as a modern forward looking country with ambitions to be the leading nation for modernisation in the region.

It is expected that the newly announced race meeting will bring many big spending visitors to the city which is already benefitting from record numbers of tourists beguiled by Marrakech’s exotic charms.

Michael Kent, Sales Director of Morocco property specialists Moroccan Sands said: “This event is sure to further raise the city’s profile on the international stage”. He added: “Couple this new interest with the recently reported increase in visitors numbers and you can see why Marrakech property owners who let out their properties, are reaping excellent rental incomes”.

King of Morocco Inaugurates New Terminal at Tangier Airport

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Wednesday July 2, 2008

Update:

In news that will be welcomed by Tangier property investors, the ruler of Morocco, King Mohammed VI, has inaugurated the new $33 million (USD) terminal at Ibn Batouta International Airport which serves the vibrant port city of Tangier.


Attracting tourists in increasing numbers

The new airport terminal has been built to accommodate the ever-increasing numbers of tourists who are visiting this fascinating part of Morocco.

The new terminal which occupies a huge plot of some 12000m2 has been built to handle up to one million passengers per year. This striking new addition to Ibn Batouta International Airport is equipped with the most up-to-date technological equipment expected of a modern airport.

Low-cost carrier easyJet already have a limited service to the airport which they are planning to expand within the next year. Past examples have shown that when easyJet and other low-cost carriers become fully operational, Tangier property prices can expect an uplift of at least 20%.

The airport which received more than 365,000 passengers in 2007 is expected to welcome over 1 million passengers by 2012, rising to 2.6 million by 2015.