Morocco Property Report
With many countries officially coming out of the global recession, in particular, several of Morocco’s key Eurozone trading partners, a recent mission to Morocco by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast that Morocco is set for a period of steady economic growth.
The largely positive conclusions of the IMF mission which visited Rabat from November 2-13, will be welcomed by Morocco property buyers. The news will be especially encouraging to those who have, or are close to completing on their Moroccan property purchases and who intend to let out their properties with the aim of attracting rental income from the lucrative Moroccan professional sector who are prepared to pay a hefty price premium for well-located holiday apartments during the peak summer letting season.
The IMF report noted recent stabilizing trends in several of the country’s key sectors and stated that non-agriculture GDP is expected to grow by about 2½ percent in 2009, with overall GDP growth projected at about 5 percent. They also said that Morocco’s economic improvement is being influenced by the strong performance of the Asian economies and recovery signs in other countries.
The mission concluded that Morocco’s financial system remained robust and because of its limited integration with the external world, Morocco has not felt the direct effects of the global financial downturn.
Michael Kent, Managing Director of Moroccan property specialist, Moroccan Sands, commented: “Its encouraging to hear that the Moroccan economy is set for a period of economic growth, although because of the uncertain nature and potential unevenness of the global recovery, its important for those considering purchasing property in Morocco to make astute choices.” He added: “Prestigious developments such as the Blue Pearl Golf Resort in Saidia where front-line golf apartments are to be sold at 25% below current market prices and come with an 8% - 3 year rental guarantee, are definitely worth considering.”
Paradise Golf and Beach Resort
Moroccan Sands - Morocco Property Report…
With the increasing popularity of golf, buying a property on a golf development could prove to be a very smart investment choice.
Not only do a large majority of golf developments provide a wide range of on-site facilities, but that magical golf ingredient serves up enhanced rental income and the mouth-watering prospect of year-round letting.
Golf continues to grow in popularity and this can be seen by the number of new golf developments being built around the world. The proliferation of new golf courses is great news for golfers, particularly those who prefer playing their golf in the sunshine. What´s more, overseas golfing holidays are one of the travel/leisure industry’s major growth areas.
This sharp rise in demand for year-round golf has resulted in healthy rental returns for those who have purchased golf properties and despite the global downturn, it´s worth noting that resale values on the better golfing developments have held up very well over the last year or so. This is particularly the case in Morocco where a number of specific factors have resulted in the Moroccan economy escaping the worst of the global recession.
It may sound obvious, but a vital factor when considering buying on a golf development, has to be the quality of the golf course. A well designed and well located property on a golfing development will not attract golfers unless the course itself is equally well thought out. This is why it is advisable to invest in a golf development where the course has been designed by a renowned designer - someone with a good track record. An example of a great golf course is the Steve Ritson designed, par 72 championship standard course currently nearing completion at the superbly located Paradise Golf and Beach Resort, near Tangier in northern Morocco.
Not just for golfers…
Over recent years there has been a noticable increase in the number of non-golfers buying properties on golfing developments. This might seem a little surprising, but many non-golfers are attracted by on-site facilities which can include: tennis courts, health spas,, restaurants, bars and fitness centres. Another advantage that can appeal to non-golfers is the safety aspect, with many golf courses offering 24/7 gated security. Golfing developments also offer the reassurance that the view from the properties will always be the green of the golf course and not some ugly office block or high-density development.
Moroccan Sands are the No.1 Morocco property specialists. We offer a wide range of investment opportunities including the spectacular Paradise Golf and Beach Resort near Tangier, and the outstanding Blue Pearl Golf Resort in Saidia.
At meeting in Palma, Mallorca last week all the major players in the fabulous five star resort “Mediterrania Saidia” signed a memorandum of understanding that the resort will be ready by June 2009. Under the agreement FADESA Maroc will deliver the two hotels it’s currently working on in March and April next year – giving ample time to train staff before the summer rush.
Harbourside cafes are already open
An extensive marketing plan for the resort was also agreed and will be implemented in conjunction with the Moroccan Tourism Board and hotel operators, Barcelo and Iberostar. Michael Kent of Moroccan Sands added “We been extremely impressed by the recent progress in Saidia , the direct motorway link to the airport is complete and I think the first visitors will be bowled over by what’s on offer. We’ve been involved with Saidia from the start and it’s tremendously rewarding when milestones in the project such as this are reached.
A meeting in Tangier between the Moroccan Bristish Business Council and the British Middle East Association highlighted the growth in the Moroccan tourism industy and presented an outline of future plans to a selection of tour operators.
During the meeting Minister of Tourism, Mohamed Boussaid, explained the Plan Azur and Vision 2010 strategies to increase tourism receipts and showed the success of the scheme so far by noting that over 7m visitors travelled to Morocco, a 7% increase on the same period last year. The government is pumping over 9 billion euro into tourism projects in order to establish Morocco as the premier non-European Mediterranean destination.
Further evidence that Morocco is ideally placed to benefit from future tourism trends was demonstrated by stats from Thomson and First Choice’s findings in their new Trends
Report 2008-09 showing that more than one-fifth of holidays taken this
year were outside Europe, indicating that the old favourites, Spain and
Portugal just aren’t far or exotic enough any more.
As air fares rise and long haul routes are cut exotic countries such as Morocco, which is on the doorstep of Europe, will become increasingly attractive over the next few years. A strong euro has also encouraged Northern Europeans to look beyond the traditional Costas for better value for money.
“The endless pursuit of the exotic aren’t the only push factors. The
current pound to euro situation is encouraging holidaymakers to
question their traditional Mediterranean choices and try something
else, ” comments Chintan Mahida of Nubricks.com, a leading overseas property
brand, “if they like it, they will return again especially since low
cost airlines such as Easy Jet are cottoning on to the changing trends
and adding new routes to destinations to places like Morocco more easily accessible. It’s only a question of time before they become
fully fledged resort destinations in their own right on the back of
which tends to follow a demand for property.”
Increased accessibility will certainly result in an influx of
tourists in these parts of the world. As always, as they become regular
visitors, hotel accommodation will lose its appeal and they will look
for alternative rental accommodation. Anyone considering buying
property abroad would be wise to investigate the enormous potential of Morocco.
As the progress of Mediterrania Saidia marches on many of the popular developments are becoming sold out whilst others have only a few units left to purchase. In situations such as this it’s not unusual for the developers to offer incentives to purchasers in order to help them clear remaining stock.
And it’s here that the savvy lifestyle investor can take advantage.
The developers of the Fairway Riads and The Greens have just launched an incentive package to clear the last few units in their stock.
Buyers in The Greens can now not only benefit from a two year rental guarantee (at 5% net) but also a free upgrade to a deluxe furniture package. But perhaps the most eye catching is the offer of a Citroen or Renault car valued up to 15,000€ for the purchasers use in Morocco. Prices start at £117,000 for a two bedroom/two bathroom unit. For more information go here
Buyers in The Fairway Riads can also benefit from a rental guarantee at 5% (for one year net) and a free deluxe furniture upgrade. The last remaining units here are all situated in the heart of the development and feature 3 or 4 bedrooms and a private swimming pool. The developer here is also offering a highly sought after berth in the Marina FREE with each purchase. These berths are not available for sale and many investors, recognising their worth, bought out the available stock last year. Prices for berths in Saidia are presently around a quarter of the price of similar projects in Spain and are sure to rise once the resort is up and running. For more information go here
The amazing new beachfront resort at Mediterrania Saidia received another vote of confidence from some of the top brands names in the travel industry. The endorsement of Saidia’s potential comes on top of the existing commitments by the SAS Radisson chain and David Lloyd Tennis Academies, amongst others.
Not only does this mean Le Jardin de Fleur investors will enjoy all the facilities of the hotel-operated
resorts such as clubhouses, swimming pools, restaurants and spas, but they will also benefit from a
leaseback system that enables them to earn rental income generated from the year-round hotel
The superior sector of the world’s largest hotel chain, Best Western Premier, is set to manage the formerly named Sur Mer resort (RT-2) which will now be known as the Best Western Premier Le Jardin de Fleur, featuring 126 luxury apartments and penthouses. This manoeuvre gives Le Jardin de Fleur owners access to a worldwide reservation system plus independent marketing through the brand’s international networks and associates. The endorsement of such a well respected name for the Sur Mer apartments is sure to make these exclusive apartments on of the best investments in Saidia property.
“The Best Western Premier hotel brand was launched to provide a higher level of service and amenities together with a characterful dimension. This resort will add to a network of more than 100 Best Western Premier hotels currently located throughout Europe and Asia. We are very proud to be part of the development of the Saïdia resort project, one of the major plans to develop tourism in the country” said Stephane Cremel, Director of Development for Best Western in Morocco. The Best Western Premier Le Jardin de Fleur (previously known as ‘Sur Mer’) will feature 126 luxury apartments and penthouses and is scheduled to open in 2009.
The Best Western Premier Le Jardin de Fleur resort will offer a lagoon swimming pool, family entertainment, spa, themed restaurant & café-bar, and clubhouse set within landscaped Moroccan gardens, just minutes walk from the beach and golf course. The chain’s powerful global marketing and reservations network will enable the Saïdia destination to maximize on opportunities in the ever growing short-stay and longer-stay leisure markets.
In addition to this, Le Jardin de Fleur signed a management agreement last week with the Marrakech-based luxury hotel operator Hivernage, part of the Great Hotels of the World Group. The Hivernage Resort & Spa (formerly known as “Villas du Soleil”) will feature 76 villa residences with their own private pool, and will open in 2010. Enjoying a tranquil beach and golf position the resort will feature outdoor and indoor lagoon
pools, Moroccan spa, French brasserie, clubhouse and tennis courts.
According to a communique issued by RAM, the company has continued its growth and sustained its economic stability and competitiveness in the market, in a context marked by the increase of competition and high fuel prices. RAM’s international traffic progressed 17% in 2007, while that of Atlas Blue* jumped 55%, the same sources added. According to this document, the company achieved a net income of $14.9 million (USD), while its turnover totalled some USD 1.5Bn, with an increase of 9.6% compared to 2006.
Atlas Blue turnover doubled to reach $254 million (USD) in 2007. These results were made possible due to “the mobilization of RAM’s employees, and their commitment and daily efforts,” the communiqué added. RAM said the six first months of 2008, which are characterized by the tough world juncture, made the oil bill soar by 60% for the company. Source: www.map.ma
Colin Timms of Moroccan Sands’ International Property Marketing Department comments: “News that Royal Air Maroc has substantially increased passenger numbers is hardly surprising; these statistics concur with a recent report that estimates visitors numbers will increase by at least 10% per year, to reach 11.8 million by 2012″. He added: “Moroccan property investors, particularly purchasers of properties with buy-to-let strategies, will be reassured by the 55% increase in international passenger numbers by RAM’s low-cost subsidiary, Atlas Blue.
*Atlas Blue currently offer single fares from London Gatwick to Marrakech starting at just £39.
Emaar Properties has appointed Yves Delmar as CEO of Emaar Morocco to lead a diversified portfolio of master-planned projects of development value MAD 54.75 billion (US$6.87 billion; AED 25.3 billion).
Emaar: Setting the Scene in Morocco
Mr. Delmar brings over 25 years of international industry experience and will report to Issam Galadari, Managing Director, Emaar International - Middle East and North Africa.“Mr. Delmar is an accomplished professional and has proven his experience in project design, development and construction in Switzerland and other international markets,” said Mr. Galadari. “He has held senior management positions with top architectural and real estate companies, and is mandated to give an international outlook for Emaar Morocco’s operations. ”Emaar Morocco has unveiled three master-planned projects – Tinja, Oukaimeden and Saphira - as part of a MAD 42.6 billion (US$5.34 billion; AED 19.6 billion) Memorandum of Understanding with the Moroccan Government under the patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, King of Morocco.
Emaar Morocco has also joined hands with Onapar, part of the ONA Group, to develop the MAD 2.6 billion (US$327 million; AED 1.2 billion) Amelkis II and III, and the MAD 9.56 billion (US$1.2 billion; AED 4.4 billion) Bahia Bay.“Emaar has proven its expertise in creating world-class master-planned projects that usher in a new lifestyle opportunity,” said Mr. Delmar.“Emaar Morocco will uphold the exemplary track-record of Emaar, while being committed to the overall socio-economic development of the Kingdom through strategic partnerships, creating job opportunities for the youngsters and supporting ancillary industries.
”He added: “Emaar Morocco’s projects complement the efforts of the Moroccan Government in strengthening various growth sectors including tourism. Each has an unparalleled identity that will appeal to the Moroccans as well as to the international community, who are looking at investment opportunities in the Kingdom.”
A recent report on Moroccan tourism in 2007-8, clearly demonstrates that the pace of change in Morocco continues at full speed. Encouraging statistics from various sectors of the Moroccan economy bode well for those who have, or are looking to invest in property in Morocco.
Morocco: Looking Good
In January 2008 the Moroccan Tourism Ministry announced that tourist arrivals during the first 11 months of 2007 have seen a year-on-year rise of 14%; needless to say, this is great news for Morocco property buyers, particularly those with buy-to-let strategies. Furthermore, with a conservative year-on-year growth forecast of 10% which if realised, will result in 11.8 million visitors by 2012, there is every chance of achieving excellent rental revenues from Morocco properties.
Rising Tourism Receipts
These predicted visitor numbers mean that international tourism receipts should hit $10.83 billion (USD) by 2012 which will create some 600,000 new tourist sector jobs. Additionally, speaking in January 2008, Moroccan Tourism Minister Mohamed Boussaid announced that he expected Morocco’s tourism sector to generate €5.27 billion in 2007, this is up from €4.80 billion in 2006. It would appear that the Moroccan Government also have good control of the economy; the official inflation figure for 2007 was only 2% - because of higher global food and fuel prices the true figure may be a little higher.
30 Million Passengers by 2010
The report highlighted another statistic that will be welcomed by Morocco property buyers; the number of passengers passing through the country’s airports increased by a healthy 19 percent over the first 11 months of 2007. The total now stands at an impressive 9.2 million passengers. Morocco’s Airports Authority (ONDA) wants the country’s airports to be able to handle at least 30 million passengers each year by 2010. Owners of Moroccan apartments and Moroccan villas are sure to benefit from the increasing demand for rental properties in Morocco’s tourist hotspots.
Stable Political and Economic Outlook
A major concern for anyone thinking about buying real estate in Morocco - or any emerging market - is the political situation. Happily, the report contains more encouraging news for buyers of Morocco properties. The country held general elections in September 2007 in which Morocco’s ruling party regained power. The voting procedure received praise from the European Union for its transparency and fairness. Colin Timms of Moroccan Sands comments: “Political reforms are increasingly bringing the country into line with more established democracies and have led to Morocco being regarded as the most stable country in the entire region”. He added: “Morocco’s system of proportional representation makes it extremely difficult for any one party to gain a stronghold and this should prevent extreme political parties unduly influencing the country’s politics”.
Although no country is without its problems, Moroccan property buyers should be reassured by these excellent figures. The billions of dollars of inward investment flowing into Morocco, investment in both infrastructure and in the development of fabulous new resorts, makes this the perfect time to put your money into Moroccan real estate.
Although only a couple of months old, 2008 looks like being the best year yet for buying property in Morocco. A combination of low interest rates, a new raft of high quality projects, the impending arrival of more low cost air routes and a growing consumer awareness of the benefits of investing in this exotic kingdom mean that investors looking for the best returns are focusing their attention on Morocco.
This message already seems to be getting through to the overseas property market. The UK’s major property portal, rightmoveoverseas.co.uk, has reported a year-on-year 212% increase in enquiries concerning property in Morocco. Tom Browning of the agent network www.moroccoproperties.com added “Since launching the website in January we’ve been inundated by request from agents around the world looking to join our agency network. They realise the conditions in Morocco right now offer a never to be repeated opportunity for property investors.”
It was also recently reported that the numbers of visitors to the country continues to grow, outpacing growth in the global market and performing above expectations due to the implementation of the Vision 2010 programme. The number of foreign tourists visiting Morocco last year rose by 13% (the global rise was only 6.2%) to 7.4 million in total. This leaves the country on target to reach its target of 10 million visitors annually by 2010.
Michael Kent of Moroccan property specialists Moroccan Sands commented, “The growth in tourism figures mirrors the growth in enquires we’ve seen in the last year. Many buyers are looking at other destinations such as Bulgaria and Egypt and seeing very shallow investment returns in often saturated markets – yet when they look at Morocco they see a highly sophisticated market with excellent capital growth rates and realistic exit strategies.”
“The great thing about Morocco is that it offers distinctly different markets for property investors. The Marrakech market is very much driven by rental returns, there’s a strong all year round demand and several new projects and the new airports will only reinforce this. Alternatively, Tangier offers property buyers the chance to buy in a fast developing region where capital growth on prime projects is running at 25-30% per annum - with the extra bonus of a strong local rental market due to the opening of the $2billion Tangier Med Port.”