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Tangier To Benefit From New High Speed Rail Link

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Monday June 9, 2008

In a move that is sure to have a positive effect on future prices of Tangier properties, Morocco’s state railway company are planning to invest millions of Euros in a new high speed rail network. Initially, the massive investment project will link the vibrant port city of Tangier to Casablanca which is a major centre for commerce and industry.

Tangier: Well Connected.

Work is scheduled to start this year on the new rail link. When complete, Moroccan Sands expects prices of Tangier properties to increase due to demand from wealthy citizens of Casablanca looking for second homes in the north of the country. It can be confidently expected that the high speed line will see greater numbers of visitors passing through Tangier’s ferry port, further adding to the local economy.

The company also envisage that the improved transport links to the rest of Morocco will encourage more international corporations to join the growing numbers of businesses locating in Tangiers free zone, thus further fuelling the demand for quality new-build Tangier properties.

This is the first phase of a project costing 100 billion Moroccan Dirhams (10 billion Euros). The project aims to increase rail usage from its present level of 52 million passengers, to 133 million by 2030.

According to Morocco’s state railway company (ONCF) Director Strategy & Development, Azzedine El Amraoui, the new line is required to increase Morocco’s network capacity and tackle congestion on existing routes.

He went on to explain: “Building these lines for high speed operation will improve the network’s competiveness and support the increasing demands for mobility in a sustainable way”. When complete, the 1500 km network would comprise two main corridors: The Atlantic route connecting Tanger, Casablanca and Marrakech with Agadir and Laâyoune, and the Maghreb line from Rabat to Fès, Oujda and potentially Alger. El Amraoui continued: “The new rail lines will improve links between the north and south of the country, encourage economic development and support the tourist industry, as well as facilitating international integration”.

Construction work on the Tangier – Casablanca section of line is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2009, with the first two sections of 320km route totalling 370km to be completed by 2015.
The introduction of a high speed line will cut the Casablanca – Tangier journey time from 5 hours to 2 hours 10 min. The new line is expected to handle 8 million passengers per year.

Are Marrakech Properties A Safer Bet?

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Wednesday June 4, 2008

Moroccan Sands has learned that online poker operator, are offering their membership a chance to fly to Marrakech for the (One Million Euro) Marrakesh Open Poker Tournament which takes place later this month.

Marrakech Properties: A Great Deal Better

To qualify for the draw, players need to accumulate enough frequent player points. The lucky winners will get an all expenses paid trip this beguiling city which is regarded by many as the jewel in Morocco’s tourism crown.

For those who like a flutter, where better to indulge their passion for poker… Although it is hoped that those fortunate gamblers travelling to Morocco will find time to leave their smoke-clouded poker tables and explore this magnificent old city. With its sultry courtyard gardens, bustling souks and lively marketplaces, anyone not allowing sufficient time to absorb Marrakech’s heady atmosphere, however much they win, is indeed a loser!

After taking in the delights of Marrakech, the high rollers might want to consider a far surer way to make their money work for them, namely, investing in Marrakech properties! It’s true that international property investing may not have the “glamour” associated with tournament poker, but as many investors in Marrakesh properties have discovered, the rewards can be equally great but without the risks associated with the turn of a playing card.

Tom Browning of Moroccan Sands commented: “Poker might offer a way for a lucky few to get rich quick but investing in Marrakech properties is a far safer way to secure future capital growth”. He added: “Superb centrally located Marrakech apartments such as Les Terraces de Gueliz are where I would place my stake money”.

Marrakech the Final Resting Place of French Fashion Legend

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Tuesday June 3, 2008

Yves Saint Laurent (August 1, 1936 _June 1, 2008 ), the French fashion designer who died on Sunday, was considered one of the foremost figures in French fashion in the 20th century. For many, he was the most influential designer of the past twenty-five years.

The legendary designer had a long association with Morocco which started when he first visited the country in the 1960’s. His fondness for Morocco was confirmed in th mid-eighties when he purchased an elegant Marrakech property and beauftiful surrounding gardens known as Majorelle

Marrakech: Final Resting Place

The son of a wealthy insurance company boss, Yves Saint Laurent was born in Oran, Algeria. He is said to have inherited his fashion sense from his mother. He left home at 17 to work for the French designer Christian Dior. Following Dior’s death in 1957, Yves, then aged 21, was charged with saving the House of Dior from financial disaster; this he achieved with great style and aplomb.

Not long after he was conscripted to serve in the French Army during the Algerian War of Independence. Within 3 weeks, he found the stress of army life too much and subsequently suffered a nervous breakdown, the first of many that were to bedevil his life.

In 1962, after recovering from his breakdown he was released from Dior so decided start his own label “YSL” which was financed by his companion, Pierre Bergé. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, YSL popularized many of the existing fashion trends. In 1966, Saint Laurent promoted ready-to-wear styles which he hoped would democratize fashion, making it available to all. With the skilful use of celebrity endorsements from some of the leading names in film and entertainment, he succeeded in making the YSL brand increasingly popular amongst the European jet-set and wealthy socialites.

In 1983, he became the first ever living fashion designer to be honoured by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2001, he was awarded the rank of Commander of the Légion d’Honneur by the then French president Jacques Chirac.

When he retired from control of the company, Saint Laurent spent much of his time at Majorelle, his museum-like Marrakech property,. The house obviously had a big impact on him, so much so that it is understood that his ashes are to be placed in a vault in the stylish and elegant gardens which is a fitting resting place for one of the giants of 20th Century fashion.

Premier League Players Are Snapping Up Saidia Properties

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Friday May 30, 2008

Moroccan Sands understands that at least two high profile Premier League footballers have bought themselves luxury Saidia properties. For those who don’t know, the real estate in question is part of the prestigious Mediterrania Saidia project currently taking shape on Morocco’s Mediterranean Coast. To be precise they have both picked up villas at Le Jardin des Fleur which is just across the water from the Costa del Sol, the traditional hang-out of choice for many British football stars.

Saidia property: A big hit with football stars

Le Jardin des Fleur is one of five luxury resorts being built as part of King Mohammed VI’s Vision 2010 initiative which is transforming this stretch of coastline into a major upscale holiday destination.

The footballers are said to be so enamoured by the area that that they have splashed out on several villas each. One of the players – who, for the purposes of descretion will remain nameless – is reported as saying of Saidia properties and in particular le Jardin des Fleur: “they hit all the right notes for footballers and their hectic lifestyles”… Concluding: “as an investment, it’s a winner.” The footballing star is obviously a big fan of Morocco and is quoted as saying: “What struck me was the friendliness of the people and the vibrant culture. The food…is great and the beaches are beautiful.”

It would also seem that Saidia properties are attracting other big name stars. We know of several more Premier League players who have acquired Saidia properties, as well as a number of top French footballers.

Morocco to Launch Daylight Saving Time

Posted in Property News by Michael Kent Friday May 30, 2008

Morocco plans to re-introduce Daylight Saving Time on June 1st to both align its time zone with regional and international partners and reduce power consumption.

More Daylight: Good for Business

“The Ministry of Energy and Mining compiled a study on the efficiency of using energy, based on the currently adopted time. The study concluded that should the clock be set one hour ahead during summer, Morocco’s consumption of energy will drop by 1%,” said Public Sector Modernisation Minister Mohammed Abbou.

Morocco has observed the daylight-saving measure twice before: from March 16th, 1984 through October 1st, 1985, and again for the month of June in 1989. According to Abbou, these earlier experiments were successful at “improving the management of domestic affairs, the relationship between the government and citizens … reducing the cost of management and allowing the biggest number of employees to make optimum use of time.”

Economic expert Lahcen Daoudi doubts, however, that the measure will make any significant difference, given Morocco’s 8-9% annual increase in energy demand, tough global conditions amid the soaring prices of fuel and climate changes which have caused low rates of electricity production.

“The last thing that can help economise on energy is setting the official clock one hour ahead,” Daoudi told Magharebia. Morocco is acting as though it were an energy-producing country when in fact it imports 96% of its energy needs, he noted.

Beyond the issue of energy consumption, daylight-saving time is still very controversial. Some Moroccans maintain it has a negative impact, upsetting citizens’ lifestyles and the cycle of production. Proponents, meanwhile, believe that pushing the clock ahead, even if just by sixty minutes, starts working hours earlier and relieves people from the heat of the day.

Mustapha Bakkori, a civil servant, believes that summer timing has a positive impact in terms of rationing electricity, optimising solar energy use, and promoting tourism, shopping and trade.

Banker N. Samir said the summer timing upsets working hours, which, in turn, has a gloomy impact on power and electricity consumption. On the other hand, he conceded that without the time adjustment, communicating with other countries across different time zones is problematic for banking transactions, stock exchanges, even air travel.

“Daylight-saving time is an opportunity for employees to finish working hours early and enjoy an extra hour to do their own business. Also, advancing the clock for 60 minutes will save on energy consumption, since some government agencies work by night,” said office employee Mohammed Attaoui. Homemaker Safia Badri believes the decision to push the clock forward, though “inconvenient”, will serve many business owners whose work requires an early start. Source:

Colin Timms of Moroccan Sands comments: “This move in yet another signal that Morocco is serious about aligning itself with European countries and will be welcomed by anyone who does business in Morocco”. He continued: “As a company that specialises in selling Morocco property, we particularly appreciate the increased synchronisation of office hours between ourselves and our Morocco property developer partners, Moroccan real estate lawyers and local banking contacts.”

Free Exotic Location with Every Marrakech Property Purchase

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Wednesday May 28, 2008

A dramatic headline maybe, but when you buy property in Marrakech you are purchasing a little bit of Moroccan magic. Shrewd investors in Marrakech are also buying properties with attractive prices and excellent rental/capital appreciation potential.

Exotic Marrakech

This enchanting city has been attracting property buyers for several decades. Even before the present boom in Moroccan real estate, travellers, beguiled by the city’s charms have been tempted to invest in Marrakech properties. For these early Marrakech property pioneers, traditional riads were the homes of choice; in fact, so popular has buying riads become, that even the most run down riads can command eye-popping price tags.

However, all is not lost; Marrakech still has properties within the budget of many overseas investors. The recent construction of several stylish city centre apartment developments have come just in time to give those who have missed out on the traditional riad option an opportunity to purchase modern, but none the less attractive Marrakech properties.

It’s true that these new apartments in Marrakech don’t exactly have the old world charm of the citiy’s exotic riads, but with a modicum of interior design flare and bit of hard haggling in the local souk, it wouldn’t take much effort to transform your newly acquired purchase into a living space capable of evoking the full favour of traditional Morocco houses. Furthermore, these eye-catching Marrakech properties have all the modern conveniences and comforts expected of 21st century homes.

With this in mind, Moroccan Sands have some fabulous Marrakech property investments. So forget traditional (and now overpriced) riads; instead, why not take a look at the high spec, centrally located Les Terraces de Gueliz apartments which will give you a luxurious taste of the great properties and great prices available in Marrakech. And remember, buyers of Marrakech properties get a free exotic location with every purchase!

The Finest Property Morocco Has To Offer

Posted in Property News by admin Friday May 23, 2008

The recent fashion for buying and restoring Moroccan riads, particularly, those found in atmospheric Marrakech, has pushed up their prices to such an extent that many people are shying away from the traditional property Morocco has become known for, and are turning their attentions to buying new and off plan Moroccan property.

Morocco Property: Old or New?

About seven years ago it was possible to buy a sizable old riad in Marrakech for around €300,000. Now, if you are lucky enough to find a suitable riad for restoration, you can expect to pay over three times as much. Once restored however, riads (if you can afford them) still make a great place to live. Because of the costs involved in purchasing and restoring riads, many end up as upscale hotels or exclusive guest houses.

A Moroccan Sands’ insider commented: “If buyers are looking to invest in overseas property Morocco can compete with the best around. However, if people hope to pick up a bargain priced riad, most will be sadly disappointed.” He added: “Experienced investors are increasingly ignoring traditional riads, in favour of the low priced, off plan property Morocco has been promoting in recent years.”

“Moroccan Sands is proud to showcase the finest off plan property Morocco has to offer.” He concluded.

How Tangier Property is Pushing All the Right Buttons

Posted in Property News by Colin Timms Tuesday May 20, 2008

Tourism numbers to Morocco continue to climb and for many visitors Tangier is the first point of entry. This is good news for Morocco in general and even better news for investors in Tangier (Tanger) property; with increasing visitor levels, owners of properties in Tangier are ideally placed to take advantage of the well documented, chronic shortage of hotel accommodation in the city.

Tangier: scenting success

Tangier property investors on buy-to-let strategies can benefit from the combination of lack of hotel beds and surge in tourism. Currently, Tangier properties can command €58 per night (for a one bedroom city centre apartment) during peak season. Cosmopolitan Tangier is also the place where northern Morocco’s business elite aspire to live. This bodes well for owners preferring long term lettings.

Moroccan Sands have a number of excellent Tangier real estate developments which are beautifully positioned to appeal to both buy-to-let strategists and perhaps more pertinently, tourists looking for attractive Tangier holiday accommodation. Apartments such as La Vision from £65,031 (93,153 Euros), with exceptional payment terms of: 30% on PPC then nothing to pay until end 2009 – when the 70% balance is paid on completion.

Another development which pushes all the right buttons is Tangier Boulevard: Completion June 2010. Payment terms: 20% / 10% / 70% (mortgages available). Prices from £56,000 / €70,000 (Euros). Tangier Boulevard is situated in the heart of this city’s tourist zone and affords fantastic views over the city to the port which is soon to be developed into a luxury marina.

Visit Moroccan Sands’ Tangier section for more attractively located Tanger properties with outstanding buy-to-let appeal.

Moroccan Sands launches the Emaar Tinja project

Posted in New Launch,Property News by Colin Timms Friday May 16, 2008

Moroccan Sands announces the launch of the Tinja development by Dubai based Emaar. The partnership between Emaar and Moroccan Sands opens a new chapter in the continuing success story of Moroccan property investment. This ambitious project involves the construction of over 2500 luxury dwellings set in an idyllic coastal location.

Emaar Tinja: Building a Better Morocco

Tinja has been master-planned by Emaar to be a self-sustaining community with upscale retail outlets, hotels, an equestrian centre, a clinic and future international school. When complete, Tinja will be a mix of luxury villas, townhouses and apartments. The development occupies an area with a three kilometre long beach edged by natural woodland. The project’s quiet setting is just a short drive from the lively port city of Tangier and a short car ride from Tangier International Airport and adjoining free trade zone. When complete Emaar are expecting the Tinja resort to be highly sought after by foreign executives and the business class of Tangier.

Emaar are one of the most pre-eminent real estate construction companies in the world; they are included in the 2007 Financial Times’ Global 500 rankings which act as an annual snapshot of the world’s largest companies. Emaar’s current projects in Morocco are worth around US$6.87 billion.

Sales and marketing manager at Moroccan Sands, Michael Kent, comments: “When a company with the global presence of Emaar decide that Morocco is the perfect venue for one of their most ambitious projects to date, people sit up and take notice. Many buyers exclusively opt for Emaar developments for their overseas property investment strategy; the healthy return on investment from Emaar projects, preclude them from considering other developers”.

He added: “Emaar have recognised, along with shrewd overseas property investors, that Morocco possesses a unique combination of factors that put the country at the forefront of potential investment destinations. With a favourable tax regime (including exemption from income tax on rental income for five years), large scale government backing for infrastructure creation and an ambitious programme of resort building, known as the Plan Azur, Moroccan property certainly has the attributes for profitable investment”.

Colin Timms, from Moroccan Sands international marketing department says: “Tangier’s large free trade zone is attracting many multi-national companies to northern Morocco. As the zone expands, more and more professionals from all over the globe will be looking for western standard housing. Investors can expect to benefit from the ever-increasing demand for well located, quality rental properties in the area. He continued: “When complete, Tinja will be just the kind of neighbourhood that will attract big-salaried business people. I’m sure these superbly located Moroccan properties will generate high year-round rental yields, and the ongoing demand for exclusive homes in the area will have a positive effect on resale values”.

Things are Really Taking Off in Morocco

Posted in Property News,Uncategorized by Colin Timms Friday May 16, 2008

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.

Economic Uplift

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:

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.