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Property in Marrakech
Marrakech, the former capital and most famous destination in Morocco, is a city that enchants and excites at every turn. From the crowds and performers in Jemaa el Fna to the eyrie calm of the Palmeraie there is a mystique unlike any other city in the world.
Known as the “Red City”. Marrakech sits below the white snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas mountains, the last outpost of civilisation before the Sahara. Marrakech has so much to offer the visitor that it’s no surprise that it is fast becoming one of the world’s premier destinations. The rich and famous love the selection of exclusive hotels and fashionable restaurants whilst those on a budget can experience staying in an ancient riad and eating from a tasty street stall.
About 10 years ago the new King of Morocco decided that he would make Marrakech the focal point of the drive to increase tourism in Morocco. The mayor, Mohammed Hassad, was tasked with creating a world class infrastructure and then attracting the leading names in hotels and tourism from around the globe.
Over the course of a few years he slowly turned the reputation of Marrakech around, from a dusty stop on the hippy trail into a swish, contemporary and fashionable destination appealing to discerning visitors in search of the exotic and chic. A large part of this programme was to create jobs and encourage visitors by building high quality properties in areas around Marrakech. The result is a fabulous selection of property in Marrakech that ranges from small city centre apartments to sumptuous luxury riads costing in excess of $40 million.
Property and Investment in Marrakech
Property prices in Marrakech soared between 2006 and 2008 – rising in some case by 295%. However the outlook for future investment remains somewhat unclear – prices have not declined from this peak and there remains a large stock of unsold properties in marginal locations that make for poor investments. Prices and rental yields have been falling since the latter part of 2008 and, unlike much of Morocco, we would expect this trend to continue until economic conditions improve.
According to the most recent figures there has been a small decrease in visitors to Marrakech, mainly due to the closure of GB Airways routes, but many commentators expect that the growing trend for short breaks outside the eurozone to eventually counter this.
If you are thinking about buying a property in Marrakesh we can help you by advising the location of the best properties in Marrakech and putting you in touch with professionals on the ground whom we have had dealings with and whom we are happy to recommend.
At present there are no off plan properties that we recommend in Marrakech. We are currently assessing various new projects in Marrakech for suitability and will be launching our new portfolio of Marrakech property in September 2009.
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Property in Marrakech
For many, to buy a property in Marrakech means one thing: a Moroccan riad. These incredible courtyard houses built around traditional gardens are integral to the city's ambience and modern mythology. Buried away in the mazy honeycomb streets of the medina, riads are a reflection of Moroccan values and sensibilities - modest doorways on bustling streets that open up to reveal worlds of privacy and tranquillity.
Most Marrakech property inside, are decked out in traditional fittings, with arches and fountains prominent; although several foreign owners of property in Marrakech are now taking a more modern approach. Indeed, of the 400 riad-hotels that the Moroccan tourist board says exist in the medina, around 30% are foreign owners of the Marrakech properties. On the whole, this has been a recent trend - a small, unrenovated riad in Marrakech would have cost around 300,000 Moroccan dirham (€25,000) in 1998, whereas today the same Marrakech riad would fetch closer to a million dirham and three million if tastefully refurbished.
In spite of Morocco riads' popularity with westerners, in reality, it's probably better to rent one out for a holiday than to actually buy one, as the process can be loaded with troubles. Prices for Marrakech property can alter dramatically, depending on when you speak to the vendor, and much business is carried out informally in cafes. These ancient Moroccan riads have often been passed down through generations, so you'll find an army of relatives looking for their piece of the action. Worst of all, however, most medina riads in Marrakech don't have clean title deeds, making it difficult to finalise the purchase process. And then there are the practical problems of owning a riad in Marrakech: parking, for example, is non-existent on the beehive of backstreets on which Marrakech riads are found.
The Beverley Hills of Morocco - Marrakech Property
So, what's the alternative? Recent years have seen a number of developments sprout up around the edge of Marrakech, transforming the surrounding desert into luxurious, verdant and fully-equipped resorts, such as La Palmaraie - often described as the Beverley Hills of Morocco. Often constructed by European developers and designed by the very best architects - the glorious Atlas Golf Resort, for example, has been developed by the Spanish firm FADESA - the properties on these resorts are of the very highest quality, rarely more than a few stories high and feature all the mod cons you could possibly imagine.
Everything from smart studios to sprawling saffron villas are available and the developments at La Palmaraie feature plush pools, challenging golf courses, abundant gardens, spa facilities and many even now come with guaranteed rentals. For most westerners, these resorts represent the ideal place to buy their property in Marrakech - clean, comfortable and plenty to do, all just a few minutes' drive from the 24-hour madness of Marrakech medina.
More Info on Marrakech Property
The Red City - Marrakech
Tucked away in the south-west of the country, in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, lies Marrakech. It may be Morocco's second city in terms of size - behind Casablanca with an official population of one million although unofficial figures suggest it's closer to double that - however, it's undoubtedly the most famous. And so central is its role, the name ‘Morocco’ actually derives from the city's original name of ‘Marrakush’.
Known as the ‘Red City' due to the local clays that define the colour of all the local buildings, locals used to say that the hue came from the amount of blood that's been spilt into the soil - Marrakech's history is as interesting as it is gory.
Over the years, Marrakech has attracted all types of celebrity visitors, from the Beatles to the Beckhams; and, with flights more frequent and cheaper than ever before, that appeal has led to an ever-increasing number of tourists. No wonder, as few cities offer so much. Today, like many Arab cities, Marrakech consists of two sectors: the medina of Marrakech (old, walled city) and the gueliz of Marrakech (modern area). The medina is very much the heartbeat, containing the famous Djemaa el Fna - which almost single-handedly has earned Marrakech the title of ‘Mococco's city of entertainment’.
The Heartbeat of Morocco - Marrakech
Djemaa el Fna is not only Africa's busiest square but also home to the souk - Morocco's busiest marketplace. During the day, Djemaa el Fna throbs to the rhythm of traditional instruments being played, snake charmers, dancing boys, magicians, acrobats, water carriers and storytellers, who combine to create a magical atmosphere. The souk, meanwhile, is a heady mix of sights, sounds and smells, where you can pick up everything from handmade leather goods and sportswear to jewellery, watches and furniture. The stall owners are friendly and, frequently, charming - bartering with them is a sport in itself. The authorities are very much aware of the city's tourist pull and, although it may be respectful for women to cover up a little more than they might in other destinations, the area is well policed and the locals used to tourists.
At night, Djemaa el Fna quickly transforms itself from a giant circus into the world's largest open-air restaurant, with dozens of food stalls serving up delicious local fare.
Elsewhere, there's a wealth of charms: from the ‘seven saints of Marrakech’ and the towering Koutoubia Mosque - which can be seen from almost everywhere in the city - to the breathtaking Majorelle Garden and nearby mountains.
However, a few miles from the medina and gueliz, a new sector is growing up on the Marrakech outskirts. Brand new, luxurious and a world away from the rough and ready atmosphere of the souk, these surrounding suburbs take advantage of Marrakech's location in the centre of a plain to extend the city - both in terms of size and appeal. It's in these locations that you'll find five-star hotels, deluxe developments, spa facilities, golf courses and trendy clubs such as Nikki Beach and Pacha. And these newer, grander facilities, combined with the city's traditional charms, make Marrakech a destination that has it all.