Morocco Real Estate Agents
Many people are surprised to know that the real estate market in Morocco is a very mature one, with many agents in all the main cities advertising properties for rent or sale. For many English speaking customers though, there is a language barrier as most real estate agents in Morocco only speak French. There is another problem that is the legal system and understanding of contracts. Cityred is the only real estate agent in Morocco that has an office open 7 days a week and has English speaking staff. All our contracts are bilingual and we take extra care to explain to our customers the legal system. Cityred is the No.1 Estate Agent in Marrakech, Morocco. We have brought our UK experience in all matters of Real Estate and Property to Marrakech, Morocco. Our Estate Agent in Leeds is a UK registered company independent of our Moroccan business.
Morocco Long-term Rentals
Renting long-term in Morocco is a cheaper option than staying in a hotel or paying for holiday accommodation in Morocco. Long-term rentals can be either furnished or unfurnished apartments and villas.
Marrakech Long-term Rentals
There are many long-term apartments for rent in Marrakech, the key is to find accommodation that is suitable to your needs and budget. Renting in Marrakech can be as expensive as renting in some of the major European cities with monthly rents reaching EURO 1000 for a simple studio. It is very important to search carefully for long-term apartments in Marrakech so that you are sure you are paying a fair price.
Marrakesh Long-term Rentals
Many English speaking customers spell Marrakesh this way. When searching via an online search engine, you may get differing results depending on how you spell Marrkesh.
Morocco Real-Estate Market
The launch of the King’s Azur Projects in 2000, which aim to increase the number of tourists to Morocco to 10 million visitors in 2010 was the beginning of a major boost to the Morocco Real Estate Market. Infrastructure development projects are currently underway through-out Morocco, one of the most notable is the high-way that links Casablanca – the commercial capital, with Marrakech – the most popular destination for tourists coming to Morocco. This was completed in the summer of 2007. A high-way development is currently underway that is due to link Marrakech with Agadir – a major sea resort, extremely popular with surfers and European tourists. Real-Estate investment in Morocco is therefore, currently at it highest levels for many years. The Moroccan Real Estate market has been resilient despite the present global economic problems.
In the 21st century, Morocco is the country on the African continent that is experiencing one of the fastest growing and fastest paced real estate markets in the region. There are a number of reasons why this is the case, chief amongst them is the fact that Morocco has enjoyed relative stability for an extended period of time. In addition, the climate in many parts of the country is very appealing to people from many different countries around the world.
With the brisk business that is being conducted in the Moroccan real estate market, many foreign nationals have invested in the country’s real estate. Foreign nationals have been found to be investing in commercial real estate as well as in vacation real estate. Further, some foreign nationals — particular those from France — have invested in real estate in Morocco. (France has a long association with Morocco, the Kingdom of Morocco having once been a French colony.
As references, foreign nationals have been active investors in the Moroccan real estate market. Foreign nationals can be found holding all types of real estate in the Kingdom, including commercial, industrial and residential real estate of different varieties (including vacation real estate).
On balance, investments in Moroccan real estate has proven to be a sound and solid investment. The value of real estate in Morocco has increased steadily over time. There has not been an overheating of the market in Morocco as has been experienced in some countries around the world. When a market overheats, the end result usually tends to be a collapse of the real estate market at least to some degree .
Some foreign nationals have taken to purchasing single family homes in Morocco. The majority of these foreign nationals that do purchase single family dwellings are from France — again, because of the historical association between the Republic of France and the Kingdom of Morocco.
There has been a noticeable up tick in the past decade in the number of non-French foreign nationals who have taken to purchasing single family residences in that country. Primarily, these foreigners are buying these single family properties for holiday purposes. These second residences are being bought because many people have learned how lovely the climate is in many parts of Morocco .
Residential Real Estate – Apartments in Morocco
The Moroccan government has taken some pretty aggressive steps in attracting foreign commercial interested into the country. In this regard, the trade in apartments in the commercial centers of the country has been brisk since the turn of the century. More often than not, foreign nationals that have been found investing in this type of real estate are doing so because they need more long term residences in country while they are involved in some sort of commerce based project.
Some foreign nationals have taken to developing apartment buildings and complexes which they are then in turn leasing to other foreign nationals who find themselves in Morocco for extended stays due to business related obligations. This has proven to be a fairly lucrative venture for many of these foreign nationals. Again, the French have been leading the way in this type of investment and development. However, other foreign nationals are becoming more involved in this type of development and ownership as the country continues to work at brining more foreign business, investment and capital into the Kingdom.
There are also a growing number of foreign nationals who have invested in apartment complexes and buildings in hopes of attracting some of the tourist trade that ventures into the Kingdom annually. Many visitors intend to stay in country for an extended period of time on holiday, making an apartment a very attractive housing option while visiting Morocco .
During the couple of decades, a growing number of people have taken to spending holidays in the Kingdom of Morocco. Indeed, the government of the country has made a concerted effort to attract tourists to the country. Attracting tourists has become a primary concern of the government since the dawn of the 21st century.
With this in mind, there has been a significant demand for vacation real estate in the Kingdom. Many foreign nationals are buying real estate for vacation purposes in different regions of the country. In this regard, a majority of these foreign nationals are purchasing this type of real estate for their own usage. Foreign nationals for an array of different countries have taken to spending extended holidays in Morocco.
In addition to real estate for sale in Morocco for a foreign national’s personal use for holiday travel, some foreign nationals have come to understand that there is money to be made through the ownership of real estate that can be used for holiday and vacation purposes. Thus, a significant number of foreign nationals have purchased vacation real estate throughout the Kingdom which they, in turn, are leasing and renting to other people for use during holiday stays in the country. For some foreign nationals, this type of investment has proven very lucrative, particularly in light of the concerted effort that the government of the Kingdom is making to attract visitors and tourists to the country .
Specific Steps to Buying a Real Estate in Morocco
Over the course of the past decade, the government of Morocco has worked to attract more foreign investment in the country, including efforts to encourage more foreign nationals to purchase and invest in property in the Kingdom of Morocco. To this end, the government of Morocco has taken pains to simplify the process through which foreign nationals can purchase and take possession of property in the Kingdom. In short, the government is committed to encouraging an infusion of foreign investment and capital into the Kingdom. Naturally, a more liberal course of foreign ownership of real estate plays a vital role in enhancing the overall activity of foreign investors in the economy of Morocco.
In Morocco, as in many nations around the globe in this day and age, the first step to buy real estate in Morocco is the making of a verbal offer by the potential buyer to the seller. More often than not, the oral indication of intent to purchase of conveyed from the potential buyer to the seller through an agent. Agents do play pivotal roles in the buying and selling of Morocco property. Indeed, it is a rare real estate transaction that does not involve the services of a real estate agent.
If the seller accepts the offer, or propounds a counteroffer that ends up being accepted in turn by the potential buyer, a preliminary contract is drafted. Normally, in Morocco, this document is the handiwork of a lawyer. There are standard forms that can be utilized for this purpose. However, most foreign nationals indicate that they feel more comfortable having an individual and specific agreement drafted by a qualified lawyer.
Following the execution of this preliminary agreement, the buyer is involved in obtaining financing for the real estate purchase. The seller is occupied working to make certain that there are no encumbrances on the property that might impair the ability of the seller to convey the property to the buyer when the real estate transaction moves to conclusion.
At the point in time that this initial contract is executed, the buyer is obliged to put a deposit on the real estate. Generally the deposit is in the amount of upwards to 30% of the total purchase price of the real estate that is the subject of the transactions. In some instances, a buyer will have up to thirty days from the date that the initial contract is signed to post the deposit required by the terms and conditions of that agreement. The balance will be do at the time that the final agreement is executed between the parties to the sale.
There are some mortgage lenders doing business in the Kingdom that cater specifically to foreign nationals that are interested in buying real estate in the country. By using such a mortgage lender, many foreign nationals have found completing the real estate purchase process in Morocco to be an easier process overall.
In order to consummate the sale, it is necessary for a foreign national to open a bank account within the Kingdom of Morocco.
Ultimately, the parties to the real estate transaction will execute a final contract that will result in the conveyance of the real estate from the buyer to the seller. At this time, the property is registered with the government of the Kingdom and the buyer becomes the owner of record of the real estate in question.
Generally speaking, the registration process can be consummated in a pretty short amount of time. In most instances, this phase of the property buying process normally can be wrapped up and concluded within a matter of days.
The real estate market in Morocco, a North African country, is booming and real estate development is taking hold in a big way. Morocco is already beginning to garner notice from holidaymakers in Northern Europe, and its government’s plans to create more jobs and increase tourism by 2010 are likely to boost the economy and the property market in the next two years. Investors interested in getting in on a promising market before it peaks might want to give Morocco some thought.
Located at the northern tip of Africa, Morocco is just a ferry ride away from southern Spain. It shares a border with Algeria to the east, its western edge is Atlantic coastline and the Mediterranean lies to the north. The country is slightly larger than the state of California, covering a total area of 446,550 square kilometers. Approximately 34.3 million people are estimated to live in the country by July 2008, and the population is growing at an estimated rate of approximately 1.5 percent, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Morocco is a Muslim country, with 98.7 percent of the population subscribing to the religion, and the country’s official language is Arabic. The government is a constitutional monarchy—similar in structure to the governments of the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Spain—with a monarch who rules in conjunction with a bicameral parliament. The Moroccan Parliament is divided into the Chamber of Counselors and the Chamber of Representatives. There is also a Supreme Court. King Mohamed VI has been the king of Morocco since 1999. Elected Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi has been in office since 2007.
The national unemployment rate is 15 percent, according to the CIA World Factbook. This is significantly higher than the national unemployment rate in the U.S., which was 5 percent as of April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is also above the 7.6 percent unemployment rate in nearby Spain, but it is comparable to the unemployment rates of 14.1 percent and 13.9 percent respectively in nearby Algeria and Tunisia, according to the CIA World Factbook. 15 percent of the Moroccan population is below the poverty line.
Morocco has an estimated GDP of $127 billion as of 2007. Its major industries include tourism, textiles and rock mining and processing, according to the CIA World Factbook. The national currency is the Moroccan dirham; one dirham is worth approximately $0.14. The inflation rate for consumer prices is 2.1 percent as of 2007.
Why buy property in Morocco?
“The Moroccan real estate market is booming; real estate development is everywhere,” according to Amine Maoouni, business development coordinator for the Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center (MATIC).
The U.S. and Morocco signed the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement in June 2004. The first treaty between the U.S. and Morocco was ratified in 1787 at the urging of Benjamin Franklin, and is the longest unbroken treaty in U.S. history, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
King Mohammed VI implemented Plan Azur/Vision 2010 in January 2001. This is a strategic tourist development program which will develop holiday property and encourage the growth of Morocco’s tourist industry. Under the plan, the government hopes to create 600,000 new jobs and reach 10 million visitors in 2010.
“Since the launch of ‘Vision 2010,’ more than 20,000 new hotel beds have already come on the market and thousands of others have been renovated. In 2010, Morocco will have more than 250,000 hotel beds, including 180,000 located in or around the cities,” according to CSDS. The plan also calls for six new seaside resorts, five of which will be along the Atlantic coast and one of which will be on the Mediterranean coast. This plan to bolster Morocco’s tourist industry and the creation of new jobs could mean opportunity to overseas investors hoping to get in before prices jump as value rise.
“There’s a huge property boom at the moment….There’s even talk of a tunnel that will run from Spain to Tangiers. It’s becoming very popular with the U.K. and Northern Europeans,” Nolan Everard, managing director of CSDS, said. “It’s only really beginning at the moment. It’s like Dubai was five years ago.”
Buying Moroccan Real Estate
Where should investors look to buy if considering property in Morocco?
“Marrakesh, Marrakesh, Marrakesh!” Everard said. “Marrakesh is essentially two cities, [there is] the old medina which is like going into an Indiana Jones film. And it also has the main square in Marrakesh and it’s the largest open square in Africa….Every day there are new people coming to Marrakesh. There are 99 flights to Marrakesh every week from [the] U.K., just the budget airlines. Year-round occupancy is 85 percent.”
Agadir, a favorite holiday destination among Northern Europeans on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, is also a good place to consider, he said.
If purchasing property off-plan (VEFA), be aware that Morocco has implemented specific rules governing the sales process for these properties. Not all developers may abide by these rules, so be sure to complete proper due diligence and check into developers’ processes and credentials beforehand. These laws require that the deposit and all payments prior to the sale’s completion must be underwritten by a bank guarantee, according to CSDS. They also enforce a penalty for late delivery. VEFA developments are also required to be inspected by independent engineers to ensure that each stage has been properly completed before further payments are made.
Approximately 5 to 6 percent of the purchase price should be allotted for transaction fees. This encompasses the stamp duty (2.5 percent), legal fees (1.1 percent), notary fees (0.5 percent) and land registry (1.5 to 2 percent), according to Wafin: Moroccan Connections in America.
“It’s still very early….What’s happened is, where there’s any gold rush where property’s concerned, you get a lot of cowboys. Everyone’s trying to get a piece of Marrakesh at the moment,” Everard said. Sometimes developers may be so eager to cash in on Morocco’s promising market that they may not follow all the necessary regulations. Investors need to be cautious and conduct thorough due diligence on all possible real estate purchases to ensure that they are legitimate before proceeding.
“Before [some developers] even get permission, they start building,” Everard said. “Make sure the developer has outline planning, has a construction permit, and has all of his ducks in a row.”
Investors should also know that any contracts for off-plan properties that do not follow Morocco’s VEFA guidelines are void. If the developer goes bankrupt or fails to complete the property for any other reason, investors could be left in the lurch without any way to recoup their payments.
It’s critical that U.S. investors use a reputable overseas property lawyer when making property purchases in Morocco. Approach trade organizations or use Google to get the initial search started. Everard recommends looking for large groups that practice in multiple countries, as they are more likely to be reputable, researchable and to have the necessary resources to help investors with their purchases.
Following the recent success of the Financial Times Executive Business Forum in Muscat, Sama Dubai, the real estate investment and development arm of Dubai Holding, has hosted a similar Financial Times Executive Business Forum in Morocco.
Farhan Faraidooni, Executive Chairman of Sama Dubai, led a discussion on the future of tourism in Morocco. He highlighted the importance of sharing experience and information among decision makers in the region to support overall regional development.
Forum speakers included Abdelmalik Al Latifi, Director of Real Estate Development, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Morocco, Yasser Charafi, Investment Officer, IFC Morocco, Fouad Chraibi, President, H Partners and Ali Ghennam, President, MEDZ. The Forum reviewed studies on tourism, real estate, infrastructure, economy and investment sectors besides private sector development.
Faraidooni said: ‘In the past, the regional investment vision was mostly limited to one country’s strategy and focused greatly on individuals or secondary deals between Arab countries and other regions. However, things have changed. With a global drive towards supporting economic clusters, we need to re-orient and restructure our investment portfolios in order to enable the region to compete globally. This is vital because our region is endowed with strong infrastructures, established rules and regulations and a strategic geographical location.
‘The North African country is also an accessible tourist destination, especially to the European market, due to the country’s geographical position, as well as its cultural and historical ties with Europe.
‘We need to focus on tourism more in the coming years mainly because we enjoy great natural and financial resources. We also have adequate experience that will enable us to reach our tourism goals. According to recent statistics, tourists spend a great amount of money outside our region. Although the percentage of Arab tourists is quite small at three per cent, with 12 million tourists we also know that their spending is the highest globally,’ Faraidooni added
Studies have shown that tourists from the Arabian Gulf spend at a daily rate of US$1,814, more than double that of European tourists who spend US$836 a day.
Faraidooni said that regulatory and organizational frameworks need to be amended, or improved, to develop tourism in the region. He emphasized that there is a need to recognize the private sector, be it locally or regionally, as a strong partner. He also highlighted the need to develop leadership, human resources, investment in Information Technology and IT telephony, marketing, simplified border controls and setting up of joint ventures between the real estate and tourism sectors.
Sama Dubai is developing three landmark real estate projects in Morocco; Dubai Towers – Casablanca, Amwaj – Rabat and Marina De Casablanca – Casablanca.
‘Dubai Towers – Casablanca’ is a US$600 million project that will cover an area of 240,000 sq. m and will cater to both tourists and businesses. It will include a hotel, office tower and a mall anchored by prestigious brand names. The whole complex will offer office space, residential apartments, retail and entertainment facilities. Similar projects are being developed in the UAE, Qatar and Turkey, under the ‘Dubai Towers’ brand.
The US $ 3 billion Amwaj – Rabat will be the first development to be implemented under the Bouregreg project. It will include beautifully crafted apartments and villas, designed to allow international and domestic residents to lead a full and balanced lifestyle. Located on over 121 hectares, Amwaj will feature five-star hotels, resorts, a convention centre, a mix of entertainment facilities and a marina.
Valued at US$500 million, the Marina de Casablanca will feature real estate, offices, retail and entertainment facilities, marina hotels, residential apartments, promenade and open landscape, on a built-up area of 190,000 sq. m.
Properties in Morocco
Properties in Morocco as a result of these infrastructure developments have seen a huge jump in price. Statistics show that from 2005 to 2007, properties in Morocco have doubled in value in many areas of the country. The relaxing of bank rules and particularly lending has resulted many Moroccans taking out Morocco mortgages to buy properties. This is a new trend and is growing in popularity especially that there is a real demand for rental properties in Morocco, which means that investors can cover the cost of their loans by letting out their properties.
Morocco Villas for Sale
Villas for sale in Morocco tend to be within touristic resorts that come complete with swimming pools and a club house. Some villas for sale in Morocco will have their private swimming pool and even Hamam. Morocco villas for sale, can be bought off-plan, with most developments taking a couple more years to complete, buying a villa in Morocco now is a good investment as prices are sure to rise.
Morocco Apartments for Sale
In nearly every city in Morocco you will find apartments for sale, whether in residential developments or touristic developments. Apartments for sake in Morocco are featured in free magazines that are distributed in the major cities and also with local real-estate agents.
Morocco Real-Estate Agents
As the real-estate market in Morocco has developed, real-estate agents have started to mushroom through-out the country. The majority of agents being French. More recently though, a number of British real-estate agents have started operating in the Moroccan market.
Marrakech Hoilday Apartments
For an Apartment in Marrakesh to rent on a short-term basis, please visit our sister website.
If you are looking to live in Marrakech, here are a few useful links and Blogs:
A blog called My Marrakesh
An expat Blog Expat Blog
Lonely Planets Blog Lonely Planet Blog
Another Expat Blog called Expat Focus
This a Blog for expat women Expat Women
For information on Living in Marrakech Expat Exchange
Article about long-term rentals in Morocco Property News