News: Early birds profiting in Morocco

Thu, 08 Nov 07

Early investors in Morocco’s property market are seeing the value of their homes continue to rise steadily, reports Paul Staines, a partner of Newbury-based Saffron Villas, the UK’s leading Moroccan property specialist...

Popular with UK buyers are the villas and apartments in the new resorts taking shape on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast - a short hop from Spain - as well as others down the Atlantic coast from Tangier to Casablanca and beyond.

First-time buyers - some of them unable to afford a property in the UK - are among those feeling the benefit of getting in early, with the value of their investments growing before their eyes, says Paul.

“Typically, a buyer who paid £40,000 for a two-bedroom apartment near Tangier six months ago, now owns a property worth around £65,000 and its value will keep rising,” he says.

Lower prices than Spain

Prices in Morocco are substantially lower than those for comparable properties in Southern Spain, despite the fact that they both overlook the Mediterranean, say Jim and Antoinette Orr of Hainault, Essex, who have bought two properties in the golf and marina resort Mediterrania-Saidia.

The couple, who paid £198,000 for a 253 sq metre four-bedroom villa and £72,000 for a two-bedroom penthouse apartment, expect to be in a position to sell their apartment and use the profit to pay off the mortgage on the villa within four or five years.

“In the eight months since we bought the apartment off-plan, its value has already increased by more than £20,000,” reports Jim whose example is being followed by growing numbers of buyers anxious to secure a property before prices rise out of their reach.

Low cost flights boost

Paul continues: “Enquiry levels have been boosted by the new availability of low-cost direct flights to Morocco from firms like easyJet and Ryanair.  That is why the traditional slowdown in activity during the summer months has been much less than we expected.”

In contrast to the resorts taking shape on the coast, new developments in the Marrakech area are attracting buyers at the top end of the market, seeking exclusivity on smaller luxury developments.

While British buyers remain in the vanguard of overseas investors, they have been joined by others from European counties like Spain, Germany, Belgium, Norway and Sweden, as well as purchasers from further afield. Recently Saffron Villas has started selling Moroccan properties to buyers from the USA, Hawaii, Singapore, Dubai and Bahrain.

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