The word’s out already - property in Morocco is a hot target for 2007 and beyond because the government of Morocco are making it easier for overseas buyers to invest in holiday homes and derive rental income tax free for the first five years, they are making it easier to get to and from Morocco by opening up their skies and airports to cheap flight operators from all across Europe and the UK, and they are totally committed to expanding travel and tourism related traffic and income.
As a result of all these factors we no longer consider Morocco an emerging market – rather it is a rapidly maturing market where prices are rising fast - in fact, 2007 could be the last year for investors to bag property bargains.
Serious investment is coming to Morocco especially from the Middle East; for example Emaar Properties from Dubai and Diar from Qatar have both committed to multi million dollar property and resort development projects across the country and the government are signing off new development projects every few months. This brings some serious choice to an investor seeking quality property stock that will rent well throughout the year to the increasing numbers of tourists visiting Morocco annually.
In terms of the growth in tourism which is an investor’s likely core market to target - in 2006 the Moroccan government, through strategic operations such as promoting the delights of Morocco widely to the rest of the world and by opening up key regional airports to cheap flight operators, pushed tourism growth up significantly. In the first nine months of the year tourism traffic grew by 9% compared to the previous year and even more significantly the income from tourism was up 26% suggesting those who are coming are more affluent than before and more willing to spend more money on holiday villa rental for example which bodes well for an investor’s yields.
By the end of 2006 six and a half million travellers will have visited Morocco which is a significant increase on the previous years figures and by 2010 the government are determine to have at least ten million visitors entering the country annually. Naturally enough more tourists means more potential to rent out well located and facilitated properties such as in the coastal resorts from Aglou Plage to Saidia or in the ski resort of Oukaimeden or even in cities such as Tangiers or Marrakech.
An alternative that will exist for an investor in 2007 and for a limited window only will be buying multiple units off plan and flipping back to rookie investors attracted to the market by the greater promotion in the press and through other media of Morocco as a great place to begin building an investment portfolio.
For those seeking the best long term capital appreciation some of the older, more traditional properties are exceptional for growth prospects. But beware – older riads and the like could come with all sorts of property title issues attached. Most older properties do not have title deeds that are legally recognized by the land registry department and as a result, those buying such property stock usually have to enter into a lengthy period of paperwork to secure their property stock – get a good lawyer on board before even making an offer to purchase. All the paperwork hassle can be well worth the trouble for well located properties with character, charm and potential….but for anything else forget it for the time being.
The government in Marrakech will begin a lengthy period of legalizing all property title from 2007 onwards with other towns and cities likely to follow suit. This means that the process to buy older properties in Marrakech will become streamlined and those who can move quickly, snap up run down renovation treats and restore them to their former glory will reap significant financial rewards – but such an investment approach is not for the faint-hearted because the process is not cheap and such work has to be supervised in person if the desired results are to be achieved.
In conclusion - Morocco offers an investor a wealth of opportunity. Basically an investor needs to consider his preferred investment approach and target market and then seek stock with room for growth or prospects for good yields accordingly. The likes of Savills and Colliers have moved into the market in 2006 with Hamptons International following suit in 2007 suggesting that property in Morocco is about to become very big business indeed.