UK property buyers are increasingly looking to invest outside the European Union and a new operator is helping agents cash in this demand.
Investment Adventures is promoting what it terms ‘investment tourism’, and has a range of packages available to sell through the trade. Prices lead in at £800 and commission for agents is 10%.
Morocco is the main focus of the programme, but managing director Brett Gregory-Peake plans to extend to Sri Lanka, Slovenia, Slovakia and Bulgaria.
“Morocco is so accessible; in just three hours you can fly to somewhere with a distinctly Arabian feel,” he said.
Flights with British Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Atlas Blue, Thomsonfly and now EasyJet and Ryanair mean investors will never have a problem getting to their place in the sun.
Investment Adventures’ four-night packages include flights, excursions, some meals and accommodation at properties that are for sale. Guests are shown around real estate sites and introduced to previous buyers, local estate agents and property lawyers.
“You could organise it yourself, but if you do you’ll need to know where to look and how to choose between all the local agencies. There’s everything out there from tiny one-man operations to very large, professional companies,” said Gregory-Peake.
“Our packages are a hand-holding exercise, but it’s about making it happen quickly.”
Properties for sale range from riads – grand old townhouses built around a central courtyard – to villas and open plots of land.
A three-bedroom riad in need of renovation can be bought for less than £80,000, or from around £180,000 for a fully refurbished property. A quality villa with a pool and views of the Atlas Mountains can cost from £400,000.
Tel: 020-7978 7333
It’s not just Marrakech or even Morocco that has attracted the attention of foreign buyers. Egypt relaxed its laws on foreign ownership last year to attract investment.
The Egyptian Tourism Authority recently held a property conference to test the water among UK buyers and said the feedback was “phenomenal,” with Cairo and the Red Sea the most popular destinations.
The Tunisian National Tourist Office said it had received a number of enquiries from UK buyers attracted by the short flight and favourable prices; £20,000 can buy a decent apartment, rising to £250,000 and beyond for a quality villa in a good area.
But Morocco has the most opportunities for investors. Several resorts are being built and have attracted plenty of interest from UK buyers.
Phase one is now complete on the new Saidia development on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast, 40% of which has been sold in the UK. The resort, near Oujda airport, is scheduled for completion in 2007 and will comprise apartments, bars, restaurants and up to seven hotels. Spanish contractor is responsible for the construction of the resort.
The Moroccan National Tourist Office confirmed several similar projects were under way, including the new Mogador resort near Essaouira, Mazagan, south of Casablanca and Lixus, south of Tangier.
Top tips for buying overseas
We asked Matt Havercroft, editor of the UK’s leading overseas property magazine A Place in the Sun, for the lowdown on buying property in Morocco. Here’s what he had to say:
- The buying process is fairly straightforward and can be completed within 10 to 15 days
- You will need a deposit of 10% to 50%
- Employ an independent, experienced and bilingual lawyer to check the property has a clean title, especially if you are buying an older property
- Make sure you have secured the services of a good notary (local authority official), through whom all purchases are carried out
- Currently, the best places to buy are Marrakech, Fez and Essaouira on the Atlantic coast, as well as the resorts along the Mediterranean coast. For good rental returns some of the developments in Saidia, on the Mediterranean, are looking like a good bet
- If you fancy a bargain then look for renovation projects. A riad (traditional courtyard-style house) in need of work can be picked up for as little as £45,000
- Get estate agents to put the costs down in writing beforehand (usually 3% of the asking price)
- Factor in 5% for property tax to be paid upon completion
- Mortgages can be arranged in Morocco for a maximum of 60% of the purchase price/ valuation
For information on its bi-annual property exhibition visit Aplaceinthesunlive.com
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