Morocco: Why holiday homes are hot right now
Source: The Independent: http://money.independent.co.uk/property/homes/article2266124.ece
Winter sun and a boho tradition have made Morocco's southern coast the holiday-home destination for Europe's fashionable set. Ian McCurrach reports
Published: 14 February 2007
While we huddle round the fire in the middle of a February cold snap, Morocco is basking in balmy sunshine. Second-home buyers are flocking there, attracted not only by the weather, but also by the stable economic climate.
More Britons now visit Morocco than any other nationality bar the French. And since many property buyers are reporting capital gains of more than 20 per cent per year, Morocco is not just for holidaymakers.
Agadir may be all Seventies developments and bargain-basement package tourists, but drive south for an hour and the vibe changes completely .
Here, in tiny fishing villages such as Mirleft, the boho-chic set fill the pavement cafés, tuck into their tagines and soak up the rays by their private pools.
Former hippies from France now run boutiques and galleries here. And the beaches are largely deserted, apart from the windsurfers.
"Morocco is a red-hot ticket," says Herbert Ypma, the creator of the Hip Hotels series of books. "In the same way that Americans have Miami and the Caribbean, we have Morocco on our doorstep for guaranteed winter sun. There's little time difference, no jet lag and it's so easy to get to."
Budget airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair fly to Morocco daily, along with national carriers British Airways and Royal Air Maroc. Samantha Day of easyJet says: "We carry 3,500 passengers a month on our daily route from Gatwick to Marrakech and are looking to expand that in the coming year. I fly there frequently and I've noticed that the majority of the passengers are second-home owners or those looking to buy."
So, where to buy? Tony Roberts, of Moroccan Properties - the Moroccan-based representative of UK estate agency Savills - indicates that the cool crowd are migrating from Marrakech to the coast. "Aglou Plage is a tiny village, on a beautiful beach near two charming towns, Tisnet and Mirleft, that are crammed with cool restaurants, bars, boutiques and art galleries. At night you can eat wonderful food for a fraction of the price you'd pay on the Costa del Sol or the Algarve."
Abby Aron, author of Buying a House in Morocco, agrees. "This stretch of coast is exciting for those looking for a second home, because property prices are still very reasonable," she says. "If I could buy somewhere tomorrow, I would definitely buy around Aglou Plage. There is a newish development called Aglou Paradise, which has stunning villas with beach views, but there are some beautiful old fishermen's houses, too."
Aglou Paradise in Aglou Plage is a complex of 12 luxury villas. Villa 12 has three en-suite bedrooms, fantastic sea views and direct parking access to the front of the house. The property is for sale for €425,000 (£282,000), which includes buyer's costs.
Twenty minutes south is Dior el Janoub, where prices start at €266,000 (£176,000). And in Mirleft you can buy a one-bedroom traditional cottage with a garden for around €85,000 (£56,000). Set back from the beach, it has a good-sized living room and kitchen. All the above properties are on the market with Moroccan Properties.
Moroccan Properties (www.moroccan-properties.com; 00 212 24 430 465)
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