Morocco: A Buyer’s Guide to Property

Why Buy Property in Morocco?

Morocco is an excellent place to buy as it offers a lively culture and history whilst being just a few hours flight away from most major European cities, making it attractive to a large number of tourists. There are plenty of different properties and areas in Morocco to choose from – from properties in the bustling ancient cities of Tangier, Marrakech, Fez and Casablanca through to the arid desert.

Moroccan towns and cities are home to some of the liveliest markets around whilst the beautiful coastline offers some peace and quiet for those looking for a relaxing holiday break. As Morocco has coasts on both the Atlantic set and the Mediterranean, tourists to Morocco have a choice of fantastic beach locations. For the outdoor-adventure types, it is even possible to ski and snowboard up in the snow-capped Atlas mountains. There really is a huge amount of different activities to participate in and it’s easy to see why Morocco is becoming one of the most popular holiday destinations around.

For overseas property investors this is excellent news at it means there is plenty of demand for holiday homes, meaning property prices are growing steadily, whilst rental prices remain solid and dependable.

As is to be expected, there is a wide range of property on offer from new-build apartments to the traditional riads and dars. The clever planning means new mixes well with old without jarring or looking out of place.

Popular Morocco property buying locations

For property buyers looking to buy in a city, the most popular cities are Fez and Marrakech. Fez was Morocco’s first Islamic city and these Islamic roots are clearly visible, lending an air of culture.

Marrakech is a city where most tourists will end up for at least part of their Moroccan holiday. Marrakech has an established tourist and property market and it is possible to find some fantastic restored riads for sale. However because of the tourist market, property prices here are about the most expensive in the country however rental yields are likely to be amongst the most stable and dependable. The outskirts of the city is worth a look as the modern housing built on the outskirts is often available at a more reasonable price than in the city centre.

The Moroccan coastline is also a popular place to buy. Mediterranea Saidia is one of the more popular resorts and will be home to a variety of buildings including 5 golf courses, bars, restaurants and plenty of hotels and clubs. This area is tipped to be a good area to invest in as the northern coastline is being targeted by the government to attract tourists in over the next few years.

The Moroccan Property Buying process

Once you have found a property you wish to buy, the first thing to do is to find a notaire. It is also a good idea to find an independent solicitor who will be able to check all the documents regarding the property buying process.

You should first put in a verbal offer on the property. Once this has been accepted by the vendor, you will need to sign a legally binding preliminary contract. You will also be required to pay your deposit. This is typically ten percent for a resale home and up to 40 percent for off-plan properties.

Your notaire will then get the title deeds for the property. For new build properties, this is fairly straightforward however be warned that for older homes, it can take up to a year to finalise as every member of the vendor’s family must give their approval for the sale to go ahead.

Once this has been sorted, around a month before completion you will be given a draft of the final contract. This must be signed and returned to your notaire. The final contract signing must be done in the presence of your notaire however if you are unable to travel to Morocco to sign the paperwork, you can appoint someone and give them power of attorney so that they can sign on your behalf. Once the contract has been signed, the remainder of the property purchase price is due along with any fees and taxes.

Moroccan Property Legal Issues

Although you do not legally require a solicitor in order to buy a Moroccan property, it is highly recommended because your notaire will not provide you with independent legal advice. It is advisable to have all three contracts translated into English by a reputable firm to ensure you are fully aware of everything that has been written into the contract. For new builds, the contract will sometimes give guarantees as to the quality of finish and construction therefore it is to your advantage if you are fully versed on these terms.

Although it is fairly common for properties to be sold without the correct title deeds, it is strongly advised that you do not purchase a property in Morroco without title deed documentation. This is because if you are not in possession of the title deeds, you do not officially own the property, regardless of how much you paid for the property.

Moroccan Property Financing

You are able to take out a mortgage in Morocco for up to 70 percent of the value of the property. This means that you will have to find 30 percent or more to fund the property purchase. Moroccan banks also will only lend up to about 40 percent of your net salary. Mortgages are repayment mortgages only – interest only mortgages do not exist.

Interest rates on Moroccan mortgages are currently around the seven percent mark. It may be worth seeing if you can raise finance in your own country through remortgaging other property or taking out a loan as this may work out cheaper than getting a Moroccan mortgage.

Moroccan Property: Fees and taxes

There are two main types of tax status in Morocco, tax resident and non-tax resident. If you spend more than 183 days per annum in Morocco you will be classed as a tax resident. Double taxation treaties are in place with many countries meaning you won’t be taxed twice for any income earned. It is advisable to talk to a tax specialist so that you know what fees and taxes are due in which countries.

When purchasing your Morocco property, budget around:

  • 2.5 percent for estate agency fees
  • 2.5 percent registration tax
  • 0.5 percent notary tax
  • Local taxes

Unless your property has been your principle place of residence for ten years, if you sell the property you will be liable for 20 percent capital gains tax.

Morocco does not have inheritance tax.

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