Morocco’s Vision 2010 plan on target as first luxury properties are released

The first luxury properties that form a key part of the Moroccan government's development strategy have been released as new figures show foreign investment in property in the country has increased massively.

The Tinja development on the north Atlantic coast is one of six key sites for luxury property developments that is part of Morocco's Vision 2010 plan to attract foreign visitors and investors. World renowned Dubai based Emaar Properties are developing the sites.

Housing Minister Ahmed Toufiq Hejira said the government is delighted with progress. 'We are pleased to encourage international investors to develop the land and to create jobs in the cities and villages,' he said. 'On the one hand it is raising the profile of Morocco and our commitment to the development of exclusive and truly sumptuous resorts, and secondly it is ensuring that real estate is growing as a contributing sector to the overall economy.'

Government figures show that that since property became such an important part of Morocco's agenda for economic diversification and expansion, foreign direct investments have reached 0.91 billion U.S. dollars – from 245 million dollars back in 2002.

There has also been an almost 33% increase in the numbers of jobs in the construction industry in the same period.

Real estate agents report that the numbers of investment buyers have increased. The Marrakech property market, for example, has seen a growing influx of French, Spanish, American, Russian, Belgian, Italian, Kuwait, UAE, and British property investors, eager to cash in on this emerging market.

Land prices are also soaring. Since 2004 land prices have increased by 2% in areas like Marrakech and Tangier. But buying land is not easy. 'Many pieces of land on which luxury Moroccan properties can be built, are owned by large families or cooperatives and to sell it would require an agreement from every single one of them. It takes a long time, and often doesn't happen,' said a spokesman for Luxury Living in Morocco.

In Morocco, foreigners cannot buy and then resell land. They can only buy land to which they are going to add value. They can do this by building a residential building or tourist development. Agricultural land is sold to foreign investors together with a binding contract between the developers and the Moroccan local authority.

This Vocation Non Agricole (VNA) states that the developers must complete their projects, whether resorts, luxury villas and houses as planned, within a set timescale.