2000 – 2018: The riads market in Marrakesh

The birth of a market

Until the early 2000s, real estate in Marrakesh is an internal market, sales and purchases are between Moroccans, and prices are very low. Until this date, only a few foreigners, mainly artists, industrialists and politicians, all adventurers with a soul of poet, are led to afford a palace of a thousand and one nights: Bill Willis, Guerrand Hermes, Eve Ruggieri, Alain Delon …

The real estate market in Marrakech began to transform with the fashion of riads, born in the early 2000s. The foreigners, Europeans (the French in the lead represent more than 70% of this market) for the most part, but also some Americans, Canadians and even Australians are starting to come in droves to buy a traditional house or a riad and restore it.

(Benkirane G., 1990, Marrakech, Homes and Secret Gardens, ACR, 336 p.)

Express 2001: https://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/monde/afrique/la-ruee-vers-les-riads_492784.html

In 2000 – 2002, some TV shows and news articles launched the craze, Capital on M6, among others, in France.

Exoticism within 2 or 3 hours by plane. Moving from the modern world to the Middle Ages becomes possible (“You have the watch, we have time”)! Give yourself a break. Be yourself a dream actor by putting yourself in a life-size setting. And of course the sun, the sun, the sun.

The purchase prices are very low for these Europeans whose reference is the price of real estate in major European cities. A palace of 400m2 ground, offering a ground floor with patio garden, a floor and a terrace, for a developed area of ​​more than 800m2 is negotiated around 500 000 francs, or 75 000 euros … At that time, by the way, the amount of work is greater than the amount of the purchase.
Until 2008/2009, soaring prices are exponential. Between 20 and 30% per year!

Most owners offer rooms for rent in their riad, at high prices, often unrelated to the quality of accommodation and services provided, but to offer a room in a riad in Marrakech is then a must.

Hoteliers alarm the authorities who are looking at this informal and unfair competition. A law comes out that regulates the guest houses. But it does not dampen the arrival of new investors. In 2007/2008, half of the foreign buyers arrive to open a riad in a guest house: either they buy it turnkey, the real estate market riads now offering titled, renovated and classified property and operated as a house. hosts, or they buy riads to renovate that they arrange for the purpose of classifying them as guest houses. At that time, the least riad of 5 rooms with bathrooms, on 200m2 soil, correctly placed in the medina, sells between 500 000 euros and 600 000 euros. Investors “professionalize” and think more about their investment, which is no longer “a straw”, but who thinks that real estate will experience a crisis? Buyers of riads always arrive many and enthusiastic.
The, or rather, the crises

The economic crisis: the announcement of the crisis in the United States, the freeze on loans, bank failures around the world … the crisis in Spain, Greece, then Italy, France … This is the first shock that shakes the economy. European craze for the Medina of Marrakech and consequently, which stops the surge of prices of riads.

The social crisis: the Arab Spring: in parallel, the Maghreb countries undergo one after the other their revolution: Tunisia in the lead, then Egypt and Libya. Only Morocco and Algeria escape. Algeria, which was then still shocked by the killings perpetrated by the Islamic Salvation Front, and under the iron hand of the Army, fueled by the rent that is the sale of oil, Algeria therefore did not not moved.

Morocco either, but for other reasons, more noble and more stable, it seems to us. His Majesty the King of Morocco, commander of the believers, progressive and enlightened has played his role perfectly in recent years, despite crises and turmoil. And he has an asset of great importance: he is perfectly legitimate for his people.

Morocco has not experienced a revolution, but many foreign investors have been afraid that this will happen … Second shock. The number of transactions is falling and prices are also starting to fall.

The security crisis: the attacks in Europe have taken over: France, England, Belgium, but also the United States, Canada, Syria, Libya, Russia …

From 2010 and for over 3 years, Daesh and its Islamic State have managed to create a climate of fear. Climate unfavorable for travel in general and stays in Muslim land in particular … Foreigners boycott or are simply afraid of Muslim countries

Some riad owners are starting to panic. Sell, sell … Who does not have a friend, or even a family member who says you have to be crazy to come to Morocco? The time is amalgam. Morocco and Marrakech have become “dangerous” in people’s minds.

Yet we know that Morocco is one of the safest countries. He has proved it at several international events and in particular by organizing brilliantly the COP22. This date marks the return of confidence for Morocco. The numerous articles extolling the effectiveness of the Moroccan secret services, as well as their remarkable contribution to the French, English and Spanish services in particular. Then the many bridges woven between the Kingdom and the French President Macron and his new team … The press and television start boasting the beauties and cultural wealth of Morocco. Tourists and investors then start coming back, and come back motivated and without fears.
2018: the recovery! New craze for riads!

From 2017, the vision of foreigners in Morocco changes little by little. Morocco has proved that it knows how to realize the important projects for its population and that it knows how to manage the crises of its country. The Moroccan middle class is growing. The country has remained stable. Signs that are interpreted positively by foreign investors.

The crisis in Europe gives way to the economic upturn: Spain comes out of the crisis, France and Italy give the first signs of a way out of the crisis …

The echo of the attacks in Europe is silent.

The three factors destabilizing the real estate market in Marrakech have disappeared or almost.

2017 marks the return of confidence. Generalized trust of tourists and investors. Since September 2017, the number of transactions is increasing again. And the beginning of the year 2018 promises a very good year real estate. From 2009 to 2017, prices being attractive again and consistent with the real value of the proposed riads, purchasers of renovated and renovated riads are returning in number and confidence. Big budgets are reappearing too. Investing over 700,000 euros in a riad in the medina is no longer a folly.

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