The financial crisis has had a relatively minor effect on Tangier’s property market; the lower end has in fact remained robust, said Robert Shaw, marketing director of Elite Moroccan Properties, based in England. He attributed this to Morocco’s growing middle class and the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure within the city.
As for luxury homes, he said, prices have fallen 10 to 20 percent.
In addition, there are fewer foreign buyers today than a few years ago, said Reinald Beck,director of the New Real Estate agency in Tangier. Over all, housing prices vary widely according to location and condition, Mr. Beck said. Within the medina, prices range from $60 to $70 a square foot, for homes in need of renovation, to $95 to $112 a square foot for restored homes. This house has an asking price of around $167 a square foot, above average because of its central location. But price negotiation is a common practice here, Mr. Beck said.
In newer parts of town, apartments designed for Westerners cost anywhere from $109 to $218 a square foot. Newly built luxury apartments and villas — a small portion of the market — sell for $185 to $205 a square foot, down from $240 a square foot before the financial downturn.
Traditionally, the majority of foreign buyers in Tangier are from France and Spain, Mr. Beck said; there are also buyers from Asia, Britain, Europe and America.
Foreign buyers in Tangier tend to be “more adventurous” than those who seek properties in Marrakesh, which has more development, Mr. Shaw said. “A buyer has to see beyond the city as it is at the moment,” he said. “It’s actively being transformed from a poorer, less visually stimulating city into a city that will be a serious reference point on the entrance to the Mediterranean in 10 years’ time.”
There are no restrictions on foreign buyers of residential properties in Morocco, said Loic Raboteau, the joint head of the French and North Africa Law Department at the International Property Law Center in Britain. But foreigners are prohibited from buying agricultural land.
Purchase-side costs are 7 to 8 percent. This includes notary fees, which run 0.5 to 1 percent; a 1 percent land registry tax; a 3 percent stamp duty; and a 0.5 percent transfer tax. Real estate agent fees are 6 percent and are typically split between buyer and seller, though this fee is often negotiated, Mr. Beck said.
The use of a lawyer is recommended; fees are approximately 1 percent of the purchase price, Mr. Raboteau said.
Most buyers pay in cash, Mr. Beck said, though financing of up to 50 percent is available to foreigners. Interest rates are about 5.2 percent.