Morocco can be quite reasonably-priced for Western residents, and the city of Marrakech is as good a place as any to have a second home. I just returned from my first international mission for CandysDirt.com, scoping out the real estate scene in Marrakech. (OK, so I embellish. I’d already planned a vacation and did some investigating on the local real estate)
Marrakech is an interesting place, and Morocco is a bit of a mix with everyone who was anyone having invaded over the past 1,000 years. There were the native Berbers, then came the Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, Turks and most recently the Spanish and French who only left in the 1950s (the French left their language).
There is a certain faded Moorish charm peering out between the third-world chic of everyday Marrakech. I admit being fearful of Marrakech being like “tip-y” Egypt, where everyone, including airport security, wanted a tip (because my bag miraculously appeared on the other end of the X-Ray machine – true story). It’s not. Aside from the souk merchants and their hard sell haggling, it was pretty stress-free for a first-world resident visiting a third-world country.
But nor is it the Marrakech of the over-romanticized 1940s Casablanca film (Sam played it again in a different city for a start), nor the swinging 1960’s “Marrakech Express” of Yves Saint Laurent’s jet set hippy crowd.
No, the Marrakech of today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also seeing a building boom resulting from King Mohammed IV’s goal of doubling tourism by 2020. Building boom? Yes, Marrakech has more cranes than Dallas these days, albeit shorter ones (the city is not tall). I would hazard a guess that the old city is all two and three stories with no building taller than four stories (unless it’s a mosque minaret).
Much of the building consists of new hotels, golf courses and second homes for foreigners. Morocco, it seems, is turning into a North African Scottsdale or Boca Raton for aging Europeans. But it’s not all new…
If you’re looking for a second or third shelter, there are two types of homes available in Marrakech for differing buyers.