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A modern Moroccan property investor

11th December 2008 Print
A modern Moroccan property investor John Beckett, 52, has a fairly laid back approach to property investment, in fact he doesn’t classify himself as an ‘investor’ at all, just someone who “loves houses”. And in a global economic meltdown what better mindset to have when deciding the next address to add to the collection.

A two bedroom penthouse in Morocco is the most recent property to have captured the Cornwall-based Chartered Accountant’s imagination, but it’s fair to say that John took a quite circuitous route to purchase. He started by trying but not buying in Spain, Portugal and Cape Verde, and then subsequently helped his nephew onto Sheffield’s property ladder. Then one Friday, after sinking the regulation couple of beers, he found himself captivated by an article extolling the virtues of a new major tourist development in Morocco. As soon as John got home he sent an enquiry email and the next day, after receiving a well-timed and professional sales pitch, John at last bit the bullet and said “yes” to the resort of Mediterrania Saïdia.

John picks up the story, “You could probably start the trail back in 2004 when I put a deposit on a property in the Marbella area, the setting of many a happy golfing trip, which was to be the start of a grander plan to split my time between the UK and remote-working in Spain. Sadly after spotting the Spanish property ‘crash’ on the horizon I pulled out. A year later I switched my attention to Portugal and went to view the Silver Coast which I found both interesting as a developing area as well as affordable. But for me personally I was rather put off by its similarity to the ruggedness of Cornwall when I was looking for something a bit calmer and more serene. Also, being quite well north, I felt the season was just too short on the Silver Coast to get a suitable return on my investment. Cape Verde skipped through my mind, but feared it would be a little too arid and difficult to get to and then, after purchasing the place in Sheffield, I rather lost interest as my available funds were depleted. To read about and subsequently become enthused by Morocco was honestly a bit out of the blue.”

John continues, “I’d almost shelved the overseas home plan for the time being believing that a decent two bedroom property with access to golf just couldn’t be found for less than £200,000. But a chat with GEM Estates proved me wrong. My timing, I think, was perfect as the soon to be sold-out Tulip Residences with its central clubhouse and three lagoon-style pools had a penthouse unexpectedly returned to the market for just £160,000 pounds. This meant that I was getting more than I was expecting for less money – a powerful aphrodisiac for putting pen to paper. Tulip Residences is close to Mediterrania Saïdia’s 1,000 berth marina and within a drive and a nine-iron - not mine, Tiger's - of three first-rate golf courses. It also enables me to profit from rental income via the management programme whilst retaining a very generous personal use allowance. Intuition just told me to go for it.”

Having signed on the dotted line back in January 2007, John has kept a keen eye on progress at the resort paying a couple of site visits by way of the developer’s private plane which flies from Málaga to Morocco in less than an hour. He says there has never been a point in the last two years when he hasn’t been excited about Mediterrania Saïdia, which for an accountant, he goes on to say, is quite an admission!

John explains, “I see the resort as a sort of starter kit for Morocco. Whilst it has the lure of the exotic and a definite cultural distinction from Europe, Mediterrania Saïdia also has the comfort of clear legal title, top quality build, as well as first-class golf, shops, restaurants and other amenities. In addition I'm confident that by the time the resort officially opens, airlines will make it easily accessible in a weekend. I love Andalucía so of course I feel I'm going to love northern Morocco as it echoes many of the same characteristics - from the calm Mediterranean waters and balmy climate to the striking Moorish architecture and relaxed lifestyle. I’m looking forward to many lazy golf weekends and, with the global brand name of Golden Tulip managing my home, some healthy rental returns.”

So does John have any tips for would-be Mediterrania Saïdia investors, “I’ve learnt over the years to have a personal reason to invest rather than just a financial reason. I don’t care so much about downturns, I've bought at Tulip Residences because it fits my idea of what I want out of a holiday investment, and if it suits me it will suit the people I'm looking to attract. And then hopefully over the long-term it will look after me financially too. Mediterrania Saïdia seems like a very sound and attractive investment as it is self-contained, well-marketed and, as I understand it, has the personal involvement and interest of the King of Morocco himself. Whilst I'm not very comfortable with offering advice, if I was asked for it I would simply suggest that people follow their hearts and their heads in equal measure."

Tulip Residences is now sold out however GEM Estates is able to offer a range of other properties within Mediterrania Saïdia from freehold apartments within a five star beachfront aparthotel priced from 1,270,681 MAD (approx 114,997 euros or 97,222 GBP) to detached villas within The Hivernage Resort & Spa Saïdia priced from 3,838,418 MAD (approx 347,302 euros or 293,682 GBP).

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A modern Moroccan property investor