Gauteng kisses rich South Africans goodbye – here’s why they’re leaving

 ·2 May 2024

Many affluent South Africans are relocating from Gauteng to the Western Cape due to poor service delivery in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

According to the annual Africa Wealth Report by Henley & Partners, six South African cities are among the top ten most popular locations for millionaires to reside on the continent.

Johannesburg is the wealthiest city in Africa, with 12,300 millionaires, 25 centi-millionaires, and two billionaires.

Many millionaires are based around Sandton or in the “old money” suburb of Westcliff.

However, over the past decade, the number of millionaires living within its boundaries has decreased by 44%, with many shifting to South Africa’s coastal areas.

This equates to a loss of roughly 21,965 millionaires from 2013.

Over the same period, Pretoria also experienced a decline in its millionaire population, losing about 30%.

On the other hand, other areas of wealth in the Western Cape regions of the country are witnessing a notable rise in their number of millionaires.

This semigration trend has benefited Cape Town, which has seen a rise in the number of rich South Africans moving to the city—showing a 20% increase in the number of millionaires residing there.

According to Henley & Partners, this trend is set to continue, and Cape Town is predicted to become Africa’s wealthiest city by 2030, surpassing Johannesburg.

Moreover, several big companies based in Johannesburg are also expected to relocate their head offices to Cape Town by then.

Henley & Partners estimates that the number of millionaires in Cape Town will nearly double over the next ten years while Johannesburg’s millionaire population will continue to decrease.

Smaller towns located in the Western Cape, especially those in the Cape Winelands area, are expected to witness a rise in the number of millionaires in the next decade.

In the last ten years, the Winelands region saw a 28% increase in the number of millionaires residing there, and this trend is expected to accelerate in the 2030s.

The millionaire population in the Garden Route and the Whale Coast also grew by 32% and 35%, respectively, during the previous decade.

The area stretches from Mossel Bay to Storms River on South Africa’s South Coast, with notable towns including Plettenberg Bay, Knysna and Wilderness.

This trend is also evident in the country’s property market, with Cape Town and other smaller towns in the Western Cape experiencing a significant boom.

One of the reasons for this semigration boom is that many wealthy individuals in Johannesburg are leaving the city due to the declining quality of service delivery.

Research conducted by Henley & Partners and New World Wealth shows that millionaires prioritise personal safety and security, basic service delivery, and political stability when choosing where to live.

This trend has resulted in increased property prices in Cape Town, as more people semigrate from the northern areas of the country to the coastal city.

Additionally, there has been a rise in the number of rich foreign purchases of property in Cape Town.

These areas include some of the country’s most opulent residential areas, such as the Prime 7 – Clifton, Bantry Bay, Camps Bay, Bishopscourt, Constantia, Llandudno, and St. James.

These trends have stimulated the property markets of smaller towns in the Western Cape, such as Plettenberg Bay and Hermanus.

According to the CEO of Pam Golding, Dr Andrew Golding, both foreigners and locals are particularly attracted to the well-managed Cape Town Metro and the diverse lifestyle offerings from the Atlantic Seaboard.

Cape Town has already witnessed an influx of international buyers who are active in the market, not only at the top end but across all price ranges, which demonstrates confidence in the City’s property market.

According to Golding, South Africa stands out due to its exceptional value for money.

For instance, if you have $1 million to invest in Cape Town, you can purchase a residential property of approximately 200 sqm.

In comparison, the same amount of money will only buy you 33 sqm in New York, 34 sqm in London, 43 sqm in Paris, 44 sqm in Sydney, and 17 sqm in Monaco.

Moreover, the lifestyle offered in South Africa is among the best in the world, and it doesn’t get compromised in any way, as per Golding.

Read: Cheapest days to fly to Cape Town, Joburg, and Durban – and other destinations

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