Property firm reveals how many Sandton and Centurion residents are emigrating – and where they are going

Although not currently what is termed a ‘seller’s market’, circumstances in which people need to sell their property will always arise, says on of South Africa’s largest property firms, Seeff.

If you list your property with a fair selling price it will very likely be achieved, despite the economic climate, it said.

According to Seeff, prominent reasons for selling include downscaling, emigration, relocating within South Africa (‘semi-grating’), upgrading, and relocating because of security considerations or a change in family structure.

Seeff asked two of their experts in Sandton and Centurion to elaborate to which extent each of these factors contribute to sellers listing their properties in these areas.

Charles Vining from Seeff Sandton, said downscaling due to financial pressure in Sandton usually occurs when people who were considering downscaling in any event because of something like a divorce or retirement scenario are then spurred on and hurried up by financial pressure.

“This is most evident in the middle-market segment where someone will for example sell their R3 million plus home and move to something at R2.5 million or below. It’s not only the cost of the house that makes the difference. Municipal rates and/or complex levies, as well as the cost of maintaining large grounds or large houses also play a role,” he said.

Vining added that they also see a fair share of emigration as a driving force behind selling in Sandton.

“Emigration is not only due to crime rates or family ties abroad, but because the majority of homeowners in Sandton are professionals and have skills that are needed in foreign countries – from teachers and professors to audiologists, specialist doctors to bankers and attorneys.

“Moving to English-speaking countries are prevalent choices and a fair amount of sellers are also relocating to other African countries on expat contracts,” he said.

Vining added that semi-grating of particularly retirees to the Cape or warm Kwazulu Natal areas is also a definite trend in Sandton.

Some families upgrade because of spatial necessity to accommodate their growing family and others upgrade as they advance in their careers – the classic case being from an apartment to either a penthouse-style apartment, townhouse or cluster home.

“From a cluster home, people often move to a freestanding house in an estate or a home on large grounds in suburban areas,” Vining said.

“Relocating to be closer to work and schools is also evident as traffic is a serious consideration in Johannesburg,” he said.

Tiaan Pretorius, a Seeff agent in Centurion, said about 5% of new properties listed in Centurion belong to people who are under financial strain and are forced to downscale.

“We are seeing this across the board – from the owners of small townhouses to those who live in estates – and most prefer to find a smaller property in the same area or closer to work to reduce commuting costs. Generally these sellers move to properties that are anything from 25% to 40% more affordable than their current property.”

Pretorius added that about 5% of their listings are from people who are emigrating to countries like Australia, the UK, New Zealand and Canada due to personal views about the government, crime and the economic climate.

“While there are some sellers (particularly retirees) who sell to semi-grate to especially the Western Cape, it is not a large percentage. These sellers often move from estates or middle class suburbs,” Pretorius said.

Read: The 3 most popular countries for South Africans to emigrate to – and how much a house costs

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Property firm reveals how many Sandton and Centurion residents are emigrating – and where they are going