Rent vs salary in South Africa’s biggest cities

Jobs website Adzuna has released updated data on the cost of living in South Africa’s biggest cities.

The data is based on a comparison of more than 140,000 job listings and rental costs from some of South Africa’s biggest property websites.

“When Adzuna analysed its data and compared it to the average rental price across South Africa’s nine provinces and major city centres, their findings were indicative that the average household spends between 26% and 30% of their monthly income on accommodation,” said Adzuna country manager Jesse green.

When compared with the average monthly salaries and average rental prices, these are South Africa’s most affordable cities to rent in:

  • Polokwane – 12% of monthly income spent on rent;
  • Port Elizabeth – 15% of monthly income spent on rent;
  • East London – 15% of monthly income spent on rent;
  • Johannesburg – 16% of monthly income spent on rent;
  • Pretoria – 17% of monthly income spent on rent.

Green highlighted changes in the results when compared to those of the last quarter of 2018. “This year, Johannesburg has again come up as one of the most affordable cities for employees that rent accommodation,” he said.

“These results can obviously be tied back to employment opportunities in South Africa’s economic hub.”

The recruitment expert said that although cities like Port Elizabeth and East London are among the country’s most affordable, better pay in areas like Johannesburg and Pretoria make them equally as affordable for renters.

Adzuna’s analysis indicates that cities such as Pietermaritzburg, Durban and Centurion tend to provide the best value for renters since average rental costs are at or below 20% of average monthly salaries.

At the extreme end of the scale, those living and working in Cape Town still sacrifice the biggest chunks of their monthly earnings to pay their rent.

Capetonians spend an average of 27% on their rent each month, with Sandton inhabitants close on their heels, giving up 26% of their monthly wages to rent.

To keep rent down to minimum levels, individuals that work within the country’s busiest hubs, like Sandton, still choose to reside outside of the city limits.

These findings are based on a scenario where a single person occupies a 1-bedroom home.

“When you look at the Adzuna report findings, it’s clear to see that even though some people earn a lot more working in SA’s main cities, they have less to show at the end of the day due to the high cost of living they have to deal with,” said Green.

“It just makes sense to consider alternative locations, like Pretoria instead of Sandton if you want to save more money.”

Rental prices by province

Adzuna found that the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal came in as the most expensive provinces to rent in.

In comparison, the North West, Free State and the Northern Cape were the most affordable provinces for working renters to settle down in.

Read: Good news for South Africa’s property market: banks are lending

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Rent vs salary in South Africa’s biggest cities