While urbanisation has seen populations in South African metros swell in recent years, a growing number of residents from Cape Town are now looking to semigrate to smaller towns, says Dawn Bloch of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.
“In 2017, around 15% of my sellers were moving out of Cape Town, predominantly up the west and east coasts and the Winelands, and this number has been steadily rising, fuelled those who are unable to emigrate opting instead to move to smaller towns for a quieter, better quality of life,” said Bloch.
“Many are also empty nesters and retirees looking to scale down both their homes and lifestyles, families with young pre-school children and professionals who are able to predominantly work from home or want to open small businesses.
“For most, the primary motivation for this move is a desire to escape the traffic congestion, escalating crime and increasingly regular bouts of unrest of the city for a safer, quieter life.”
Bloch says that popular towns with this new wave of semigrants include:
- Plettenberg Bay;
- Still Bay.
Johan Truter, area specialist and office manager for the group in Yzerfontein, said that the West Coast has become popular not just among Capetonians, but also Joburg buyers.
“There has been a notable increase in enquires from Cape Town and Johannesburg buyers who yearn for the simplicity of West Coast life, and the once tiny permanent population has swelled to around 2,000,” he said.
“Despite a less than bullish market, we are still inundated with enquiries from Capetonians wishing to invest in a growing town that is not only scenic and authentic but also offers a safe, rural lifestyle only 45 minute from the city along a relatively congestion-free road.”
Truter said that this is supported by an analysis of Lighstone data which shows that in 2016 the median house price jumped from R1.5 million to a new high of R2.1 million.
Truter added that recent significant growth in the residential sector has spurred commercial growth, with the latest development being a new shopping centre with the anchor tenant, Spar, occupying a space that is double the size of the original store.
In neighbouring Langebaan, the number of registrations and the median house price also spiked in 2015, when a consistent median of around R1.2 milion increased by 17% to R1.4 million, rising steadily to the current price of R1.9 million.
Experts from Lew Geffen Sotheby’s noted that the Cape Winelands area has also become increasingly popular with buyers in recent years, especially those who seek a more sedate country lifestyle, but who still need easy access to the CBD and airport and families who are attracted by a better choice of good schools.
Chris Cilliers, CEO and Principal of the Winelands branch, said that this sector of the market has remained fairly consistent over the past two years, despite the current market.
“In addition to families, we have been fielding more enquiries from professionals who predominantly work remotely or from home and empty-nesters looking to ease more gently into their golden years,” he said.
“Most popular with these buyers are homes in secure estates, where children can safely play outdoors and estates like Boschenmeer, Val de Vie, Pearl Valley and Kleine Parys, which are in close proximity to the N1 and conveniently situated for Paarl schools, are especially sought-after.”