As more workers switch to remote working during lockdown, a growing number of South Africans are looking to emigrate out of major towns and cities says Chas Everitt International property group.
Everitt said that many more people and companies have had to switch to remote working mode to survive and have realised that:
- It is much easier than they thought;
- It does not necessarily mean a drop in productivity; in fact, people are often more productive when working from home;
- Many types of work lend themselves to working remotely on a permanent basis – and from wherever one prefers to live.
“We are thus not surprised that more employees as well as executives are now seriously exploring the idea of moving away from a big metro to a smaller town or an estate in a more rural area,” said Everitt.
“This pandemic has been a wake up call for many people and families who are now seriously reassessing their priorities, and seeking ways to make permanent changes to achieve a lifestyle that is less rushed and stressed, and we see this reflected in a significant increase in enquiries for country homes.”
In keeping with international trends, however, Everitt said that most do not want to relocate to another province or region, but just to a small town or estate that offers the possibility of a quieter life and is still within a couple of hours’ drive of their origin city – particularly if their friends or family members still live there.
Everitt said the areas that could be prime targets for this process of “de-urbanisation” in South Africa are:
- The Cape West coast;
- The Winelands;
- The Garden Route;
- The Little Karoo;
- The North Coast of KZN;
- The Vaal;
- The Waterberg in Limpopo;
- Towns in Mpumalanga close to Mbombela and the Kruger National Park.
Everitt said that not all towns in these areas will immediately benefit from this trend.
He said those areas that can attract the “de-urbanites” with good municipal management, reliable power and water supplies, reliable and fast internet connectivity, reasonable proximity to an airport, good shopping and medical facilities and good schools if they have children will prosper most.
Looking at the type of properties these new semigrants are likely to buy, he said, there is already high demand among affluent buyers for homes in out-of-town lifestyle estates.
These include Val de Vie, Pearl Valley and Boschenmeer in the Wineleands, for example, as well as the golf estate in Mossel Bay, the estates at the Vaal and around Hartebeespoort and the high-end estates along the KZN North coast such as Zimbali, Simbithi and Mount Edgecombe.
“We expect to see rising demand for ordinary freehold homes and whatever apartments may be available in and around various small towns – and possibly also for smallholdings where young families can keep horses or some livestock, go off-grid and grow their own food if they wish.”