What’s behind the semigration trend in South Africa?

South Africans are increasingly looking to greener pastures within our country’s borders in search of a better quality of life away from the stresses of big cities, notes Andrea Tucker, director at MortgageMe. Semigration, or moving from one part of the country to another, is firmly in the spotlight as Covid-19 makes working remotely de rigueur.

Data from FNB shows a continued trend towards semigration to the coastal areas of the country, while Pam Golding pointing to the Garden Route and KZN – Durban and north to Ballito, and the Western Cape – including the Boland and Overberg as target areas.

Areas such as Ballito and Knysna, also St Francis Bay, Port Alfred and Jeffreys Bay, which were previously considered holiday hamlets, have become primary residential areas for people able to commute, and work remotely, Pam Golding said.

While semigration is nothing new, many of the barriers preventing people from taking the leap have virtually diminished overnight, said Tucker.

“Small businesses and large corporates alike have had to rethink their operating models along with expectations of their workforce, and many have seen improved productivity due to the greater flexibility bestowed on their staff.

“Now the dream of earning a Joburg corporate salary while admiring a view of the Knysna Heads is finally within reach,” she said.

Semigration is an especially attractive prospect for those looking for a better lifestyle in relatively safer environs with access to prestigious schools, but without the lengthy and costly complications involved in emigrating overseas.

“Whether one is looking for less rush, a great education at a fraction of the price of large city schools, or a picturesque view in the morning instead of a hectic commute – these come at less of compromise now that it’s entirely possible to work in one part South Africa while living in another,” Tucker said.

Not only does semigration offer a whole host of benefits for semigrants, it’s also a boon for small coastal towns and small mom-and-pop businesses too.

The basic concept of supply and demand looks set to have a positive impact on property prices in small towns where estate agents are likely to experience bidding wars for the most highly sought-after properties, making the semigration trend a potentially savvy investment opportunity as well.

“Prior to taking the plunge, it is important to list the pros and cons involved in the big decision to relocate. Ultimately, you are the only one who can make the choice based on your and your family’s unique needs and circumstances.

“If you’re able to work remotely permanently, calculating whether that ocean view is truly feasible is the best place to start,” said Tucker.


Read: Business Talk – In conversation with Dr Andrew Golding

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What’s behind the semigration trend in South Africa?