Here’s where South Africa’s ‘semigrators’ are going

The Cape lifestyle with its natural scenic attractions, wide-open spaces and good schooling, retains an emphatic stamp of approval from ‘semigrators’ seeking a more appealing and healthy way of life, which this region offers in spades, says Annien Borg, MD of Pam Golding Properties in the Boland and Overberg.

“Homebuyers who are semigrating here tend to emanate mainly from Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, but also the Eastern Cape and elsewhere in the Western Cape, with a smattering from other provinces such as Limpopo.

“There is no doubt that the lockdowns have contributed to this ongoing trend, as many have re-evaluated their lifestyles, and, further enabled by the ability to work from home, have prompted them to make a move,” said Borg.

Borg said the lifestyle and affordability play a significant role in outlying areas such as Robertson and Montagu. “Here we find an older age group looking to retire – either now, or as a leisure getaway to retire here in the future, and therefore seeking good amenities, a reputable hospital – such as the highly-rated hospital in Robertson, and affordable homes where the cost of living is lower.

“They also want to be part of a smaller community where they can enjoy the natural surroundings but still be accessibly situated within two hours of Cape Town.”

These areas offer good value for money where you can still purchase a three-bedroom home on a 1,071 sqm plot for around R1.5 million and a vacant stand in Silwerstrand Golf & Lifestyle Estate just outside Robertson for R370,000, the property expert said. In Robertson, a three-bedroom home can be acquired for under R2 million.

“Similarly, on the renowned Whale Coast, Hermanus and Onrus are attracting a range of home buyers from young families to those wanting to retire along this beautiful coast, close enough to Cape Town for adult children to visit for weekends and holidays, and with medical facilities, like the new oncology unit in Hermanus, as well as good schools such as Curro, just some of the major attractions,” said Borg.

Hermanus and Onrus offer a selection of properties from well-run secure estates, like Hemel-en-Aarde and Fernkloof Golf Estates, to sectional title units and homes with sea or mountain views.

“Vacant land can start from R600,000 in the Onrus/Vermont area and can range up to R10 million for a seafront location – versus Hermanus where a 2000 sqm seafront plot recently sold for just over R24 million. In Hermanus sectional title homes start at R800 000 going up to R16 million for seafront apartments, while freestanding homes can start at around R2.5 million and range up to R50 million,” added Borg.

Pam Golding Properties area manager, Nicola Lloyd, said of the villages of Betty’s Bay, Kleinmond, Pringle Bay and Rooi Els that the UNESCO status in this area prevents the expansion of the village boundaries.

“The villages have ‘hard’ boundaries beyond which no residential development is permitted, which means that new development can only be infill, with vacant land becoming increasingly challenging to acquire as prices rise.

“Simultaneously, the urban environments form part of the Kogelberg Biosphere urban conservancy, which means specific guidelines exist to encourage residents to develop with sensitivity – planting indigenous plants and grasses, limited subdivision, no street little limited tarring of residential roads to protect the environmental quality of the towns.

This means we have a limited supply of homes, and quality control in the environment, setting us apart from other coastal villages on the west coast and further north on the east coast.”

Lloyd said there is high interest in seafront property, which, ranging from R7 million up to R18 million, is more competitively priced than comparable frontline Garden Route homes.

“There is also a high demand for established homes in the R3 million price range. In Kleinmond, our sales are mainly in the R1.5 million to R2.5 million price band, while high-end sales in Bettys Bay and Pringle Bay range from R4.5 million to R7 million.”

In Pringle Bay – with its vibrant village centre, and Bettys Bay, we also see high interest in vacant land, increasing in price as the supply of available stock decreases, she said.

“A better-quality lifestyle, access to open space or more spacious homes, plus the ability to work from home are the main reasons for home buyers relocating to these villages, coupled with the fact that proximity to Somerset West and Hermanus allows many who work in offices to commute, with school buses to Hermanus catering for children’s education.”

Cape Winelands

In the heart of the Cape Winelands, the character-filled towns of Paarl and Franschhoek attract several buyers from Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, said Surina du Toit, Pam Golding Properties area principal for Paarl, Franschhoek, Wellington and Grabouw.

“A lot of home buyers move to Paarl and surrounds for the excellent schools, while others are drawn by the secure estates and the great lifestyle, as well as the easy access to Cape Town. Buying across all price ranges for relocation or purchasing an investment property to rent out and relocate to later, or buying a plot to build on in the future, some of these semigrators have businesses elsewhere and also look to open a branch in our areas as well, or even start a new business.”

Louise Varga, Pam Golding Properties area manager in Stellenbosch, Somerset West, Gordon’s Bay and Strand, also noted increasing enquiries from semigrators relocating to these towns from major cities such as Pretoria, Johannesburg, East London and Cape Town.

“While this has been an ongoing trend as the Covid-19 pandemic has drawn attention to the benefits of coastal living, combined with the ability to work from home, security is high on their list of priorities. A sound investment, beautiful surroundings, convenient amenities and for the younger families, excellent schools are all factors taken into account by our home buyers. It’s also generally more affordable here than Cape Town, with secure property options across a wide range in Somerset West, Gordons Bay and Strand.

“For a sense of small-town community, big city convenience, and the attractions of the Cape Winelands on tap, and with schooling and proximity to Stellenbosch University, Somerset West has it all while offering better value for money than comparable homes in Cape Town. For Gordon’s Bay home buyers, the mesmerizing views to Simons Town and panoramic mountain backdrop are simply the icing on the cake. In Stellenbosch, the value lies in the beautiful setting, outdoor living, recreational activities offered and quality lifestyle.”

Most enquiries are from new families looking to relocate for a better standard of living or business purposes, as well as singles and couples, said Varga. At the same time, buyers continue to acquire student apartments in Stellenbosch. “Security estates are popular, and generally, we find our enquiries and sales are from around R2.5 million to R4.5 million and upwards.”

Varga said that there’s a broad price range catering for residential property buyers in Stellenbosch, Somerset West, Gordon’s Bay and Strand, ranging from R800,000 to R2 million for sectional title units and between R3 million and R5 million for houses – with the most popular price range for standalone suburban homes from R4 million to R7 million, to security estates, where popular price ranges are for homes from R3 million to R4 million, and from R8 million for more upmarket homes.”

Further afield in the Overberg, Pam Golding Properties area principal Le Roux van der Merwe said this region hosts well-frequented holiday towns like Gansbaai, Greyton, Witsand Swellendam and the Garden Route towns along the N2 around Stilbaai, which offers semigrants exceptional value.

Van der Merwe said: “In Gansbaai, we are seeing semigrants from all over the country who perceive that this area offers good value for money and is a great place to live while enjoying the benefits of working from home in a safe environment with good, well-maintained infrastructure, numerous attractions, clean air and great beaches. Such is the demand that we are experiencing unprecedented growth in this town, with an increasing shortage of vacant stands to build on.

“We believe this ‘zoom town’ is about to become a boomtown as homes are being renovated and the municipality and private investors are busy with the final planning for a new hospital and additional retirement accommodation in the town.

“While a private hospital, it will also have government beds and be accessible to all, and it is also anticipated that this hospital development will have facilities for post-operative recovery in the form of sub-acute accommodation and potentially, frail care facilities on site. This development will add around R100 million to the local economy.”

Approximately 30 minutes from Hermanus and two hours from Cape Town, renowned for its whale watching and pristine beaches and home to the southernmost golf course in Africa, Gansbaai already has quality shops, restaurants and service offerings, and the increased activity is driving more businesses, said van der Merwe.

The scenic route via the road between Hermanus and Gansbaai is currently being improved to cater to increased traffic flow and safety.

Pam Golding Properties markets homes and commercial properties in Gansbaai across all price ranges, from R1.6 million to R1.8 million for an average family home, to an average of approximately R4.5 million to R7 million for a seafront home, the group said.

“Our listings including seafront properties which offer sound value, especially when compared with Cape Town and the larger, better known coastal towns. Recreational activities are many and varied, from fishing and bird watching to horse trails, dune rides, MTB routes and shark diving boats to even wine routes,” said van der Merwe.

Read: How to boost your chances of being approved for a home loan in South Africa

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Here’s where South Africa’s ‘semigrators’ are going