‘Unconventional’ towns are seeing massive growth in South Africa

 ·5 Mar 2023

Smaller South African towns are seeing exponential growth, says Warren Aronson, business development executive from Aucor Property.

Semigration is not limited to coastal areas in the Lowveld, including Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Hermanus, Umhlanga, and Ballito.

He said that several locations across Limpopo, Mpumalanga and even the Eastern Cape have gained in popularity – in metros known as “second-tier cities.”

Over the past three to five years, many of these smaller towns are growing as more people work remotely and because they offer opportunities themselves, Aronson said.

“Most notably, these include more affordable living and better quality working environments, away from major urban hubs and the challenges that those metros may bring,” said Aronson.

“Property prices across all sectors in these hubs are more affordable, and the quality of life is a major drawcard for many,” said Aronson.

He added that business opportunities are on the rise, and in turn, the growth of commercial and industrial property sectors has surged.


According to the executive, Limpopo has become an attractive investment hub with a substantial increase in the development of shopping centres, industrial sites and office parks.

This, in turn, has created job opportunities and helped boost the economy in the region, he said.

“Local government is committed to supporting this process and has devised and implemented a strategy around Special Economic Zones (SEZs).”

“SEZs seek to promote the beneficiation of minerals, stimulate green energy growth, encourage logistics companies to establish their businesses in the area, and uplift local communities through training and job creation. Ultimately it becomes a win-win situation all round,” said Aronson.


Mpumalanga cities have seen a flourish of growth and development, added Aronson.

It is rich in minerals and agriculture and offers a plethora of tourism opportunities to locals and foreigners alike, said Aronson.

Similar programmes and strategies have been implemented, including Special Economic Zones and the Mpumalanga International Fresh Produce Market.

“Property prices, land and rentals in these nodes are more affordable than those in major metropoles, and business confidence is positive when engaging with locals in many of the towns.”

“Several blue chips are well entrenched in these areas and have invested further in custom-built and owned sites. This has freed up quality properties which are prime for smaller operations to step into and start operations without much needing to be done,” Aronson noted.

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