Kim Cloete
3 minute read
19 Sep 2013
6:00 am

CT leads semigration stakes

Kim Cloete

Gautengers are taking more of an interest in relocating to Cape Town, with an increasing number of buyers snapping up properties and putting down roots in the Mother City.

FILE PICTURE: A view of Cape Town from Robben Island. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons (Matthias Kniese)

Commuter buying has also stepped up, as more people choose to live in Cape Town and commute to Gauteng for work.

“We’re seeing two main trends – young people, many in their 30s, who have made a lot of money but are keen on a lifestyle change – and more established professionals opting to run their businesses from Cape Town, and commuting when they need to,” says Seeff Atlantic Seaboard & City Bowl managing director Ian Slot.

According to the recently released FNB Regional Migration Trends report, the Western Cape continues to far outperform the country’s other eight provinces including Gauteng, when it comes to attracting repeat property buyers from other provinces.

Slot says Joburg buyer activity makes up as much as 20% of all buyer activity in some areas, particularly on the Atlantic Seaboard, which cover areas like Camps Bay, Fresnaye, Bantry Bay and Clifton, with most Gauteng buyers paying cash.

He says while most of the sales are still for holiday reasons, about half of the buyers intend reloca-ting to Cape Town permanently.

Major advances in web techno-logy, which have made it far easier to communicate, are helping to drive the change among professionals as well as companies.

Take the example of retail bank Capitec, which is headquartered near Stellenbosch.

“In the past any bank which wanted to be a big player was based in Joburg. But these days you don’t need to be so centralised. Times have changed,” says FNB’s household and property sector strategist John Loos.

Reasons for relocating

According to the FNB Estate Agent Survey, 74% of South Africans cite work reasons for “semigrating” – moving from one city to another – in the past 18 months, 21% were retirees, 14% wanted to be closer to family; 2% were moving for quality of life, and 1% moved for crime and security reasons.

The major difference separating Cape Town from the rest of the country is that once people are settled in the Mother City, they’re extremely loathe to budge. Loos says work reasons are cited by 80-90% of people who have relocated from Cape Town.

For those who do the weekly commute from Cape Town to Joburg, the regime can grate. By Sunday, they often have the blues with the thought of the red-eye flight at the crack of dawn on a Monday.

Despite the inconvenience, Slot says more people are choosing this option, and are keeping a home in both cities.

Cape Town is also becoming a comfortable base for more business and IT consultants, writers, a growing number of people in the film industry and designers, among other professionals.

But it’s not all sea and serenity. The rush-hour commute from Cape Town’s northern suburbs to Cape Town’s CBD along the N2 can be worse than Joburg’s 5pm M1 crush and competition can be extremely tough, as a growing number of entrepreneurs try to carve out a niche in the city.

While many people are captivated by Cape Town, and the city’s well-oiled marketing machine has drawn many people to the foot of its beloved Table Mountain, for some Joburg is in their blood and they wouldn’t give up its buzz, pace and diversity for anything.