Semigration to coastal areas continues its momentum, with families and mature buyers reconsidering their life choices. As remote working flexibility increases, more semigrators are signing up
WORDS: KIM MAXWELL – PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
In the latest FNB Estate Agent Survey released this January, 11% of sales in the final quarter of last year was due to the relocation of homeowners to another part of South Africa. The impact of the pandemic and associated lockdown has played a role in South Africans’ life choices. And according to a recent report by property group Savills, Covid-19 lockdowns have severely disrupted the global economy. However, residential real estate has proven to be one of the more resilient sectors – including in South Africa, where the residential property market saw a rebound with momentum continuing, underpinned by 50-year low interest rates. This is particularly evident in the R700,000 to R3m price bands.
Pam Golding Properties CEO Andrew Golding says the rent vs purchase equation has shifted towards buyers, having a significant impact on local housing market activity. “Homeowners globally have re-evaluated their lifestyles and in particular, their living spaces. Lightstone reports that many countries, from the US to Australia, are seeing a reverse migration as remote working becomes a permanent option across job sectors and industries. It’s resulting in a steady increase in movement to smaller cities and towns where quality of life, family and affordability are highly valued. “Lightstone points out that in South Africa, the trend is more about a balanced lifestyle, with homebuyers in their late 20s and 30s and early retirees leading the coastal buyers,” he says.
Younger buyers in particular, are finding value in less obvious coastal locations. Balwin property executive Gabbi Botha makes the point that compared to the Atlantic Seaboard, Paardevlei Lifestyle Estate in Somerset West offers greater affordability with competitive safety, security, luxury and convenience. It’s also close to the Winelands and a beach.
“We’re only 1,550 steps from Strand beachfront – with a private residential pathway to the beach, across the road from Strand Golf Club,” she says. At its price point, Botha says Paardevlei Lifestyle Estate offers buyers a lot. A two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment starts from R1,849,9m – and includes integrated SMEG appliances, units pre-connected to fibre and DStv, basement parking, and a private store room.
Alongside the convenience factor of shopping malls nearby and the estate’s numerous amenities at its modern lifestyle centre on site, “every day feels like a holiday” for residents. “Our location also plays to our advantage – only 25 minutes from Cape Town International Airport, 33 minutes from Cape Town city centre, and 17 minutes’ drive from the Stellenbosch wine farms – so centrality and flexibility of location is prime,” she says.
We’re only 1,550 steps from Strand beachfront – with a private residential pathway to the beach, across the road from Strand Golf Club Gabbi Botha, Balwin property executive
Rural towns such as Rooi Els, Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay, Kleinmond, Malmesbury, Hermanus, Onrus and Gansbaai, are attracting homebuyers not only from the Western Cape, but Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal as well. “Hermanus and Onrus offer all the necessary amenities for buyers of all ages to live here permanently, such as good schools, medical facilities, shopping centres and enough attractions to please the outdoor enthusiast,” says Annien Borg, MD, Pam Golding Properties in the Boland and Overberg. “Due to growing commercial investment in these areas over the past few years, with more people relocating, a number of infrastructure investments and road upgrades have taken place.” Referring to the appeal of these rural towns with relatively close access to Cape Town, Nicola Lloyd, Pam Golding area manager, Rooi Els, Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond, says, “Since the lockdown began, buyers have seen the value offered in ‘zoom’ towns, and are snapping up seafront properties.”
Lloyd says holiday or retirement dreams have become permanent residential locations as more South Africans make the switch to remote working. “As a result, we find more younger buyers, mainly families, relocating here as access to schools is easier; as well as retirees. Generally, the major demand is for homes priced between R2m and R3m.” “People are increasingly looking for an all-in-one package – convenience, a pleasant and well-maintained environment, and homes that are well designed and offer extras such as built-in cupboards and fitted kitchens as standard features,” says Rabie Property Group director Miguel Rodrigues, adding that the current market offers “everything and more” at some of the lowest prices in years.
What’s his advice for potential semigrators who find that Camps Bay may not be in their price range? “For someone wanting to move too Cape Town, the upper price brackets and living next to a beach is reserved for only a few,” he says. “But walled estates such as Burgundy Estate offer a basket of advantages – convenient shopping centres and three schools, aside from a central location close to beaches, the CBD and the Durbanville wine route.”
Rabie’s new Bow Tie development in Burgundy Estate offers a well-planned, stress free atmosphere with parks and indigenous green corridors, on the fringe of Cape Town’s northern suburbs. Rodrigues says outdoor lifestyle enthusiasts can find an array of facilities including multi-purpose sports fields, a challenging nine-hole mashie golf course, a clubhouse with tennis court, and expansive canoeing pond, as well as kilometres of jogging paths and cycle tracks.
Bow Tie homes start at R845,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, and two-bedroom houses start at R1,62m (three bedrooms also available). “They combine green building principles, smart design and lush landscaping, at a smart price,” he says.
For young professionals and family buyers of sectional titles at Parc at Gold Coast Estate in the Sibaya precinct, being 10 minutes away from King Shaka International Airport, offers remote working convenience with the ability to commute for occasional meetings. Plus, a subtropical climate and beach lifestyle when not working. “Life here is the epitome of coastal living – and close to Umhlanga, the business hub,” says Rainmaker Marketing’s director Stephan Botha.
Parc’s two-bedroom villas start from R3,7m. Sectional title is an appealing option for homeowners who don’t fancy the costs or time input of maintaining a freestanding house, and estate security is an obvious benefit. “KZN attracts homebuyers relocating permanently from around SA, particularly from Johannesburg and Pretoria, as well as from Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London,” says Greta Daniel, national sales and operations manager, Pam Golding Franchise Services.
Daniel says demand for homes in Durban North to Ballito remains a recurring trend, but for Gauteng family commuters and the growing retirement market relocating to this coastal belt, decentralisation is the new normal. “The South Coast, with its appealing hamlets Scottburgh and Pennington nearer to Durban, through to Southbroom, San Lameer, Port Shepstone, Margate, Ramsgate and Port Edward down the coast, offers many attractions for homebuyers, including semigrators and retirees seeking coastal lifestyles at an affordable price,” she says.
Port Elizabeth is a solution for those diverting their focus from unattainable property prices in major metros, in search of a more affordable coastal home. Westbrook Lifestyle Estate MD Clifford Oosthuizen says the city strikes a balance by offering big-city amenities without some of the more trying aspects associated with many urban metros. “There are huge discrepancies between house prices by city, meaning buyers often have to sacrifice space for location. For those prepared to make the move, it’s now more feasible than ever. With the widespread shift to remote work, estate living is achievable for the price of what would probably get you a small studio flat in the likes of Cape Town,” says Oosthuizen.
Port Elizabeth’s newest suburb Westbrook is currently in development, offering nine residential villages. The estate offers security, walkable streets, parks and play areas, a cycling and running track, schooling and a mixed-use precinct. Its first village, The Ridge, is completed and sold out. River Dale in Westbrook is currently under construction, where potential investors can buy a three-bedroom, two-bathroom freestanding estate home with a double garage, starting from R1,335m.