Western Cape is SA’s ultimate province to live in – and this is why

Last year, more people moved to the Western Cape than to Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal combined. Picture: Sharaan Muruvan/Unsplash

Last year, more people moved to the Western Cape than to Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal combined. Picture: Sharaan Muruvan/Unsplash

Published Apr 21, 2023


If you are looking for the best region in South Africa to invest in property, then the Western Cape is where you should be setting your sights.

In November, Lightstone reported that most South African semigrants were choosing the Western Cape as their destination of choice.

This is because the business and lifestyle incentives being offered by the City of Cape Town are appealing, says High Street Auctions Director Greg Dart.

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“It has 60% less load-shedding than the rest of the country, a cash-for-power plan buying electricity from businesses that feed back into the grid, and an across-the-board property rates relief package peaking at 52% for homes valued below R5 million.”

It therefore “doesn’t take a rocket scientist” to understand why a decade of trickling semigration from Johannesburg to Cape Town, has now become a flood.

“South Africa had 35 days of load-shedding in 2020 and 48 days in 2021. These were enough to cause the financial equivalent of a flesh wound, but we were more focused at the time on triaging Covid’s economic arterial bleed.

“Last year, though, Eskom fell off a cliff and 207 days of load-shedding ensured that much of our fragile economy went with it. Longer outages compounded the devastation, with assembly and production lines across most of the country stopping for up to 12 hours a day.”

The notable exception, however, was, and continues to be Cape Town, which Dart says cut outage hours for residents and local industry by nearly 60% between February and November last year, according to figures released by Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

Migration to Cape Town has been a matter of survival for many Joburg businesses that have already relocated, and I predict thousands more will follow in the short- to medium term.”

StatsSA data also reveals that the Western Cape’s 6.9% employment increase in the last quarter was the largest rise in the country. Dart says other South African metros “will be hard-pressed” to stem the flood of investment moving to Cape Town, because the City’s plan to mitigate at least four stages of Eskom load-shedding has been years in the making.

“Cape Town is already well on its way to reaching its three-year grid security target.”

He says Lightstone figures show that, in 2022, more people moved to the Western Cape than to Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal combined.

Citing Lightstone data further, Dart says South Africa’s formal property stock volume totals 6.8 million and is valued at R6.1 trillion.

“The demand for property in the Western Cape is evident in that the province accounts for a substantial 29% of the national value, with only 18% of the stock.

Cape Town’s annual residential property values have risen over the national average for several years, but apartments under R1m can still be found. And on the Western Seaboard, in the southern and the northern suburbs, freehold properties are available for under R2m.”

He adds that New World Wealth’s 2023 Africa Wealth Report published by Henley & Partners shows that South Africa’s five most expensive suburbs are in Cape Town.

  • Clifton at an average property price of R88 000m²
  • Bantry Bay at R82 000m²
  • Fresnaye at R60 000m²
  • Camps Bay/Bakoven at R54 000m²
  • Llandudno at R52 000m².

Meanwhile, the RE/MAX National Housing Report for the first three months of 2023 reveals that the Western Cape was the most search-for province in which to buy property on the agency’s website.

The top five most searched areas in the country were:

  • Claremont
  • Parklands
  • Rondebosch
  • Sea Point
  • Sunningdale

The BetterBond Property Brief states that the national average price of a home for first-time buyers, based on the Group’s home loan applications for the 12 months ending March 2023, is R1.2 million. And although Chief executive Carl Coetzee says first-time buyers in the Western Cape pay more for their homes than buyers elsewhere in the country, in terms of price difference between these and other buyers, they are getting more bang for their buck.

BetterBond data for March 2023 puts the average first-time home purchase price in the Western Cape at R1.5 million.

When it comes to changes in average home prices, the report – which contains analysis from property economist Roelof Botha – states that, in nominal terms, all BetterBond regions across South Africa recorded positive growth in for the 12 months ending March 2023.

“When adjusting for inflation, however, only the Western Cape figures remain positive.

“During the preceding 12 months (ending March 2022), greater Pretoria significantly outperformed the rest of the country, with an increase of 13% in average home prices, followed by the Eastern Cape (8%) and Mpumalanga (7%).”

Viewed from the perspective of first-time home buyers, the report says the areas of South Africa where average home prices have increased the most remained similar for the two years ending March 2023.

In 2022/23 the Western Cape was the top-performing region and in 2021/22 greater Pretoria was number one.