Semigration is growing – here’s what you need to know



pexels-clay-elliot-578510029 August 2023

Semigration – or the act of moving to a different province within the same country – has always been relatively common in South Africa. The appeal of different education, employment, and/or lifestyle opportunities has driven a near constant flow of cross-country migration. 

Now, as South Africa faces increasing threat of socio-economic collapse, vast numbers of citizens are joining the semigration trend. Either unwilling or unable to depart the country entirely, these semigrants appear to be hedging their bets by seeking refuge in the country’s best-run municipalities.

“The Western Cape is still the top choice for semigrants,” says David Jacobs, Regional Sales3-May-25-2023-01-00-42-2617-PM Manager for the Rawson Property Group. “Its biggest attractions are better service delivery, better maintained infrastructure, and unemployment rates more than 10% lower than the national average.”

The province does, however, have higher rental and house price inflation than the national average – particularly in its main metro, Cape Town. 

This, Jacobs says, can make it a costly exercise for people semigrating from other provinces to buy or rent a Western Cape property equivalent to their previous homes. Those willing to live slightly outside the urban centres, however, may find prices more inline with their hometowns.

“Larger coastal towns like Mossel Bay are proving very popular with semigrants,” says Jacobs. “Property prices there are still relatively affordable, but rising demand paired with ongoing growth and urbanisation will see these increase over time.”

Other slightly smaller towns seeing a lot of semigration action include Hermanus and West Coast favourites like Langebaan, Paternoster and St Helena Bay.

It’s not just the Western Cape’s coastline that has captured semigrants’ attention, however. Jacobs says both the Eastern Cape and KZN are giving the country’s so-called “golden child” a run for its semigrant money.

“The Eastern Cape offers many of the same outdoorsy lifestyle features as the Western Cape, but has a more temperate climate and a more affordable price point, on average,” says Jacobs. “There is arguably less opportunity in terms of employment, but with remote work as prevalent as it is, that isn’t a dealbreaker for everyone.”

Similar to the Western Cape’s trend, smaller towns in the Eastern Cape are proving particularly popular with semigrants. Port Alfred is a firm, mid-sized favourite, as is its smaller coastal neighbour, Kleinemonde, and the inland agricultural town of Bathurst.

“KZN’s semigration trends are a little bit different,” says Jacobs. “The North Coast, around Ballito, is popular with affluent semigrants from Gauteng, while the Mid-South Coast, around Port Shepstone, is gaining traction in the more cost-conscious market. In terms of lifestyle and opportunities, estate living is very popular in these areas, offering residents private security and good service delivery.”

With so many options on the table, it can be a challenge for semigrants to pick their preferred destination. Jacobs says much depends on budget, lifestyle preferences and conditions of employment. No matter the destination, however, Jacobs strongly recommends preparing for the move well in advance – particularly if you plan on selling an existing property.

“We’re seeing a lot of property sales to semigrating buyers put on pause – or even fall through – because of delays in selling their previous homes,” he says. “The fact is, properties in semigration hotspots are moving much more quickly than those in other areas. It’s far wiser to sell first and shop around afterwards with the ability to put a condition-free offer down as soon as you find the right home.”

To make the process easier, Jacobs highly recommends working with real estate brand that has a national footprint, or at least a local presence in both your hometown and chosen destination.

“At Rawson, for example, we have agents across the country, linked through our collaborative Rawson network,” he says. “That means we can handle both ends of your property transaction – the sale and the purchase – to help optimise the process from start to finish and make your move as smooth and predictable as possible.”

For more information on finding a new home in a semigration hotspot, or to connect with a real estate agent in your chosen destination, contact 021 658 7100 or visit for the latest market tips and industry news.

David Jacobs

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