The Impact of Semigration on the corporate office

Semigration has become a buzz word in recent years as skilled professionals and business owners continue to migrate from Gauteng and other inland cities to the coastal regions of South Africa. 

What began as an interesting trend or lifestyle experiment has ramped up significantly during the pandemic to become one of the biggest real estate trends in the country.

Like all major developments in the real estate sector, the impact of semigration is having a significant effect on the sale and rental of commercial properties in Cape Town. As businesses return to the office in 2021/22, its effects are set to be felt even more strongly.

This article looks at some of the push and pull factors behind the trend for coastal living and highlights some of its impact on commercial property in Cape Town. 

Seeking refuge at the coast

Anyone who lives in Cape Town will be more than happy to explain just why the Mother City is the best place to call home – and there are several objective reasons why business owners should consider relocating there. 

  • The Western Cape is famous for its laid-back, elegant way of living with designer homes, high-end retail, and access to the Cape Winelands as well as a variety of sports and nautical activities within easy reach of the CBD.
  • From a business perspective, Cape Town has become one of South Africa’s shining stars in recent years. The city has gained a reputation for business excellence and has experienced tremendous economic growth and investment over the past two decades. 

As a result, the Mother City is now challenging Johannesburg for the title of South Africa’s top commercial city with stable growth during the pandemic. The newly launched Cape Town stock exchange, focused on the tech sector, also demonstrates investors’ confidence in the city’s future.

According to Rob Kane, “The Cape Town CBD once again proved its resilience in a very tough year… and property development interest in the city centre remains steady”.

With more than 31 new developments in the pipeline, recently completed, underway or proposed, and many of these repurposing existing commercial buildings into mixed-use office and residential developments, there is clear indication of “flexibility in the sector,” said Kane.

An ideal location for the work-from-anywhere future 

The rise of remote working is another factor contributing to Cape Town’s success in the pandemic era, with professionals and business owners no longer constrained by the need to be physically present in the cities they do business in. 

Online businesses are especially suitable candidates for relocation to Cape Town thanks to the city’s educated workforce and pro- business policies.

Migration to coastal countryside regions is by no means an exclusively South African phenomenon. In fact, a recent USPS survey carried out in the United States identified several key factors driving the decision to leave large cities and relocate. These include:

  • Fear of contracting COVID-19
  • The desire to live closer to family members
  • Students relocating because of the colleges closed during the pandemic
  • Changes in financial situation due to the pandemic

Some of these factors may wane in importance as the pandemic calms down. But, with an increased awareness of the importance of good health and the value of personal relationships and work life balance, South Africans with the means to relocate will find it easy to choose the Mother City as their new home.

With the pandemic accelerating the existing trend for semigration, the commercial property sector in Cape Town may be in for a windfall in the coming years. New business owners arriving in the city will find themselves wanting to return to the office as the pandemic eases in the years to come, and they’ll have a great variety of office space to choose from. 

As demand for Cape Town commercial property increases as predicted, that can only be good news for building owners and their prospective tenants who are in search of modern, wellness-focused real estate that’s well-suited for the post pandemic work situation. 

Cape Town commercial property: always a good investment

Whether you’re a prospective buyer or tenant, now could be the ideal time to secure an excellent deal on a commercial property in Cape Town. Contact our team of area specialists today to discuss your specific requirements and view our portfolio of premium business premises.