Property Flash


by Ashleigh Müller

We have all noticed the semigration trend that is increasing within South Africa, due to lockdowns, new work-from-home models, and other factors such as the looting in KZN. More specifically, South Africans are looking to move their humble abodes to the Garden Route coast line. Stock is limited and demand is high. Lifestyle estates along the coast have minimal rental units available and are selling plots as well as homes, at record high levels. 

Those looking for greener, and ocean side pastures are wanting to make a lifestyle change. Demand for offices in suburbs, closer to home, is on the rise and CBDs nationwide are struggling to convert and re-invent their oversupply of office space.

What we are noticing in the commercial property sector is a movement of corporate semigration. Companies in South Africa are semigrating too. 

Office relocations to Cape Town are on the rise

We are hearing of more and more head offices which are planning to change their locations to entirely new provinces. When renewals come up, it is clear that many corporates are making plans to move their head office to the Western Cape. Therefore, if a corporate office lease is ending in Johannesburg, the company will look to relocate the entire office and its staff to Cape Town rather than within the Johannesburg area. 

Every province has its challenges; whether it is water supply, Eskom’s load shedding, looting, riots or packed ports and flooding in Durban. Cape Town seems to be the number one spot for corporates to redirect their office needs. Out of all of SA’s nine provinces, Cape Town looks open for business and municipal systems operate better. 

BPO sector

South Africa was awarded the number 1 destination for any BPO business in South Africa for 2021. BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) is the sector that telecommunications companies, and more simply put, call centres fall under. South Africa offers BPO businesses multiple incentives and rebates to set up shop here. It is extremely attractive for foreign investors and, due to their talent pool requirements, the sector provides much-needed employment opportunities and skills development for our youth. 

BPO companies like South Africa for a few reasons. Our location means that we have similar time zones to Europe, the South African accent is well-received on the phone when dealing with international customers and we are well-priced. The sector is growing at a mile a minute and at Ask Ash, we receive contact centre enquiries almost weekly. Those looking to open up call centres in South Africa put Cape Town at the top of their list and the Cape BPO association is a huge help in helping these companies set up and operate in order to enjoy the full benefits on offer. We recently placed international BPO company CCI, into their new Cape Town office. We secured just over 2000m2 of office space in the Southern Suburbs where their generator, fibre line, transport and other operational requirements could be met. International clients love Cape Town and we see only growth for this exciting industry. 

Entrepreneurs, Tech enterprises and Start-ups are also on route to the Mother City

In 2021, Cape Town outperformed all provinces when it comes to commercial property activity. It has become the most in-demand region particularly when it comes to office space. At Ask Ash, what we are seeing is that when the time is right for a renewal or new office, companies look to Cape Town. 

In recent years, the city has been viewed as the technology capital of South Africa, and multiple venture capital and tech companies are making their home here. It is already the home of Naspers, Takealot, GetSmarter, Aerobotics and soon, Amazon. We have close to 500 tech firms in Cape Town and surrounds and the sector is growing rapidly. Investors have a huge appetite for what our start-ups and engineers are producing. Our engineers are incredibly talented and well-priced. A smart office pairs well with those tech-companies wanting to sell a specific lifestyle to that of their employees and potential investors. A few years ago, I placed the funky USA founded, app OVER into 1000m2 of office space within the East City area. They grew into a further 1000m2 and eventually got bought by GoDaddy for what you can imagine to be, telephone numbers.

Your business HQ is now a lifestyle choice

One of our clients currently employs two full-time, South African architects. These architects work exclusively for an architectural firm in the USA. What we are seeing, is that South Africans are talented and skilled. They are also well-priced on an international scale and due to hybrid models of working, skilled South Africans now have the opportunity to secure international work opportunities and virtual work while still enjoying the benefits that this beautiful country has to offer.

The need for a safer, better lifestyle is what drives companies to relocate their company and semigrate to Cape Town and surrounds. We can only predict further increases in demand for housing, work space, lifestyle amenities and more.

This article was first published by . Ashleigh Müller is principal broker and director at Ask Ash and is based in Cape Town.

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