Your semigration checklist

Private Property South Africa
Cath Jenkin

What is semigration?

Definitively speaking, semigration is the type of move your family might make to a different province within your country. Alternatively, you may be considering moving to a different region within your province, and that counts as semigration too. It’s a relatively popular trend in South Africa, as families pursue a better quality of life, for various reasons.

Why do people semigrate?

Semigration in South Africa has, over the past few decades, become a noticeable trend. In particular, families and individuals were making their big move, just not overseas. Instead, people residing in Gauteng were looking to relocate to the Western Cape, although interest in that move stalled when the Western Cape water crisis hit. Now that the effects of the drought have waned, semigration to the Western Cape seems to be on the rise again. Similarly, in KwaZulu-Natal, more and more families are opting to move away from the Durban CBD and surrounding areas. And that’s part of the reason why KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast is attracting so much attention at the moment. With developments popping up everywhere you look, and the associated amenities expanding, the North Coast is booming.

Quality of life

But the keen interest in semigration has led to a strange turn of events: property prices are changing across the country. In particular, property prices in Gauteng appear to have taken a tumble, while property prices in the Western Cape have swung upwards. This is great news for those of us who aren’t keen to move regions, but are merely looking for a bigger house to cater for an expanding family, in the Gauteng region. But, in the rush to pursue a better quality of life, some people might not consider all the ramifications attached to their proposed semigration. Let’s take a look at what you should look at, if you’re considering semigration:

Short or long-term?

A short-term semigration may be just the solution for your family, if there are significant variables to be catered for. Perhaps your child has been selected to attend a prestigious school, and it makes sense for your whole family to move closer to it, to ensure good attendance, and excellent family support. Alternatively, you may be looking to move away from your hometown for a few years, to take up a lucrative business opportunity. That may make sense if it enables you to retire comfortably, but it won’t make sense if it means uprooting your child at the beginning of their school career, only to return home in two years’ time. Consider your reasons for semigration, and just how long you intend to be ‘away’. While that call for your hometown may never come, are you entirely sure you’d like to give it up?

Your career

Semigratory moves are often spurred on by business or career opportunities. As the Western Cape has flourished into a somewhat technology-focused city for business, new opportunities have attracted high-flying career minds to the province. Of course, the ability to grow and expand your career is directly linked to your ability to support and provide for your family. In essence, turning down a big move across the country could have a negative effect on your career and bank balance. But, if you’re ready to make the leap, it may just pay off in dividends.

Your children’s education

When considering semigration, you’ll have to consider a school change for your children. Before you buy a property in your ‘new’ hometown, or sign a lease, find out what schools are within reach of your new proposed home, and whether or not your children can attend them. There may be an increase in school fees you need to cater for. For example, in the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, there appear to be fewer public schools than there are private schooling facilities.

Your lifestyle

If your lifestyle is very ‘pack up and go’ then semigration may not feel like quite the wrench many would expect it to be. But, if you’re well-settled into your community, live close to family and good friends, and are enjoying your hometown’s lifestyle, semigration may hurt more than you expect. If possible, when considering semigration, try and find a region that mirrors your current lifestyle, and perhaps join online community groups to get a true feel for your new neighbourhood.

Rent, buy, or build?

If your semigration is set to be a five-year plan, it may not make sense to buy a property. Instead, it could make better financial sense to simply rent out your home while you rent a new home in another province. If your semigration is something more permanent, it would make better sense to buy or build your next home.

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