A closer look at why more families are moving from Gauteng to the Western Cape than ever before

Semigration (or semi-emigration) – defined as the act of moving to another location, usually to another city or province within your home country – is by no means unique to South Africa, but it has become a prevalent trend since the Covid-19 pandemic, with many people’s ability to work from anywhere.

Current research has also revealed that greater flexibility in the workplace leads to improved productivity. According to Andrea Tucker, director at MortgageMe, in an article on Business Tech, “Whether one is looking for less rush, a great education at a fraction of the price of large city schools, or a picturesque view in the morning instead of a hectic commute – these come at less of a compromise now that it’s entirely possible to work in one part of South Africa while living in another.”

As a result of this, “the reduction in commuting demands on parents for professional reasons has meant less stress and separation in families,” says Graham Sayer, Executive Head at Somerset College.

Prior to taking the plunge, it is important to list the pros and cons involved in the big decision to relocate.

Those who consider semigration have a definite tick-off list. Three of the most important factors are: excellent school opportunities, the ability to remote work, and a different way of life where there is less of a rat race and more slowing down. In essence the decision to semigrate is a lifestyle choice.

“Before Covid the trend was less obvious, but approximately 30% of our admissions are from families wanting to relocate to the area from Gauteng and because we have boarding facilities some send their children ahead. This number has steadily increased since the beginning of the year,” says Graham Sayer.

The allure of the Cape has for many years been the reason many people commute each week but now that those same people can work from home there is an ever greater pull out of the big cities.

Somerset West and environs are becoming an increasingly popular choice due to proximity to Cape Town International Airport for those who commute, the availability of housing in secure estate developments, good schooling, spacious homes with dedicated workspaces, the beach a few minutes’ drive away and mountain views to top it all.

“In addition the Western Cape is perceived to have good infrastructure, better quality of life and less crime,” concludes Graham Sayer.

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