Even before Covid-19 struck, the movement towards working from home had been slowly gaining momentum globally, as many corporates looked towards ways to alleviate transportation challenges for their employees, especially long hours spent in traffic, and increase quality time with their families.
What the pandemic has done, however, is fast-forward this movement significantly along its timeline, with scores more desk-bound office workers and the companies they work for realising that, thanks to advancements in technology in recent years, work-from-home scenarios can now be the norm rather than the exception.
The result in the residential market, says Carl Coetzee, CEO of bond originator BetterBond, is that: “Many people are now looking towards semigration to take them away from their traditional offices in big cities and into permanently remote working scenarios, and they’re doing this not only to change their work habits but to take them to better lifestyles in smaller towns, especially along South Africa’s coastal regions.”
There are numerous factors that add to the attractiveness and very real possibility of this now for homeowners, notes Coetzee. His company is witnessing first-hand the obvious surge in the buyers’ market that has taken place since July 2020 with a substantial increase in prospective homeowners applying through bond originators to secure the best bond rates.
Coetzee notes that in regards to ‘resort’ destinations such as coastal towns, the holiday home market hit a decline earlier last year, with many homes coming onto the market as Covid-19 took its course. The semigration movement is also seeing a reinvigoration of many coastal towns themselves, inhabited largely in the past by retirees, and which are now experiencing an influx of younger families who in the past were tied logistically to lives in big cities.
Remarking on feedback that BetterBond receives from estate agents working across the country, Coetzee cites the northern KZN and the Southern Cape coast as the coastal areas garnering the most attention overall. For instance, RE/MAX Lagoon Estates makes the point that, “There has been a boom in property sales along the coast.” The agency reported a record-breaking sales month for October 2020, accumulating their highest sales figures in their 15-year history of selling properties within Langebaan on the Cape West Coast and the surrounding area.