Packing for Paarl
Semi-gration has been a word "bandied about" in recent times to refer to people re- locating to a different part of the country as opposed to emigration which refers to those people leaving the country with the intention not to return. While the phrase may be relatively new, the process of "semi-gration" is a very old one and has been taking place for thousands of years, largely driven by the location of economic opportunities during normal peaceful times.

We use deeds data over the decade 2000-2009 to attempt to gain an estimate of the extent and direction of semi-gration over the period. One shortcoming of this analysis is that it cannot determine how the country’s first time buyers have migrated over the decade, and the first time buyer group is admittedly significant. The focus is therefore on repeat buyers during the decade.

By repeat buyers we mean individual buyers (therefore excluding properties bought by trusts, CCs and limited companies) who have recorded sales of property at the Deeds. The recorded sales may be after the actual purchase, because we assume that many do only sell some time after re-locating. Another admitted limitation is that some holiday property buying may be included in the figures.

Nevertheless, we believe that the estimates reflect the broad pattern of buyer movement. An individual is believed to come from the province in which his sale of property is recorded, and is moving to the province where his purchase is recorded (with the majority of repeat purchases obviously being within the same province).

What emerges from the study is that the Western Cape comes out with the best estimated net inward migration rate of +3.2 percent of the province’s total estimated repeat buying. In other words, it has more repeat buyers entering than leaving. This, however, is not solely due to the number of migrants that the province attracts, but equally due to it having the lowest rate of outward migration by repeat buyers.

We believe that this success of the Western Cape is not only due to its much- vaunted lifestyle, with many other more rural regions also providing great lifestyle attractions. Rather, it is the province’s balance between lifestyle, as well as possessing the second largest metro economy (City of Cape Town) in the country, and on top of this the economy estimated to be the fastest growing one in SA.

One surprise emanating from the study, perhaps, is that Gauteng is a more popular semi-gration destination for Western Cape outward bound repeat buyers, relative to the province’s size, than the Western Cape is for Gauteng outbound buyers relative to Gauteng’s much larger size. This emphasizes the view that the overwhelming majority of migrants move for economic opportunity, with lifestyle factors of secondary importance.

W Cape to maintain growth rate

However, the Western Cape’s outbound repeat buyers appear overwhelmingly headed for Gauteng, with very small percentages going anywhere else. Gauteng’s outbound buyers, by comparison, are far more evenly distributed across the country. The result is that Gauteng has an estimated net outward migration rate (KZN being another very popular Gauteng destination).

These estimates bode well for the Western Cape’s future ability to maintain a superior economic growth rate to the other provinces, because while skilled labour migration is driven overwhelmingly by economic opportunities, the converse is also true. In other words, inward skilled labour migration helps to drive economic growth and thus increase a region’s economic opportunities.

Article by: FNB Property Barometer