Smaller South African towns, known as second tier cities, have seen exponential growth over the past 3-5 years. Many have realised that not only is it possible to work remotely in outlying nodes in so many industries, but that these smaller cities also offer other phenomenal opportunities. Most notably, these include more affordable living, and better quality working environments, away from major urban hubs and the challenges that those metros may bring. This the view of Warren Aronson, Business Development Executive from Aucor Property.
Aronson explains, “Semigration is without a doubt the buzz word for many, as people flock to hotspots on the coast and in the Lowveld, including Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Hermanus, Umhlanga, and Ballito, to name but a few. However, these are not the only areas that have seen an influx of new families and several locations across Limpopo, Mpumalanga and even the eastern Cape have gained in popularity, with these metros known as second tier cities.”
“Property prices across all sectors in these hubs are more affordable and the quality of life is a major draw card for many. Business opportunities are on the rise, and in turn, the growth of commercial and industrial property sectors has surged. Infrastructure, whilst not as sophisticated in these towns compared to major urban centres, is adequate. There is pressure on local governments to upgrade in keeping up with the pace of developments, as well as to drive continued investment into these smaller towns.”
“Limpopo, with its diverse economy, including mining, agriculture and tourism, has become an attractive investment hub and there has been a marked increase in the development of shopping centres, industrial sites and office parks. This in turn has created job opportunities and helped to boost the economy in the region.”
“Local government is committed to supporting this process and has devised and implemented a strategy around Special Economic Zones (SEZ’s). SEZ’s seek to promote the beneficiation of minerals, stimulate green energy growth, encourage logistics companies to establish their businesses in the area, and uplift local communities through training and job creation. Ultimately it becomes a win-win situation all round.”
“Similarly, Mpumalanga cities have seen a flourish of growth and development with the province operating as a major route between Johannesburg and Maputo. Mpumalanga is also rich in minerals and agriculture and offers a plethora of tourism opportunities to local and foreigners alike. Similar programmes and strategies have been implemented including Special Economic Zones and the Mpumalanga International Fresh Produce Market.”
“Property prices, land and rentals in these nodes are more affordable than those in major metropoles, and business confidence is positive when engaging with locals in many of the towns. Several blue chips are well entrenched in these areas and have invested further in custom-built and owned sites. This has freed up quality properties which are prime for smaller operations to step into and start operations without much needing to be done,” concludes Aronson.