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'Semigration' the new emigration for some in SA

Jul 11 2016 21:00
Carin Smith

Cape Town - The impact of the economic slowdown doesn’t appear to have affected the level of selling in order to relocate to other parts of South Africa just yet, according to John Loos, household and property sector strategist at FNB.  

"This begs the question as to whether 'semigration' has become the affordable alternative to emigration for some people," he said in comments on the latest FNB Estate Agent Home Selling Survey.

At 9% of total selling in the second quarter of 2016 survey, this estimate is slightly down from the prior quarter’s 10% estimate, but remains significantly higher than the 6% lows of the 2008/2009 recession period.

"We would have expected this percentage estimate to perhaps be noticeably lower by now, given that economic growth has for all intents and purposes reached zero," explained Loos.

"A lack of economic growth should imply a lack of new opportunities for skilled labour to move to, and this normally implies reduced mobility of labour and a lower rate of relocation to other parts of the country. Against this dismal economic backdrop, a 9% estimate for geographical relocation-related selling still appears quite strong."

However, a significant portion of this relocation is about a search for a better lifestyle, as well as people retiring to other regions and not solely about chasing after employment opportunities, he pointed out.

These alternative motives could in part explain the still-significant “semigration” rate. Cape Town’s relative attractiveness appears to be reflected in a very low rate of selling in order to relocate away from that city, for instance.

When it comes to emigration-related selling on a regional basis, the survey does not point to any major difference between the major city regions, with the estimates for the first two quarters of 2016 varying between 4% and 5%.

However, when examining the percentage of sellers selling in order to relocate to another region, Cape Town appears to be the clear winner. Its estimate of only 5% of sellers selling in order to relocate is far lower than the next lowest estimate, which is that of Johannesburg with 10%.


fnb  |  john loos  |  property  |  sa economy
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