Coastal semigration attracts work-from-home buyers

Coastal semigration attracts work-from-home buyers

Even before Covid-19, 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 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. BetterBond is witnessing first-hand the obvious surge in the buyers' market that has taken place of late, with a substantial increase in prospective homeowners applying through bond originators to secure the best bond rates.

First of all, the necessity of social distancing because of Covid-19 enabled the realisation that it is very possible for many people to work from home. That has no doubt been the trigger. But secondly, we saw experienced a 50-year, record-low interest rates, which made home loans more accessible to a wider range of buyers.

Thirdly, and of particular significance in regard to 'resort' destinations such as coastal towns, is that the holiday home market declined, with many homes going on the market as Covid-19 took its course.

This provided enormous opportunity for those looking to buy these properties as full-time, live-in homes, and work long-distance in environments very different from those of big cities like Johannesburg.

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.

Had Covid-19 happened just a few short years ago, this acceleration to remote working would not have been possible. But technical advancements in internet connectivity now enable a cyber office environment that will see increasing numbers of people able to choose exactly where they want to live.

We are on an interesting trajectory in the property market, and one that may be a huge stimulus not just for coastal towns but for small towns across South Africa.

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