If you ask any South African which city has the highest cost of living, the answer will be Cape Town. There’s a certain charm to this wind-blown, icy-watered, almost European gem of a city that keeps attracting the best of the best.
But if you’re thinking of moving here, before you deep dive into the numbers, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why the cost of living in Cape Town is so much higher than the rest of South Africa. There has to be a reason why anyone would live there, right? Luckily, there are many!
According to community surveys conducted by the city , more than 4.618 million people already call the Mother City home. There are 138 suburbs to choose from in the metropolitan area, which extends from the Cape Point Nature Reserve all the way up the west coast to Atlantis and along the False Bay coast to Gordon’s Bay.
While many locals would not have expected the city limits to extend this far, the bonus is that with all this room you’ll be able to find the perfect suburb for you. And, in the past, most people would have wanted to stay close to the city centre, but with Fibre roll out and remote positions, these outlying areas are booming.
Cape Town is also well known for being one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Residents and visitors are treated to a daily show of one of the world’s most iconic coastlines and mountain ranges.
Also, lifestyle-wise, living in the City Bowl is an entirely different experience compared to the rest of the country. No other central business district (CBD) in South Africa can offer the exceptional lifestyle of Cape Town. The city’s public transport system works, and ordering an Uber is safe and fast. There are also loads of restaurants, bistros, coffee shops, and pubs to choose from.
And, is important to mention, due to power infrastructure in the city, Cape Town’s municipality is always one load-shedding stage lower than the rest of the country. And the city is aggressively exploring new power solutions. So you can enjoy more of what the city has to offer, for longer!
Another reason many people choose to move to Cape Town is economic and job security. According to recent information compiled by Municipalities of South Africa , there were 33,204 people working for the city, with 4,375 vacancies.
In addition, with the arrival of Amazon’s Headquarters along the Liesbeek Parkway River, even more jobs are about to be created.
Finally, while real estate in the city is expensive, Cape Town's housing problem is rooted in the Apartheid regime’s spatial planning. And while the city has been accused of failing to provide affordable housing, there are now several projects on the go. And, there is space for new residential developments and loads of them going up all over.
So with employment opportunities a-plenty, as well as a complete lifestyle change from the rest of the country, Cape Town is an amazing place to call home.
But what’s the average salary for those who live in Mother City? The cost of living is higher, so the salaries should hopefully be too? Keep reading to find out…
According to Stats SA’s last quarterly employment survey (QES) the average salary in South Africa is R24,813 a month. However, additional data from BankservAfrica finds that the average take-home is actually around R15,489. While this isn’t a huge amount, according to Talent.com, Cape Town’s average salary is higher than the rest of South Africa.
An entry-level position in Cape Town will fetch around R31,000 per month while a senior role could secure you more than R420,000 per month. It’s important to note that this does not reflect employment and unemployment trends.
According to Numbeo’s Cost of Living in Cape Town report, on average, rent in the Mother City is 50.2% higher than in Johannesburg.
So while you might be earning more, you’re also spending more. Oh, how life has a way of balancing things out.
But who are the biggest employers in the city and what are the most popular roles for those moving to Cape Town?
The Mother City’s largest employers include the South African Government, Woolworths, Shoprite, New Clicks Holdings Limited, Foschini Group, Pick n Pay, Mediclinic International, Sanlam, and Naspers to name a few.
What’s more, tourism is a major sector of the Western Cape economy. Around 9.8% of the province’s gross domestic product (GDP) is created by tourism, and the industry employs 9.6% of the Western Cape’s workforce.
According to Payscale, the most popular jobs listed on their website are as follows:
All these averages will fluctuate depending on experience.
While the job market seems healthy in Cape Town, what’s the difference in the cost of living when compared to Johannesburg?
Most South Africans wouldn’t hesitate to say that living in Cape Town is more expensive than in other areas. This is due to the rental and property market in Cape Town being a hot commodity.
As mentioned, rental prices in Cape Town are around 50.2% higher than in Johannesburg. Also, when comparing the two cities, Capetonians have a lower purchasing power than Joburgers.
What is surprising is that consumables in Cape Town are generally lower than in JHB, which could be attributed to local produce being grown closer to the CBD.
Also, when comparing the two cities, transportation costs are higher in Johannesburg. But again, Cape Town is far smaller than the sprawling beating heart of the country, and petrol prices are lower at the coast too.
Another factor that could distort the comparison is the inclusion of apartments in central Johannesburg and Cape Town. The CBD in Johannesburg has been neglected for decades, so much so that investors built a new financial centre, Sandton. It’s a vastly different experience driving into CT CBD than driving into (or racing out of) the JHB CBD!
When comparing Cape Town to Sandton, the income potential is vastly different, with the latter promising on average a higher income (after tax) than you'd find in most Cape Town suburbs. However, not everyone works in Sandton and this cut in income is widely acknowledged by the average South African as lifestyle tax of moving to the Mother City.
So, can you afford to move to Cape Town on an average income?
With such a low average income potential in the city, it’s no surprise most new residents of Cape Town will opt to rent.
According to Numbeo, the price per square meter when buying in the city centre is R36,011. The same source reports that 70.44% of the average person’s income after tax will be needed to pay off a mortgage. The rental cost of a one-bedroom flat is estimated at an average of R11,835 per month, so it’s easy to see why many decide to rent in the CBD.
But if the averages are in your favour, you might want to move into one of the many fantastic outer suburbs of Cape Town.
There are so many family-orientated, easy-to-access, and lifestyle-rich suburbs to choose from you’ll be calling the top Cape Town real estate agents first thing in the morning!
For those who are ready to move to Cape Town, who do you get to move your possessions? Luckily, the cost of moving will be one of the most affordable factors!
With the cost of living as high as it is nowadays, you want to ensure you get the best price possible.
Wise Move will give all the best moving quotes for your possessions and send them to you for review.
And if there are any questions, we’re ready to assist you today. Chat with our live support team for the fastest moving quotes in South Africa!
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