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Moving for Work? Check the Fibre Coverage in Your Area

Andrew Macfarlane
Moving for Work? Check the Fibre Coverage in Your Area

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Fibre connectivity is in demand across Mzansi. South Africa has seen an uptake of around 4,200% increase for fibre connections, or fibre boom, over the last seven years.

With such a massive boom in fibre connectivity, smaller towns can now connect to the world.

According to the South African Government, there are 278 municipalities comprising eight metropolitans, 44 districts and a colossal 226 local municipalities.

While there are no official numbers of how many towns have fibre, staying informed about the fibre coverage near you is important if you’re considering moving for work. And, if you're planning a move for work, make sure you choose the top areas for fibre coverage — so that your temporary remote situation will become a permanent living situation.

The Fibre Boom - Introducing South African Zoom Towns

With so many outlying towns around the country, many South Africans working remotely will be eyeing the possibility of moving out of the eight metropolitan areas around -and into a “Zoom Town” or small towns, experiencing a fibre boom.

But is a Zoom Town/fibre boom currently developing in South Africa? Do small-town housing prices rise when fibre is installed?

Before we venture any further, let’s define what a Zoom Town is.

What is a Zoom Town?

The collective definition for a Zoom Town is a community that experienced a significant population increase due to remote workers taking advantage of being able to work from home - anywhere.

The Americans coined the term in 2020, a reference to the original “boomtown”. In a boomtown, the population and economic growth exploded due to the discovery of resources like gold, silver or oil. AKA, Johannesburg.

But is fibre a real driving force for homebuyers?

Let’s investigate international statistics.

International Statistics Related to Fibre Boost

According to a Fibre To The Home Council Americas (FTTH) study, homes are easier to sell and rent when connected to a fibre connection. Consulting firms in this study said buyers would be willing to pay a 2% premium for homes and flats connected to fibre.

Renters were willing to pay 15% more on average for homes with fibre. Across the pond from the USA, residents of the UK are also invested in property with a fibre connection.

According to a survey conducted in the UK, house hunters were willing to pay £23,000 (R482,961,59) more for a house with a connection speed of 100 Mbps. Also, in this same survey, 70% of house hunters checked the broadband speed before moving to the area.

While the statistics show that internationally, there’s a genuine desire to move into a home that has access to high-speed internet, does this equal a higher asking price for properties in outlying areas around South Africa?

Is the South African Market Experiencing the Same Fibre Trends?

South Africa Fibre Trends

According to the FTTH Council Africa or the Digital Council Africa, stated back in 2021 that installing fibre can boost your property value by as much as R50,000.

With South Africa’s metropolitan hubs seeing huge inflation jumps in their low-value market, it makes sense that many will be looking elsewhere, with remote opportunities for employment becoming more viable.

Property analytics group Lightstone confirmed that low-value properties (valued at less than R250,000) domestically are seeing price hikes higher than other segments, with the national year-on-year house price inflation at 2.74% for 2022.

In the low market segment, the average was an increase of 11.8% in 2021. In the metro centres of the country, inflation all experienced price hikes:

    • Nelson Mandela Bay: +8.8%
    • Bloemfontein: +5.83%
    • Ekurhuleni: +4.6%
    • Uptingtion: +7.02%
    • City of Cape Town: +3.4%
    • Ethekwini: +3.4%
    • City Tshwane: +3.3%
    • City of Johannesburg: +1.2%

Coupled with the increases in the cost of living expenses and more, many are eyeing the possibility of moving out of the metro hubs.

What are the best towns in South Africa to work remotely from now?

Best Towns In South Africa To Work Remotely From?

Cape Town often ranks highly as the best remote destination to work from globally. Whether you look at Way To Nomad’s ranking of 42nd in the world or 5th on the Thrillist list, Cape Town is highly ranked.

But what are other smaller towns around South Africa we’d suggest moving to due to their Fibre boom?

Eastern Cape

With its rolling hills and vast stretches of beaches, the Eastern Cape is dotted with many small towns.

One such holiday destination is St Francis Bay. Known for its majestic canal network, watersports, and generally chilled vibe, it’s also just an hour outside of Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth).

The village has several unique fibre packages for its residents ranging from 20 Mbps to 1000 Mbps.

According to Property 24 ’s real estate trends, the average selling price of homes in St Francis Bay for 2022 was R849,500. Most of these sellers are above the age of 65 or older, with most buyers between the ages of 36 and 64.

Free State

Free State Fibre

Nicked named the “Jewel of the Eastern Free State”, Clarens is a town situated in the Maluti Mountains.

Nowadays, the town is better known as an artist's haven. And with the town being close to the Lesotho Highlands Water Project outlet, the town is blessed with scenic rivers and damns.

Also, in 2009, fossils were found surrounding the town, which dates back 200 million years.

Town residents currently cannot sign up for a fibre connection. But, with the fibre rollout being so aggressive, prices in Clarens will skyrocket as soon as it is connected.

According to Property 24, the average selling price in 2022 was R1,115,000. This average has been steadily rising since 2017, with a bit of a dip last year.

Gauteng

Gauteng Fibre

The beating heart of the nation, Gauteng. As the country's smallest and most populated province, escaping the hustle and bustle of the city can be difficult. Except every Joburger knows where they’re going - Magaliesburg.

As a small town with over 100 accommodation venues, it is prepared for the influx of weekenders from Egoli.

The town is 36 minutes away from Krugersdorp, and it is an easy drive. Currently, there is no fibre in the area, but it won’t be long before it reaches Magaliesburg.

According to Property 24 ’s trends, the average sell price for a home in the area is R500,000, and many are moving to the area and establishing their own homestead.

Also, housing stock in the area is limited, so if you’re keen to buy a property in the town, make sure to turn on all your alerts.

KwaZulu-Natal

Fibre in KZN

The subtropical province of KwaZulu-Natal is blessed with its majestic mountains and warm ocean. It’s also home to many small towns tucked away amongst the lush terrain.

Howick is one such hidden gem. Known for its pristine natural beauty, antique stores, and iconic events (Midmar Mile), it is a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle. Also, it is a historical town where Nelson Mandela was arrested.

According to Speedtest, Howick has a median download speed of 21.00 Mbps, an upload speed of 20.72 Mbps, and a latency of 21 ms, and fibre is available in the town.

The property prices in the area have remained steady over the last few years, with Property 24 stating that the median price in the area is around R1,267,500.

Limpopo

Fibre Ready areas in Limpopo

South Africa’s most Northernmost province, Limpopo, is home to many small towns. One of the better-known towns, thanks to the LekkerSlaap advert, is Bela-Bela (Warmbaths).

Bela-Bela is Tswana/Pedi for “the pot that boils”. The town’s hot springs still attract all the local tourists from across the country.

Also, being only an hour outside of Pretoria, it is the perfect place to call home if you need to conduct meetings every so often. There is no fibre in the town, but it should be happening soon because it is halfway between Pretoria and Polokwane.

Property 24 ’s trends state that the median price for a home in the area was around R750,000. With its location, natural beauty, and tourist attractions, we’d suggest acting quickly if you’re interested in moving to the town.

Mpumalanga

Home to most of the Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga is a province that offers natural beauty and excellent tropical conditions for growing fruit - including some coffee strains.

A town in the province that’s caught the attention of many in Joburg is White River or Witriver. It is a vibrant town with magical blue skies, chocolatiers, antique shops, and much more!

The town is connected to the fibre grid, and residents can get up to 500 Mbps in download speed and 250 Mbps in download.

The median selling price for a home in the town, according to Property 24, is R1,388,500.

North-West

North-West Fibre Ready Areas

The North-West province is defined by its landscape of mountains to the northeast and a scattering of trees and shrubs over the vast bushveld. It’s also a province that is home to several nature reserves and resorts. It's a favourite escape for many carving out a living in the heart of Gauteng.

Potchefstroom is a student that is steeped in history, has fantastic amenities, and is blessed to have the university. With a university in the town, you can be guaranteed that there will be a selection of coffee bistros, unique shops, and fast internet.

According to Speedtest, the median download speed is 29.90 Mbps, upload is 26.41 Mbps and a latency of 9 ms.

While not so much a hidden gem, it is the perfect destination for those looking at slowing down with their daily routines.

And the median selling price of homes in the area is around R850,000 - according to Property 24. This is also a young market for buyers, with the bulk of the market being made up of 36 - 64-year-olds.

Northern Cape

As South Africa’s most sparsely populated province, its size is slightly larger than the country of Germany.

Towns are located far away from each other, and the coastline’s towns are even more remote. One such town is Port Nolloth, which is roughly an hour and a half outside of Springbok.

Located on the seaboard edge of the Namakwa region, Port Nolloth’s semi-desert environment transforms into one of the world’s best natural flower shows during its season.

It is also blessed with an amazing beach, and it is within easy driving distance of the Richtersveld.

There is currently no fibre in the area, but with prices for homes in the area being around R550,000, according to Property 24, it’s a town that you could move to without breaking the bank.

Western Cape

Western Cape Fibre ready towns

The Western Cape has several great towns with fibre. But our top pick has to be Hermanus.

According to Speedtest, Hermanus has a median download speed of 28.38 Mbps, an upload speed of 18.87 Mbps, and a latency of 8 ms. With these speeds, its fibre connection will allow most remote workers access to being employed by international companies.

Another aspect that makes Hermanus ideal for remote workers is its lifestyle, close proximity to the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, and a great selection of schools in the area. Not to mention the beaches, whale watching, festivals, restaurants, and more!

While comparing housing pricing to the metropolitan centres, the average selling price for property in Hermanus, according to Property 24, was slightly over R2 million.

Hermanus is the largest town in the area, and the smaller towns surrounding it are also viable options for remote workers, as the fibre lines had to be laid through them.

Towns like Rooi Els, Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond are also fantastic places to work from, but they are quieter.

Top Fibre Providers in South Africa

WebAfrica

WebAfrica Fibre

Afrihost

Afrihost Fibre

Vox

Vox Fibre South Africa

Now that you’ve browsed through the selection of Zoom Towns or areas that are bound to experience a fibre boom, it might be in your best interest to see how much it’ll cost to move to these far-flung locations.

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