Cape Town vs. Johannesburg Home Prices: What R2 Million Gets You in Each City

Cape Town vs. Johannesburg Home Prices: What R2 Million Gets You in Each City

Are you thinking about moving to South Africa and wondering what’s the cost of living in Cape Town compared to Johannesburg? 

No matter how much they love their own city, Joburgers fantasize about Cape Town. It’s the other major media and cultural capital of the country, a large metropolis, a global center for … everything. Yet it’s so different from Johannesburg: Beaches instead of just land, clusters of palm trees instead of clouds of pigeons. But how do the two cities really compare?

Cape Town is a vibrant city with endless possibilities and beautiful scenery; this makes it one of the best cities to live for expats in Africa. It’s no secret that the average cost of living in Cape Town can be one of the highest on the African Continent, yet the salaries are relatively low. 

We can’t tell you where you’d be happier living. Instead, let’s compare JHB and Cape Town in quantifiable terms, like the cost of housing and rent. The results might surprise you.

To breakdown and get good estimates for the cost of living in Cape Town, you need to examine the following list:

  • Housing Costs
  • Rates and Taxes

Knowing what to budget for before moving to Cape Town is really important. In this post, I’ll try to answer all these questions: how much do you need to live in Cape Town? How expensive is rent in Cape Town? Which suburb is the most affordable?

Average Cost of Living in Cape Town

The cost of living in Cape Town as a family, single person, or international student will vary due to different accommodations, food budgets, and other expenses.

Housing Costs in Cape Town

After considering the size of your household, your accommodation in Cape Town will most likely be your biggest monthly expense. Like most cities, the prices of apartments and houses really varies based on the size and neighborhood. 

Most Popular places to live in Western Cape

  • Atlantic Seaboard – the seaside “villages” of Bantry Bay, Clifton, Camps Bay, Bakoven, and Llandudno
  • City Bowl – Near the Waterfront, residential suburbs in the city center, and one of the most convenient places to stay. 
  • Southern Suburbs – The three worth highlighting are Woodstock, Observatory, and Constantia. 
  • Winelands – Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, or Tulbagh. 

Cost of living in Cape Town

I collected this data from 10 people living in the city of Cape Town and the surrounding area. I asked about their cost of rent (if applicable), rates and taxes (these services include sewerage, street light, and roads maintenance as well as the collection of refuse) – if you are renting, this is usually covered by your monthly rental fee

In South Africa, you’ll typically have your water and electricity provided by the municipality (government). And unless your place has a prepaid electricity meter, you’ll pay a fixed (usually more expensive) price for electricity usage each month.

Where in Cape Town do you live?Homeowner or RentingHow big is your placeMonthly Rent CostMonthly Rates and Taxes
Marina da Gama Homeowner2 bedrooms, 1 bathroomHouse is rented out for R7500R1100
Fish HoekRenting3 bedrooms, 2 bathroomsR8000R1800
WoodstockRenting2 bedroomsR10000N/A
Hout BayHomeowner4 bedroomsN/AR5000
ParklandsHomeowner3 bedrooms, sharingN/AR1500
Somerset WestRenting3 bedroomsR11500N/A
Sea PointRenting2 bedroomsR14000N/A
StellenboschHomeowner4 bedroomsN/AR7500
WoodstockHomeowner Hotel apartmentN/AR2300

Home Prices: Johannesburg vs. Cape Town

If you are thinking about making the big move to South Africa’s capital city, you are in for a grand adventure!

Million-rand listings have become common in the South African real estate market. But when you compare the cost-per-square-foot for million-rand listings across the country, you’ll find very different results.

I had a chat with Neil Jansson, a former Joburger who bought a property in Cape Town. With a budget of R2 million (USD 130 000), Neil quickly realized that with his budget he would struggle to find a 2 bedroom house in a middle-class suburb.

This data was collected from Property24 Trends in November 2020

Neil jansson

Listen to the full episode on the UNPACK Podcast

  • Best areas to live in Cape Town?
  • Are the properties in Cape Town better than Joburg?
  • Can South Africans. afford homes in Cape Town?

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