Young homebuyers are moving to these ‘non-metro’ towns in South Africa

Historically, statistical reports on residential property price appreciation and market activity tend to focus on the major metros and hubs in South Africa.

However, new data from Pam Golding Property shows that young buyers are purchasing properties in unconventional towns for their medium to long-term capital growth perspectives, lifestyle and value for money.

Chief executive of Pam Golding Property, Dr Andrew Golding, said the city of George for example with its own airport and amenities like good schools attracts business people wanting to relocate, migrators and retirees all seeking a gentler way of life.

“According to Lightstone statistics, recent buyers (February 2021 to January 2022) in George are widely distributed across all groups; however, 43% of recent buyers fall into the 36-49 age category, and a further 16% young adults (18-35),” said Golding.

Stephen Murray, Pam Golding Properties area principal in George, said that many of the home buyers are from Gauteng and Western Cape and that they believe the reasoning for wanting to move to the Garden Route remains that they are purchasing for primary residential use.

“Price growth can tend to slow demand, but generally, it’s a result of limited stock availability, which has meant that prices have been steady in their upward trend.”

Kraaibosch Park, George, R2.875 million:

Statistics from research and data specialists Lightstone indicate strong and steady growth in George’s freehold residential property prices over the past decade, with a surge in activity in 2021, particularly vacant plots in estates, said Murray.

Pam Golding reported that vacant land in estates is usually in the price range from R1 million upwards. At the same time, sectional title apartments start at R1.1 million and R2 million for freehold properties.

“As a property class, I also anticipate that in the not-too-distant future popular new developments may take the form of sectional title apartments as affordability becomes more important. Traditionally, George has not been a sectional title town, with 95.2% of homes comprising freehold, with 14.9% of these in estates.”

Here are some places that young homebuyers are moving to:

Total Stock % Freehold % Estates FH price (2021, Rm) 10-yr FH %
George 34 614 95.2 14.9 1.30 +333.3
Middelburg 34 117 88.3 3.2 1.145 +76.2
Rustenburg 32 954 70.4 11.7 1.00 +25.0
Lydenburg 8 720 94.7 10.1 1.15 +27.8
Deneysville 5 141 98.5 0.7 0.68 +38.8
Port Edward 3 443 75.3 13.3 1.065 +25.3
Clarens 2 009 94.5 20.7 1.665 +58.4
Dullstroom 1 595 90.0 6.8 1.20 +25.3
Hoedspruit 1 295 84.6 70.9 2.10 +159.3


More than a third (34%) of current buyers in the Mpumalanga farming town of Middleburg are young adults, many of whom are first-time buyers, said Pam Golding.

“As this is considered one of the top municipalities in the country, many people choose to live in Middelburg and work nearby in Witbank,” it said.

Louis Greeff, Pam Golding’s area principal for Middleburg, said that between May and July 2021, the municipality sold approximately 644 stands. These included residential and commercial perspectives ranging range between R98,000 and R2.13 million.


The mining town of Rustenburg in the North West Province has seen an influx of young adult homebuyers up to the age of 35 years. Young home buyers make up more than a third of all purchasers, said Ian Staarup, Pam Golding Properties area principal in Rustenburg.

“According to data from Lightstone, sales activity generally slowed between 2012 and 2017, but both freehold and sectional title unit sales have rebounded in recent years, with vacant plot sales particularly strong in 2020 when the town registered the highest number of such sales in a decade.”


“Situated in at the foothills of the Long Tom Pass in Mpumalanga, the mining town of Lydenburg has reported a marked inflow of young buyers, with a majority of 57% of recent purchasers being middle-aged (36-49 years) and a further 31% aged 35 years or younger,” said Pam Golding Properties area principal, Andreas Greeff.

The average price for a residential property in Lydenburg is between R1.2 million and R1.6 million.


Pam Golding Properties Free State area principal said that the town of Deneysville which has an extraordinarily high percentage of long term homeowners has undergone a surge in vacant plots during 2021 following the trend of ‘weekender’ homes where owners live outside of the main city and works from home or commutes to work.

Pam Golding Properties area principal, Phil Medlock, underlined the growing number of people who during the Covid period have opted to move out of cities to country towns.

“We have seen this trend with our ‘weekender’ homes whose owners now live at the dam and work from home or commute to Johannesburg. The vacant land sales have increased as well as the pricing, which has now moved over the R100 000 mark, and again most of these buyers are from the larger towns and cities, building both weekend and permanent homes.”

Port Edward

The Pam Golding Properties area principal of the Lower South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal stressed that despite the South Coast continuing to attract older buyers, the value for money and good year-round have resulted in an uptick in activity since the hard lockdown as many people can work from home.

“Beachfront properties and smallholdings are desirable to young homebuyers at between R1.7 million and R3.5 million.”


The town of Clarens in the Eastern Free State offers young buyers a secure country lifestyle, and being three to four hours away from Gauteng and Durban makes commuting back to the metros possible, said Pam Golding.

Residential property prices here have risen since 2014, with noticeable interest from buyers within the province.

“New buyers are looking for property in the R1 million to R2 million bracket. The town consists of mainly freehold properties (94.5%), 20.7% of which are located in estates,” said Pam Golding Properties area principal for the Eastern Free State Anne Maree.


The Mpumalanga town of Dullstroom has experienced a new flush of interest in houses, cottages, smallholdings and farms.

“Apart from the mature age category that makes up 65% of homeowners, we [Pam Golding] are seeing families who want to work from home and raise their children in the countryside, as well as investors seeking properties to accommodate weekend tourists and leisure buyers,” said Pam Golding.

R4.95 million property in Dullstroom:


“At the foothills of the Drakensburg in Limpopo, Hoedspruit is arguably the fastest growing inland hub with an active residential property market,” said the company’s area principal, Engela van Staden.

Van Staden highlighted the presence of five primary schools, four high schools and open bushveld areas near the Kruger National Park as the main selling points of the area.

“Hoedspruit has always maintained a steady rise in property prices, but in the last four years it has risen much higher and faster and people are still buying. According to Lightstone, the town has experienced strong growth in median freehold property prices, rising by almost 160% over the past decade.”

Read: How long it takes to sell your house in South Africa’s most popular cities

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