COVID-19 will fundamentally shift how we live and work

The economy of Jeffreys Bay and surrounding towns has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic with the tourism industry grinding to a halt, restaurants and retail shops closed and big events unlikely to take place until at least December.

There is some good news however, with the property market of coastal towns like Jeffreys Bay and St Francis Bay set to benefit as more people work from home.

“While the necessary technology for remote working has long been available, it has ultimately taken a global pandemic to firmly prompt the shift online,” said Andrew Golding from the Pam Golding Property Group.

This is likely to prompt companies to consider reducing their overheads – cutting their office footprint and the number of associated parking bays – with potentially significant ramifications for the commercial property market.

According to Golding, homewners faced with significantly more time spent at home, amidst a shift to remote working or simply as a result of any possible future lockdowns, may well begin to reconsider the suitability of their current homes.

“In addition to a possible desire for more generous living spaces, even more multi-generational living with shared costs, the prospect of more time at home may well increase the attractiveness of access to private outdoor space – no matter how compact – while the imminent return of loadshedding may increase the desire for a greater degree of self-sufficiency at home, such as solar panels, boreholes or even an urban food garden,” said Golding.

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Could this accelerate the move to smaller towns across South Africa like St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay?

“Some people have opted to move to suburbs on the periphery of major metro areas or, increasingly, to smaller towns and villages – particularly those located along South Africa’s extensive coastline – many of which have traditionally been viewed as retirement or holiday destinations but which now beckon as permanent residential locations.”

Concludes Dr Golding: “As a result, in recent years, many of these areas have seen an influx of younger buyers and those relocating for future retirement, attracted not only by the relative affordability of the homes but also by the improved amenities, such as private schools and hospitals, and importantly, more relaxed lifestyles.

Photo: Clive Wright

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