Cape Town vs Joburg: Which City Should You Live In?

After nearly 10 years I finally returned to Joburg. I was SUPER nervous because…well…Capetonians are spoilt and basically we don’t ever really have a reason to visit – nor the will to do so! But, we did, and I must say that I had a really good time!

In recent times there was a TikTok that went viral from a Joburg girl living in Cape Town and asking why it’s so hard to make friends in the Mother City. The conversation is being picked up again and it got me thinking about my colleagues who live in Joburg as well. How do the two cities fair these days?

3 Cape Town X Joburg Truths

There are 3 basic truths that are mostly considered facts these days:

  1. There are double the amount of men than women in Joburg.
  2. Joburg salaries are traditionally known to be much higher.
  3. Property is way better value for money in Joburg than Cape Town.

Turns out, the first one is true! There are 94 males per 100 females in Cape Town and 101 males per female in Joburg, according to Municipal stats and Joburg Stats.

Career Opportunities in Joburg X Cape Town

Everyone has always known that salaries in Joburg are higher, but this has also fallen into question in recent times. While jobs in Joburg may offer 18% higher salaries for executive jobs, in 2019 Wesgro (Western Cape Tourism and Trade) confirmed that salaries in Cape Town are higher now.

Joburg does, however, more varied jobs, according to the director of Executive Placement,

“Not only are average salaries for managerial staff higher, but there are more
varied jobs in Gauteng across a number of different sectors…If you’re an entrepreneur, Joburg is also the place to be because of the high concentration of wealth and the opportunities for doing business there.”

Charles Edelstein – Executive Placements Director

So it seems cutting your teeth with a job in Cape Town and then moving to Joburg may be the middle ground! And then back to Cape Town when you have a family…which leads me to the cost of property.

Joburg Properties X Cape Town Properties

A four-bedroomed house in Parkwood in Johannesburg costs in the region of R4.95 million right now, compared to a price tag of R4.95 million for a two-bedroomed house in Upper Wynberg, Cape Town.

Young professionals wishing to buy property for the first time may find it easier to do so in Joburg, while also relishing the opportunities for greater professional growth.

In Cape Town, young professionals tend to buy further out in suburbs like Muizenberg, Plumstead and Tableview in order to get better value for money in the competitive Cape Town property market.

The Impact of Everyone Loving Cape Town

As a local, we are definitely feeling the semigration impacting the city. Not only is Cape Town expanding more than ever before; it seems every open plot or area is having cookie cutter houses smushed into them, but the cost of properties are also being pushed up to due Airbnb.

Traditionally, the high end property neighbourhoods were dominated by foreign investment, but now the cost of regular suburbs is also hugely expensive due to supply and demand. I lived in the city bowl as a 20-something with no problem, now it’s more difficult than ever to try find an apartment to live in for a decent price.

With Cape Town being listed on so many “best cities to visit” lists as well, the cost of living is also sky rocketing as businesses try to capitalise on visitors with foreign currency. Not only is eating out WAY more expensive than it ever was before, the cost of drinks and general services is also much, much more expensive.

Since the disruption of the pandemic, many professionals are working remotely, which makes it easier for them to semigrate to Cape Town or the coastal regions of KwaZulu-Natal, such as Ballito and Umhlanga.

“Some only need to travel up to Gauteng once a month to interface with clients and would rather have the better lifestyle near the coast on an everyday basis,” notes Edelstein.

Charles Edelstein – Executive Placements Director

Check your Priorities

Before making the move to another city, make sure you’ve taken the following into consideration:

  1. Cost of Living: Find out how much it will cost to live there. Even if the salary is better,
    you may find that cancelled out by higher living costs, including accommodation and
    eating out.
  2. Commute: No one wants to get stuck in traffic for hours. Find out how long it will take to get to work, factoring in the school drop-off too if that applies.
  3. Lifestyle: What will the quality of life be like in your new city? This will depend if you’re into retail therapy or someone who prefers outdoor pursuits.
  4. Support Network: Will you have family nearby to help you or be able to join a community of like-minded people in your new city?

Where do you currently live and have you ever lived in both Cape Town and Joburg?

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