The accommodation in Johannesburg is one of the city's biggest advantages. Houses in Joburg are generally big and often come with a beautiful patio as well as a swimming pool which can be used for most of the year because of the beautiful weather.
House hunting should be one of the fun parts for expats relocating to Johannesburg. Before the hunt for housing begins, however, a few decisions will have to be made, based on a few important factors.
House size in Johannesburg
As is often the case, the size of a family should determine the size of their accommodation. Most expats do, however, live in bigger houses in South Africa than they would at home. This is especially true of some of the generously proportioned houses in secure estates that expats often live in. Living in an apartment is also a viable option, especially for expats who want to live close to their corporate offices in and around Sandton.
Property prices in Johannesburg
Expats often choose to rent property because they'll only be living in Johannesburg for a limited time. Because they are well-positioned for travel to and from work and are relatively safe, many expats (and locals) favour northern areas such as Sandton, Dainfern, Kyalami and Fourways.
With a limited supply and rising demand, prices in areas such as these have risen. As a result, expats who are responsible for their own rental expenses might want to consider branching out into other areas for a better deal. On average, rental prices in Johannesburg still remain lower than European cities such as London and Paris.
Expats can also buy property in Joburg, which many do with the intention of renting out at a later stage and taking advantage of the demand for rental accommodation in and around the city. Potential expat investors should, however, be advised that currency regulations can complicate taking money over South African borders and that, should they later decide to sell, they will have to pay capital gains tax. As such, it is a decision that should be researched and considered carefully.
Security in Johannesburg
Security is the topic expats who are new to South Africa will probably have researched the most or, at least, be most concerned about.
The majority of South African homes are equipped with some level of security, but this varies depending on location. Relatively speaking, free-standing houses protected by nothing more than a fence are the least secure kind of accommodation. The security of such houses can be improved by adding burglar alarms with armed response, and ensuring that the surrounding fences cannot be easily breached.
The most secure type of housing is part of a security complex. They are heavily protected by high walls, security cameras, and professional security guards that monitor access around the clock. The peace of mind provided by these neighbourhoods is the reason most expats choose to live in them.
Finding accommodation in Johannesburg
Once an expat has narrowed down their wish list to a target area, expats can then approach an estate agent. Some of the larger companies serve the entire Johannesburg area, but some of the smaller ones specialise in certain estates.
It is also possible to find accommodation without the aid of an estate agent by browsing through online classifieds and local newspapers.