Cost of living in South Africa

Cost of living in South Africa

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Where to live in South Africa

Each year, South Africa grows in popularity with British expats in search of a life in the sun. The warm climate, stunning beaches and breath-taking scenery are just a few of the main attractions, on top of the fact that English is widely spoken throughout South Africa.

South Africa is widely regarded as an inexpensive country to live in, with Mercer’s 2019 Survey on Cost of Living ranking Cape Town (the capital) as the 180th expensive city out of 209. Popular locations for expats to move to include Cape Town, and its nearby Stellenbosch province, as well as cities such as Johannesburg and Durban.

The currency used in South Africa is the rand, with 1 British pound equalling approximately 18.67 rand (as of 18th December 2019). It’s a good idea to become familiar with the GBP to ZAR exchange rate so you can quickly convert prices into pounds.

(All figures taken from Numbeo.com and exchange rates calculated on 18th December 2019 at 16.15pm.)

 

How much does accommodation cost in South Africa?

Property prices and the cost of rent throughout South Africa is generally much lower than in the UK, especially when compared to London. As a result, expats may find their money can go much further on South African property. Below are tables providing the average cost of rent or buying a property in South Africa in several different locations. 

 

Cape Town

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£607.45 (11,342 R)

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£410.48 (7,664 R)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£1,245 (23,242 R)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£1,391 (12,242 kr)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (city centre)

£2,069 (38,637 R)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (outside centre)

£997.46 (18,625 R)

 

Johannesburg 

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£352.91 (6,590 R)

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£318.08 (5,940 R)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£705.87 (13,181 R)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£601.35 (11,229 R)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (city centre)

£774.36 (14,460 R)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (outside centre)

£550.03 (10,271 R)

 

Knysna

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£246.37 (4,600 R)

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£275.83 (5,150 R)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£723.01 (13,500 R)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£589.20 (11,000 R)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (city centre)

£803.44 (15,000 R)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (outside centre)

£677.08 (12,641 R)

 

Stellenbosch

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£403.16 (7,500 R)

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£258.15 (4,800 R)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£699.15 (13,000 R)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£524.36 (9,750 R)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (city centre)

£1,778 (33,051 R)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (outside centre)

£941.16 (17,500 R)

 

Cost of transport in South Africa

Transport is relatively inexpensive throughout South Africa with public transport providing an affordable option in most cities via rail or bus. However, the cost of buying a car, as well as the price of petrol, is generally regarded as much lower than in the UK. Owning a car is the most convenient and reliable form of transport, and is popular with expats and locals alike.  

Single bus ticket

£1.05 (19.69 R)

Monthly public transport ticket

£32.14 (600.00 R)

Petrol (1 litre)

£0.85 (15.79 R)

Volkswagen Golf

£16,015 (299,000 R)

Toyota Corolla

£15,309 (285,812 R)

 

What is the cost of living in South Africa?

Many expats moving to South Africa discover that the cost of living is significantly cheaper than in the UK. This can be noted when visiting restaurants, supermarkets, pubs, cafes and cinemas, helping you to get more for your money. Below is a list of the average prices of some amenities and miscellaneous items you can expect within South Africa. 

Milk (1 litre)

£0.75 (13.99 R)

Bread (500g loaf)

£0.69 (12.95 R)

Eggs (12pk)

£1.50 (27.98 R)

Water (1.5 litre bottle)

£0.80 (14.89 R)

Chicken Breast (1kg)

£3.74 (69.78 R)

Cappuccino (regular, in a restaurant)

£1.42 (26.43 R)

Beer (500ml, in a restaurant/pub)

£1.50 (28.00 R)

Cinema ticket

£4.29 (80.00 R)

Gym membership (monthly)

£27.36 (510.89 R)

Preschool/Kindergarten (monthly)

£147.41 (2,752 R)

Primary School (yearly)

£15,309 (285,812 R)

 

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