Rent vs Salary – The best (and worst) places to live in South Africa

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Where is the best place to live so as to not spend the largest portion of your salary on rent?

That’s a question we are constantly asking ourselves and Adzuna South Africa has provided us with some data that may provide an answer.

The online job aggregator analysed earnings across South African cities, job opportunities per person, average housing prices and average rental figures. This was done with a view to finding out where folks spent the smallest portion of their salary on rent.

Rank City People per vacancy Average house price Average annual salary Average annual rent Annual salary spent on rent (%)
1 Johannesburg 53 R 2,270,915 R 420,006 R 84,000 19%
2 Pretoria 191 R 2,556,558 R 367,284 R 72,000 19%
3 Durban 160 R 3,102,022 R 384,834 R 61,200 15%
4 Cape Town 176 R 5,755,317 R 410,781 R 108,000 26%
5 Sandton 160 R 4,446,692 R 365,988 R 102,000 27%
6 Centurion 243 R 2,282,869 R 403,125 R 74,400 18%
7 East London 386 R 1,100,000 R 369,616 R 54,000 14%
8 Port Elizabeth 278 R 1,100,000 R 362,283 R 50,400 13%
9 Polokwane 446 R 1,050,000 R 481,800 R 48,000 9%
10 Richards Bay 499 R 2,163,640 R 432,096 R 62,400 14%


As you can see from the table above, Johannesburg is the clear winner when it comes to job opportunities but it is far from the most affordable location.

While Polokwane grabs that title with average annual rent coming in at just R48 000 there is one serious problem with that location.

“Even though Polokwane has low rental and house purchase prices, there are roughly 446 people per live job in the area, making the chances of landing your dream job incredibly hard here. That said, Polokwane’s results may be affected by the mining and technical industries in the area, with higher than average salaries posted online,” said Adzuna in its findings.

Both Sandton and Cape Town rank right at the bottom when it comes to rent with average annual prices topping six figures compared to the five in other locales.

“Johannesburg came in as one of the best places again this year, scoring points in all the right departments. Obviously, these results can be tied back to the abundance of jobs on offer in the country’s economic capital,” says country manager for Adzuna South Africa, Jesse Green.

“Even though cities like Polokwane and P.E are some of the most affordable for renters, higher salary offerings in major cities make destinations like Pretoria equally as affordable,” Green added.

If you’re looking to move in 2020 (or before the end of 2019 if you’re absolutely mad) then this may prove a useful guide. Of course, we suspect many folks follow the work and where they end up living is largely determined by where work opportunities are presented.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.