As one of the major cities in South Africa, it's easy to think that Cape Town is an expensive city. It is home to one of the country's central business districts, after all. And unbeknownst to many, it also serves as one of the nation's three capital cities too. With all of this in mind, it's borderline impossible to think that it won't cost a pretty penny to live here, right? Well, the truth is more complex than that! The living costs in Cape Town aren't as high as you probably think. From monthly rent to food costs for a week, here are what you need to know about them.
Costs of Renting in Cape Town
Let's start with the common rental fees in Cape Town. Considering that the average monthly net salary in the city is R21,779.80, it's safe to say that rent here is pretty pricey. The common figures range from a minimum of R6,000.00 to a maximum of R35,000.00. The latter is already beyond what the average worker earns per month. And if that describes you, you're better off getting a Cape Town home
outside of the city center. The common rental fees here range from R6,000.00 (for a one-bedroom apartment) to R22,000.00 (for a three-bedroom apartment).
Costs of Buying Property in Cape Town
If renting alone already costs a lot, what more when you buy property in Cape Town? How much would that cost you? Well, as you've probably already surmised, quite a lot! Let's say you want to buy a property in any of the central neighborhoods of Cape Town
. The price ranges from R20,000.00 to R50,000.00 per square meter. Those are some pretty steep prices! Would it then be cheaper to buy a place along the outskirts of Cape Town? Only a little bit. The prices here range from R17,000.00 to R35,000.00 per square meter.
Fortunately, utility costs in Cape Town won't cost you an arm and a leg. Let's say you live in an 85 m2 apartment. Your monthly bills will mostly total from R914.93 to R2,000.00. This will already include electricity, water, heating, garbage disposal, and more. What about your wifi at home? When you get one from any of South Africa's top telecommunication companies, how much will that cost you? Well, expect the price to be within R599.99 to R1,000.00 per month. These aren't bad in the whole grand scheme of things!
Now, let's talk about food! Do groceries cost a lot here? Not necessarily! Of course, how much you spend on food depends on where you shop. If you go for high-end stores, then there's no doubt that your bill will skyrocket. But if you go for mid-range shops, you can already get a lot for around R754.36. This will already include a dozen eggs, a load of bread, 1.5 liters of water, a liter of milk, and a kilogram each of various fruits, vegetables, and meats. These will also last you around one to two weeks tops.
With such affordable food costs, is it fair to expect that dining costs in Cape Town aren't as expensive too? Again, it depends on where you go. If you dine in any of Cape Town's top restaurants, then yes, it may cost you an arm and a leg for a meal. But let's say you eat at an inexpensive restaurant. A diner, perhaps, or a nice cafe. How much will a meal here cost? Around R80.00 to R300.00. And if you take someone out to eat at a mid-range hotspot for a three-course meal, this will only cost you a total of R450.00 to R900.00 for both of you. Not bad, right?
Among the many living costs in Cape Town, public transport is another that you don't have to worry about all too much. Getting around the city isn't that expensive. In fact, it will only cost you around R15.00 to R35.00 for a one-way ticket in the various public transport systems. If you want to go on a round trip, this will only cost you R30.00 to R70.00 for the entire ride. If you do, however, plan to buy your own car here, do note that it will cost you a whopping R257,000.00 to R450,000.00 depending on the brand and model.
As great of a city as Cape Town is, it's far from what many would regard as a fashion capital. So does this mean that clothing costs here are affordable? As mentioned previously, it depends on where you shop. Many high-end brands have set up shop here, so if you buy from them, then you can expect to pay hefty prices for your luxury finds. But if you go to high-street stores instead, you can get a piece for only R300.00 to R900.00 each. A new pair of sneakers will also cost you around R800.00 to R2,000.00.
As with any other city, there are leisure costs in Cape Town that you have to be aware of too. Firstly, there's going to the gym. A monthly membership fee in a mid-range gym or fitness center costs around R300.00 to R1,100.00. If you want to play sports on the weekends, you can rent a court for around R100.00 to R225.00 per hour. And if you're up for a movie, the common prices for tickets here range from R80.00 to R150.00. These don't include your refreshments yet so you will have to pay extra for popcorn, drinks, and the like.
Childcare & Education Costs
Finally, there are your childcare and education costs. If you relocated to Cape Town with your entire family, these will serve as great investments. While they're young, for example, you can get them into a private daycare center which costs around R2,500.00 to R5,600.00 per month. And when they grow up, enrolling them into an international school in Cape Town will cost you an annual tuition fee of around R60,000.00 to R120,000.00. Pretty expensive, sure, but remember that this is for the safety and future of your little ones. It's worth paying more if it's for them!
The living costs in Cape Town are more complex than you probably think. There are some that are high and others that are low but not exactly cheap. In any case, learning more about them is a good way to gauge if you can afford to live here yourself.