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Agents indicate there are now walled developments to suit a range of budgets

Living in an upmarket estate is the dream of many South Africans, especially those seeking security for themselves and their families. Sadly, however, it will likely remain a dream for most as rising prices mean they are ever further out of reach.

New estates are being developed across the country as demand grows, but even with this boom supply under-performs demand, and this means prices will continue rising. Living in an estate has numerous benefits.

People feel more secure in a gated environment, enjoy the sense of community and particular architecture, or want a more compact and carefree lock-up-and-go home, says Myles Wakefield, chief executive of Wakefields Real Estate. “But over the past few years demand has substantially driven up prices, to the point where many South Africans can’t afford that lifestyle.”

This means estate homes will become increasingly exclusive, says Berry Everitt, chief executive of the Chas Everitt International property group. The entry level for a family home in an upmarket estate with “top-notch security” is about R3.5million.

But he notes developments at the lower end of the market are increasingly taking the form of gated, secure estates which are “affordable” for the average South African household.

Although luxury estates get the most publicity, says Gerhard Kotzé, managing director of the RealNet estate agency group, there is now a wide range of estates available to suit different budgets.

The estates most in demand are those seen to offer the best value for money in terms of security, services, and amenities. In the Western Cape, the entry level price for an estate home is around R1.4m in newer estates in the northern suburbs.

When it comes to the top golf, equestrian and lifestyle estates, however, these are generally accessible only to the most affluent South Africans, and prices are likely to keep rising because supply is limited compared to demand, Kotzé says. Secure estate living is becoming “increasingly attainable” in South Africa, says Rabie Property Group director John Chapman.

“The perception is that an estate must contain a golf course and big homes, but the benefits of being in a secure environment with a well-managed common property have proved to be successfully down-scalable and available to a wider market.”

Depending on the estate’s design and target market, Chapman says one can own an apartment in a gated community for as little as R1.45m in the group’s latest development, Burgundy Estate, Hazelwood, which comprises small apartment blocks within a secure mini-estate.

In Brackenfell and Kraaifontein, the price of a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with double garage in Aan de Wijnlanden is R2.2m, says Jacques Le Sueur, franchisee of Rawson Properties there. Similar pricing is expected for an entry level property at the new development, Grandeur Estate, which is due to launch later this year.

For young buyers, some estates offer two-bedroom sectional title apartments priced from R700 000 to R900 000, he says, citing Buh-Rein in Cape Town and Boardwalk in Pretoria as two examples. For those looking for a family home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, the entry level is just over R1m in newer estates like the Amberfield developments in Centurion.


Modern developments are offering more

EXTRAS Today’s estates, such as Clara Anna Fontein Estate, offer more than just secure homes, with facilities like clubhouses, pools, gyms and schools becoming more common. Picture: Rabie Property Group

When the residential estate concept took off in South Africa, security they offered was the primary attraction. Many years down the line security, while still the main drawcard, is only one of a number of advantages estate residents enjoy.

Modern developments boast more amenities and facilities than ever before, adding greatly to the allure. Some of the larger developments with space are adding apartments and townhouses to appeal to younger buyers and investors, or a retirement village to retain senior residents who are ready to downscale to smaller homes, says RealNet’s Gerhard Kotzé.

“In smaller developments some of the most common add-ons are security upgrades, fibre internet connections, and their own power and water supply systems,” he says.

Estates are incorporating elements which enhance convenience and a lifestyle rather than a living arrangement, with schools often forming part of the property and in some instances, shops, says Rabie’s John Chapman.

“In our Clara Anna Fontein Estate, in addition to Reddam Durbanville being on site, we offer a clubhouse facility with meeting places, barista, and library. Residents can enjoy a fully equipped gym, swimming pool, tennis and squash courts. Add open space and running and cycling paths, and the result is a balanced way of life in a secure environment.”

Berry Everitt of Chas Everitt International says demand is highest for “complete lifestyle” estates with their own schools, shops and business centres as well as sports facilities, wellness centres, and clubhouses, and which offer and a range of homes from sectional title apartments aimed at young buyers right through to senior housing.

“Among first-time buyers, there is also high demand for the newer type of gated estate which provides smaller, more affordable full-title homes and a few communal facilities such as a clubhouse, play park and a pool within a secured perimeter.”

Facilities such as lifestyle centres that host spas and boutique shops are also among the new offerings, says Rawson’s Jacques Le Sueur. Delis selling everyday items such as milk, cheese, and freshly baked breads are popular, as are sports facilities such as golf courses, equestrian and gym facilities, and squash and tennis courts.


Over-supply of gated lifestyle homes is unlikely, say experts
 

COSY Family buyers, young professionals, and investors are increasingly looking for estate
properties like this one in Aan de Wijnlanden estate. Picture: Rawson Properties

The demand for estates is constantly rising as South Africans seek security for themselves and their families, and share the costs of enjoying such security, says Gerhard Kotzé of RealNet.

He says most estate property buyers are families while tenants are primarily young couples and single parents. “We are also seeing an increasing number of investors buying estate homes to let.”

Kotzé says growing demand is behind the mushrooming of estates across the country, and is the reason why there probably will never be an over-supply. 

“There is always more demand than supply for estate homes, and many of the new estates are much smaller than the 300 to 400-home projects of the past, which were effectively new suburbs. South Africa also now has few large development companies capable of huge projects, so we don’t think there is any real likelihood of an over-supply, except perhaps temporarily in a certain area where a few developments come on stream at the same time.”

Estate supply in Cape Town makes up a “significantly smaller” portion of the residential market than in Gauteng, with the popularity of the gated community lifestyle gaining momentum, says Rabie’s John Chapman.

“At this almost early stage of estate mind-set in Cape Town, there is still a lot of room for quality estates to be developed.” Myles Wakefield of Wakefields Real Estate says matching affordability to the lifestyle one wants isn’t always straightforward.

Many South Africans still choose a free-standing home where they are “king of their castle”. Lifestyle estates are “very popular” at the moment, says Jacques Le Sueur of Rawson Properties. “People are also turning to mixeduse estates, purely depending on size and location of the townhouses and flats offered within.”

He says, however, in the area there is currently an over-supply of estate properties as some units are not selling as fast as expected. “This is also due to the economic situation and affordability. Sales are expected to pick up later this year.”  


Security is a selling point

SAFETY The security offered by estates is still the main drawcard for South Africans. Picture: Rabie Property Group

Estate purchases are estimated to account for about 15% of all home sales in South Africa at the moment, and demand is rising, says Berry Everitt of Chas Everitt International.

“The desire for more security and the freedom this provides is the main reason, but many estates also offer residents the opportunity to share the costs of luxury lifestyle facilities and amenities right on their doorstep.”

Buyers wanting these homes range from young couples looking for their first home to families of all ages and empty-nesters who have sold their suburban houses and are seeking a lock-up-and-go home because they want to travel.

Tenants are generally young professionals and corporate executives working in South Africa on contract, although the number of families renting in estates is rising and the investment opportunities are increasing accordingly.


Intent: Fresh and diverse

BENEFIT Estate residents enjoy shared luxury lifestyle amenities. Picture: Rabie Property Group

Estate purchases are estimated to account for about 15% of all home sales in South Africa at the moment, and demand is rising, says Berry Everitt of Chas Everitt International.

“The desire for more security and the freedom this provides is the main reason, but many estates also offer residents the opportunity to share the costs of luxury lifestyle facilities and amenities right on their doorstep.”

Buyers wanting these homes range from young couples looking for their first home to families of all ages and empty-nesters who have sold their suburban houses and are seeking a lock-up-and-go home because they want to travel.

Tenants are generally young professionals and corporate executives working in South Africa on contract, although the number of families renting in estates is rising and the investment opportunities are increasing accordingly.


Convenience: Social scene

ELDERLY It is becoming common to see the development of retirement components within residential estates. Picture: Camelot Retirement Village

Residential estates, previously populated with homes, sectional title units or apartments, are now venturing into other related realms, says Wakefields Real Estates’ Myles Wakefield.

“They’re creating autonomous villages within suburbs with golf courses, bowling greens, tennis and squash courts. It’s common now to see the development of retirement components within an estate, a restaurant or two, private schools, mountain bike trails, clubhouses, gyms, hitech security and commercial enterprises.”

For those who run a home-based business, he says the right estate offers an all-encompassing lifestyle which avoids traffic congestion, with the pleasures of an indigenous landscape with trails and bird life, a safe environment for children, and even a sociable, well-rated restaurant, pub and clubhouse which doesn’t require an Uber ride, Wakefield says.

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