Rising safety and security concerns amongst South Africans has driven the demand for homes in gated estates and community living through the roof. Security remains a top priority and is the most notable reason for buying in a gated estate.
Lightstone stated that over 80% of properties sold in 2015 were in gated communities. With crime statistics as high as they are, buyers want the peace-of-mind that access control, perimeter monitoring and 24-hour security affords.
But safety is not the only factor; estate living offers an exclusive and upmarket community lifestyle boasting many highly attractive features; such as swimming pools, tennis and squash courts, parks, gyms, clubhouses and even golf courses. Residents are expected to adhere to rules and regulations governing speed on the roads and conduct within the estate; a significant advantage to families with children and pets.
With the increased stress of modern life and a growing need for comfortable, stress-free surrounds - estates offer all the perks of a quiet, suburban life in the middle of the city.
The property value of homes in an estate is significantly higher than freestanding residential homes – privacy and security driving the prices up! This said, with the move towards estate living gaining momentum, property developers are meeting the high demand for affordable homes in a gated estate by also catering to the middle-income bracket. Opening up this exclusive sector to a broader income bracket has bettered the return on investment as there are more hopeful homebuyers entering the market. Buying in a secure estate is a viable investment prospect!
Many prominent gated communities are conveniently located within close proximity to major transport nodes, shopping centres and schools, increasing their demand and value further.
Another advantage to living in an estate is that upkeep and general maintenance of communal facilities is overseen by the Homeowner’s Association. Should the need arise for major repairs, resources are pooled in a special levy that can be paid in one sum or as an instalment – sharing the cost between homeowners.
In certain estates, layout and style of individual homes are restricted by architectural guidelines, limiting external individuality. However most estates boast properties that are modern and up-market in design; appealing to buyers looking for attractive property with the added benefit of being low maintenance.
Before buying in a gated estate, consider the following;
Review a copy of the financial account, as well as the estate rules and regulations. This can be sourced from the Homeowner’s Association and is vital in determining whether or not the scheme is professionally run and financially secure. Readily available funds and financial reserve ultimately determine a scheme’s good-standing. The conduct rules will clarify the estate’s position on pets, parking, noise and residents’ use of communal facilities.
Ask the estate agent or seller for past levy statements. Determine how and when levies are to be paid, as well as what inflation-related increases can be expected. Levies usually cover rates and taxes, security, communal water, gardening services, maintenance etc; whereas special levies are often raised to finance major repairs and maintenance deemed necessary. Take note of how often these are charged as this is often a clear indication as to the financial standing of the scheme.
Note the general state of the infrastructure, gardens and other communal facilities and the standard at which it’s maintained. Raise any concerns with the estate agent or seller.
As security is of the utmost importance in a gated community, ensure that the access control, perimeter monitoring, electric fencing and all other security arrangements meet your required standards.
There are many noteworthy advantages to living in an estate - it’s no surprise that security estates are in demand and on the rise in South Africa.