Areas and Places

The new face of affordable housing

“Affordable housing need not look cheap.” This is the philosophy behind the new community being established outside Springs, where 1 500 new 2- and 3- bedroomed houses and a unique “exploration park” will soon provide secure living and a healthy lifestyle for home-owners in all income groups.

Beyond playing a role in addressing the country’s accommodation shortfall, the developers of this new stage of Selcourt Estate have challenged the norm of entry-level housing that has become prevalent during the past ten years. Rather than building as many houses as possible in as little space as is economically feasible, they have focussed on aspects such as efficient energy usage, quality finishes, and creating surroundings that are not merely functional, but conducive to healthy community development and leisure activities.

Similan Consult, the development agency responsible for the newly released stage of Selcourt Estate, has set out to prove that “affordable needn’t equate sub-standard”.

It is the same design approach that has recently earned Similan the SAHF Housing Project of the Year Award for their Karino Lifestyle Estate outside Nelspruit. Like that development, Selcourt Estate is funded by Old Mutual’s MPSS fund, part of the Housing Impact Fund for South Africa, which aims to help fill the gap in the market between those who benefit from government-provided housing and those who have access to bank finance with which to purchase their own homes.

Unlike conventional affordable housing developments, the homes at Selcourt Estate are constructed in various designs and sizes, offering different exterior finishes such as multiple roof types and roof tile colours, a choice of wall colours, and quality fittings.

Particular attention has been paid to the layout of the estate. The streetscape is visually different. Instead of being placed in typical linear rows, the homes in Selcourt have been positioned to take maximum advantage of the natural features of the site. The homes are also oriented for optimal energy efficiency and comply 100% with the latest energy specifications of SANS 10400-X.

The layout features circular streets and cul-de-sac, creating pockets of communities within the larger community of the estate.

What makes Selcourt Estate especially attractive to families, is the exploration park – a leafy landscaped park of over one hectare conceived in cooperation with an internationally acclaimed designer to be a peaceful place of relaxation, interaction, play, and best of all, exploration for people of all ages.

Similan’s Harold Spies explains the idea behind the park: “The concept is to offer residents and their friends a safe haven where they can meet and mingle, play sport, or simply chill. I’ve gone to great lengths to develop something that is not just stock-standard, and which would help built a healthy, happy community. The park has a theme, which is ‘Explore!’, and everyone, from pre-schoolers to adults will be kept entertained here. There are mazes, tunnels, specially designed jungle gyms and equipment that will help improve children’s hand-eye co-ordination and develop their motor skills. Hoop and tennis courts and mini soccer fields complete the picture.”

With prices starting at R359 500 (including transfer and legal costs) the homes provide a way for first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder while at the same time investing in a quality lifestyle for as little as R3 469 per month. Selcourt Estate launched their new show village and park on Saturday 18 October at an event held in the Estate.