Areas and Places

Estate living in South Africa reaching new heights

Estate living is becoming increasingly popular in SA, according to Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Properties group. Cyclists enjoy the Steyn City lifestyle resort.

With approximately 6 000 closed communities and estates in South Africa, and 318 000 residential properties being estate homes, this form of living is enjoying unprecedented popularity in this country among a wide range of buyers – from working singles to young families, established professionals and retirees.

Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group, says that estate living is a global phenomenon that first came to SA in the 1980s, but really started to catch on from the mid 1990s. Today these properties represent an estimated total value of some R643 billion.

“South African home buyers are increasingly focused on living in a secure environment while having easy access to amenities and outdoor and sporting activities. There are now a variety of different types of estates around the country including golf, lifestyle, eco, wildlife, fishing, wine and equestrian properties, which have been developed to meet the demands of an increasingly diverse and sophisticated market.”

Just what accounts for the popularity of these homes? Dr Golding says that there are a number of different reasons why South Africans are attracted to estate properties. He suggests that one factor that has given this particular market a proverbial shot in the arm is that estate developers are catering for and succeeding in attracting buyers who have a broad variety of needs and tastes.

“Key factors contributing to the popularity of estate living are security and location — with those situated in and around major metropolitan areas or business hubs and in close proximity to good schooling proving among the most sought after and successful. Many buyers also perceive that the demand for this type of housing has created a sound investment that will appreciate in value or generate good rental income.”

“Indicative of the quality of offering and sound medium to long term investment potential, estate homes have in the past been on the upper end of the property pricing spectrum “Many buyers typically ‘buy-up’ from their previous home, often by as much as twice the value of the non-estate property they sold.”

“However, with the introduction of sectional title opportunities in many of the newer estates, these properties are no longer exclusively limited to those in the higher income brackets. In other words, while estate living is still associated with more wealthy individuals, it has become more accessible in recent years. Some 25% of estate property purchasers are first-time buyers.”

Dr Golding points out that highly innovative, modern mixed-use developments such as the new Steyn City lifestyle resort in the burgeoning Fourways area of Johannesburg, are offering a range of quality accommodation, including a variety of different types of clusters, townhouses, apartments and retirement homes all set on a substantial 2 000 acres of attractive leafy estate.

“Estate properties provide a secure lifestyle, which has become increasingly important in South Africa, but also offer access to high quality recreational facilities, provide a strong sense of community and give residents greater control over shared expenditure and development. The latter has become more important in the current environment of load-shedding and rising utility bills.”

According to Pam Golding Properties research data, approximately half of all estates in South Africa are located in Gauteng, with a further 25% in the Western Cape. The proliferation of estates in Gauteng has been driven by the combination of factors including property development in line with economic growth and a desire for greater security. In 2013, the great majority of properties in gated communities were located in security estates (85%) and golf estates (12%), while the remainder were located in other kinds of more niche developments.

“The concept of the South African residential estate was pioneered in the Fourways area in the 1980s, and is a model that caught on around the country,” notes Dr Golding.

In his view, Fourways continues to pioneer this market and points to its future. “Apart from Steyn City, today there are a number of highly prestigious estates in the area including well-known names such as Dainfern, Dainfern Valley, Fourways Gardens, Cedar Lakes, Blair Atholl, Monaghan Farm and Helderfontein. These are only the better known estates in the region; there are also a number of other smaller ones including Waterford Estate and Stratford Gardens, to name just two. The residential property market in Fourways is to a large extent being driven by the burgeoning demand for estate homes in the area.”

Dr Golding says the innovative Steyn City lifestyle resort in Fourways is offering a completely new concept in estate living. “In my view Steyn City is a breakthrough lifestyle concept which will resonate with home buyers, and no doubt many of the ideas being pioneered here will be imitated in other South African developments of the future.”

When it is completed this development will be a completely self-contained community in which residents can live securely while having every convenience, including commercial enterprises, offices, schools and crèches as well as medical, sporting and other facilities close at hand.

Jason Shaw, Pam Golding Properties manager of the Fourways and Midrand regions, says: “It is easy to see why estate properties in the greater Fourways area are always in demand. Residential estates here not only offer a lifestyle that is hard to beat but, with few exceptions, they are secure, well maintained and have good facilities. They also provide residents with the opportunity to live in attractive village-type communities in close proximity to the heart of booming Fourways, as well as some of the very finest educational institutions in Johannesburg.”

“With residential, commercial and office spaces being developed and numerous infrastructure upgrades taking place, the greater Fourways area is one of the fastest growing areas in Johannesburg and is being touted as the next Sandton. Both residents and developers are appreciating the good growth prospects the area offers,” adds Shaw.

In his view, the estate properties of Fourways offer some of the best value for money in Johannesburg, with a range of different styles and types of homes available. Stands vary in size from about 600 sqm to 1 200 sqm and are set in attractive environs.

“In addition, the rentals market in the area is one of the strongest in Gauteng benefiting from the fact that large numbers of international corporations look for homes in estates in the area which can provide upmarket, secure accommodation for their employees. A number of investors make excellent returns from this buy-to-let market.”

“The Fourways area is rapidly on the rise and with it we see estate properties in the area, particularly a unique product such as Steyn City, only becoming more popular in future,” concludes Shaw.