Back in the 1980’s a gated estate was a rarity, and usually applied only to sectional title complexes. In most cases normal residential properties weren’t even walled to the road – and you could almost always walk to the front door and ring the doorbell.
Even in the early 1990’s I can recall that Johannesburg buyers would often remark at the fact that most of our properties didn’t have high walls around them, and electric fencing was certainly never seen.
How things have changed. It’s now the exception to be able to walk to a front door. Six-foot walls surround almost every home, and electric fencing is not uncommon. It’s a harsh reality of our modern world that most property owners have gone to these extremes to protect their families and their possessions from crime.
Gated estates started to make their appearance in the 1990’s, but they were still the exception and many buyers steered clear of them as they didn’t like the “rules and regulations” of these estates. Today things are different.
By far the majority of new developments are now gated estates that offer their residents, at a minimum, an enclosed boundary and entrance gate with controlled access. In many cases the level of security is increased to include security guards, electric fencing, and security cameras. Whilst no guarantee that you won’t be affected by crime, they are a very strong deterrent, and criminals will usually go for softer targets.
It’s no surprise then that many purchasers are moving towards homes within the confines of gated estates. In many cases these properties don’t cost much more than similar properties in the suburbs, with developers realizing they need to encourage sales in a competitive market. Strong demand at Kelderhof Country Village, Croydon Olive and Vineyard estates, and the successes of Erinvale, Boskloof, Schonenberg Estate and Heritage Park prove the point.
What are the possible negatives with living in such an estate? Every estate will have rules and regulations, which are there for the benefit and comfort of residents – but in some cases this could require a measure of cooperation and sacrifice. You also have levies to pay for the benefit of the security, the maintenance of common property, and general upkeep of the estate.
In most cases these estates have a Home Owners Association and specific architectural and design guidelines have to be adhered to so that that there is a uniform theme in the estate. This does limit one when it comes to building or improving a home – but the benefit is an estate with a strong identity and minimum standards, which will ultimately protect your investment.
So yes – there is a price to pay, albeit a modest one. Current sales show though, that purchasers see the benefits as the demand for properties in gated estates continues to grow at a record rate.
Principal of Harcourts Platinum, and Director of Harcourts South Africa
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