The Helderberg area is a high demand property area. That’s good news. It means purchasers see the benefits of the lifestyle offered here, and want to move here with their families. This increased demand means there is positive upwards pressure on property values, and a market for new properties to be constructed.
I remember the days when Somerset West was a sleepy town. There was hardly any traffic, kids played in the streets, and we really lived in a “village”. That has changed. Change is inevitable and it occurs worldwide, whether we like it or not.
With the increased demand for more homes available undeveloped land is being earmarked for development, and council generally wants to increase the density – meaning more homes in smaller areas. It’s a fact of life. We need to accept it.
But is it such a bad thing for you and your property when a new development is proposed for your area? In most cases, no! Council, whilst wanting to increase density, also has many checks and balances in place to ensure a new development enhances the surrounding area, and that services can cope with increased demand.
For example, studies need to be done on the traffic and environmental impact. New developments have to complement the style, architecture, and theme of the suburb. In many cases the developers need to make significant financial contributions to the upgrade of surrounding roads, verges, and service upgrades. This means that the local ratepayer isn’t paying for these upgrades, but can enjoy the benefits.
Public comment is an important part of the process of ensuring that a new development is the best possible use of the land. But comment should be balanced and the bigger picture should be kept in mind. As hard as it may sometimes be, emotion and sentiment can sometimes cloud our judgment. The reality is that development is here to stay and impacted parties need to work together to address reasonable concerns.
When there is a reasonable and positive approach to proposed development there are tangible benefits for all. Large unoccupied or unkempt parcels of land could invite unwanted elements and vagrants, and seldom enhance an area. A new development fills an important housing need and creates employment and revenue. And it must be said that a development needs to be feasible for the developer, in that it needs to be profitable in relation to the financial risk of development.
When council requirements are met, and the developer works with the neighbors to improve the area, there is a positive impact on neighboring property values. And don’t underestimate the benefit of service upgrades funded by the developer. There is a significant cost saving to the local council and to the ratepayer.
Change, for the most part, is never easy. But where affected parties adopt a positive approach development can have a very positive effect on all concerned, and fill an important need in an area we’re proud to call home.
Principal of Harcourts Platinum, and Director of Harcourts South Africa
Email your real estate question to firstname.lastname@example.org.