Are Gated Estates Safer to Live In?

With so many new Gated Estates popping up all over the Helderberg Basin, buyers often ask us if it’s really that much safer living in such an estate.

That’s an important question to answer, as the safety of our families is of paramount importance.  Sadly, crime is on the rise and we’ve all seen the impact in our area over the last few years.

To answer the question, you would first need to determine what kind of security an estate offers.  There are varying levels of security and they will definitely have an impact on the safety of residents.

The most basic form of security is a wall or fence surrounding the estate, with controlled gate access.  Whilst this is a deterrent to criminals, there would need to be perimeter electric fencing and an effective monitoring system to be effective.

The next level of security would be an estate with a manned guardhouse.  Having security personnel on site has a significant impact on the effectiveness of the security, but on the proviso that the guards are provided by a reputable company and are properly screened.  If not, your guards could be the weak link in your security system.  On the negative side, your levy costs will significantly increase to cover these additional costs.

The ultimate is a multi-tier security system such as those found on larger estates that have a higher number of homeowners to cover the cost.  These state-of-the-art systems include camera surveillance, biometric access (fingerprint scanning), security beams, and early-warning alert systems.

Criminals will generally look for the soft target properties before they consider breaking into secure estates.  However, where they identify easy access points they are brazen enough to enter estates.  This is especially true when they access inside information from people working in the estate.

In fact, most incidents of burglary in gated estates are committed by “insiders” – and this is true across the board.

Where top-end security systems are in place there will always we an associated cost that the homeowners need to cover in the form of their higher monthly levy.  At the end of the day, if the security is effective then most homeowners will feel that they are getting value for the cost.  After all, what price do you place on your personal safety?

It’s interesting to note that demand for property inside secure estates exceeds that of property outside estates.  This is a trend that was noted over a decade ago and it’s unlikely that it will change in the future.

Where there is increased demand for property inside estates there is a resultant upwards pressure on property values.  It’s no surprise that property values in gated estates escalate at a higher rate than those in the suburbs – thus making it a great investment.

Steve Caradoc-Davies

Director, Harcourts Platinum

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