Living in a secure estate is the dream for many in SA – from youngsters to retirees

The security, space, and facilities offered by secure estates is increasing demand for these homes. Picture: Max Vakhtbovych/Pexels

The security, space, and facilities offered by secure estates is increasing demand for these homes. Picture: Max Vakhtbovych/Pexels

Published Jul 26, 2022


Living in a secure estate is a dream of many South Africans, regardless of age, and this desire is being seen in the growing demand for such properties.

Whether one is looking to retire, raise a family, or have the convenience of lock-up-and-go living as a young professional, the community and security elements of modern estate developments is undoubtedly alluring.

The trend to move to secure retirement environments is on the up, says developer of Knysna Lifestyle Estates Ian Raubenheimer, and if such developments take factors such as space, privacy, health care, and support into consideration, demand will be good.

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There will also be “high demand” in the Western Cape and Garden Route particularly as retired city folk feel the need to escape their urban lifestyles and retire to destinations where these factors, and security, are provided.

“Smaller towns such as Knysna are in a position to offer all these factors to retirees along with the beautiful surroundings of the Garden Route.”

The demand for secure estate living generally is high, and the Garden Route has many new developments to suits all buyer types, from first-timers to retirees.

“Retirees do not want to find themselves in positions where they have large homes to maintain, thus buying into an established development where homes and gardens are maintained is of great importance. In current times retirees are independent and even though they may want to be near to family, they do not want to rely on their families to look after them in later years, preferring to have health care on hand where possible.

“A strong support base within a secure retirement estate, making friends with like-minded individuals, and still being able to enjoy a sense of space and privacy have become driving factors in their choice of retirement homes.”

Raubenheimer uses the 52-hectare Knysna Lifestyle Estate has an example of one that offers the element of space as it “boasts a density of a mere five homes per hectare – one of the lowest residential densities of any similar lifestyle estate in South Africa.”

“This is not your average lifestyle retirement village. Combining both freehold luxury homes and life right assisted living units, residents enjoy the space allowing for privacy, yet the health facilities are still close enough for care.”

Space, privacy, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing healthcare is instantly available are important to most retirees.

He adds: “The pandemic has strengthened the need to respect homeowner’s rights to space and privacy, thus retirement developments are changing from traditional setups where homes were built in cramped environments with little space.”

In KwaZulu-Natal, however, the recent floods hampered what was a “reasonably buoyant” retirement estate market at the beginning of the year, says Phil Barker of Renishaw Hills. This was mainly due to prospective purchasers curtailing their travelling as roads, including freeways, were in poor states.

“Infrastructure has still not been fully restored but the market has picked up from late May,” he says, noting that, at Renishaw Hills – and all estates offering what is perceived by the market to be good value, demand remains pretty good.

“We are of the opinion that demand will continue to grow, so there is room for further developments...We see the increased demand likely to be concentrated in areas offering relaxed, outdoor lifestyle opportunities, such as good weather, warm seas, accessible beaches, and nature trails.

“Coastal properties remain popular and we would expect this section of the market to outperform, in terms of return on investment.”

Trends that Barker has noticed through his interactions with prospective Renishaw Hills investors include increased interest in nature trails, surrounding coastal forest, grasslands, and wetlands. Another major demand of newer developments is in-house facilities to decrease reliance on municipal services, solar power, boreholes, water treatment plants, and waste treatment works.

He adds: “The demand for secure and safe living with access to efficient para-medic services and good medical facilities has increased dramatically and we believe will continue to do so. The current retiring generation – the so-called baby boomers – are also demanding facilities to enable fitness and fun activities as they seek new adventure after retirement from the corporate world. And newer estates are offering it all.

Homes prices at R1.3 million are the most sought-after in South Africa, says Geoff Perkins, head of Collins Residential Projects, and the most active seller market is for properties between R700 000 and R2m that offer access to schools, public transport, fibre optics, and are close to shopping centres and amenities.

“There is a higher demand in the higher price brackets within the luxury markets, or within luxury areas.”

The Covid-19 pandemic was also an “enormous boost” for the property market as interest rates were low and mortgage conditions favourable.

“The pandemic [and remote working] drove many people to buy homes in smaller coastal and country towns.”

He says that, August 2020 to July 2021, 1 798 transfers took place within KZN’s greater North Coast, 88% of which were within secure gated communities.

Home layout trends for properties within secure estates include:

  • Multifunctional spaces rather than open layout; broken plan layouts that have a clear distinction between living and working spaces
  • Showstopper kitchens – more money being put into design, aesthetic factor and functionality remain important while classic white and rich and earthy hues are still trending
  • Design that enhances wellbeing – increase in connectivity to the natural environment using nature, emphasis in creating calming, well-ventilated plant-filled environments
  • Smarter homes

Facilities in demand, Perkins says, include pools, kids, play areas, clubhouses, and sufficient visitor parking. Pet-friendly properties are also sought-after.

Begin your search for a home in a secure estate here.