More buyers opt for homes in gated estates although they cost 50% more

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

An increasing number of homebuyers looking for tighter security choose to live in gated estates, which has resulted in a boom in these communities.

Buyers are prepared to pay up to 50percent more for houses in these communities.

The Lightstone Propriety Freehold Estates survey shows that South Africa has 1435 registered gated estates, containing 140000 properties. The estates provide a secure lifestyle, which is an important factor given the level of crime in South Africa .

The survey also shows that the high-quality recreational facilities and a sense of community make the security estates attractive and give them more control over community expenditure and development.

With 900 estates, Gauteng has the most gated communities - 61percent of the national total. It is followed by the Western Cape with 440 estates. The remaining properties from other provinces are made up largely of estate developments in rural and inland areas as leisure and holiday estates.

The Lighthouse director of business development, Andrew Watt, said 60percent of buyers in gated communities were over 30 years old, white, male, first-time homebuyers.

Up-and-coming, first-time buying black women who are over 30 make up 25percent of gated estate property owners.

Watt said the gated estates cost from R750000.

He said: "There are many examples of buyers spending at least 50percent more for an estate property than the non-estate they had sold."

Watt advised people to primarily look at the management of a gated estate before deciding to purchase.

He said: "If you are buying the property as a primary residence, look for easy commute to work, education facilities, shopping centre access, a community forum and the level of security."

Watt said freehold residents should compare and question security in their neighbourhoods as most of the time, security was provided by the same companies that operated in gated estates.

"There are lessons that we can all learn from the gated estates in getting to know our neighbours and establishing better and discreet security measures to make every homeowner feel safe," he said.