SA’s rich brigade living the high-walled life
Security is top of the list for SA's wealthy, who are increasingly moving to plush residential estates
A hankering for security, water and energy-efficient homes and easy access to amenities and outdoor activities are driving more wealthy South Africans to seek estate-style living.
Sandton-based global market research group New World Wealth this week revealed SA’s top residential estates after visiting a number of high-end sprawling properties, including lifestyle, wildlife, golf and equestrian estates across the country.
Those estates that made the elite list scored top marks in the ratings criteria, which included security, facilities, activities, views, scenery, wildlife, location, maintenance, design and space.
Communal gardens and parks were also assessed by the research team.
Zimbali, Fancourt, Val de Vie, Steyn City, Waterfall Equestrian Estate, Pezula, Atlantic Beach, Arabella, Blair Atholl and Whalerock Ridge made the list, which is not ranked but in random order.
SA real estate adviser Basil Weinrich, who helped compile the ratings, said residential estate living was on the rise, especially among the more affluent.
“We estimate that over 40% of South African high-net-worth individuals live or have homes on residential estates.
“The New World Wealth report said although the residential market in SA had come under strain in the past year, houses and apartments on top-end residential estates have outperformed the general market.
“Most developers are now creating small neighbourhoods within the estates, as opposed to the old model where houses were spaced evenly around the entire property.
“The new model allows for more parkland and open spaces between the neighbourhoods.
“Weinrich cited SA as one of the global pioneers in residential estate living.
“In fact, the only country with more residential estates than SA is the USA ... ”
Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property Group, said residential estates were already “very popular” in SA and held an ongoing appeal for homebuyers especially those seeking “a secure, family-oriented lifestyle”.
“Estate living is a global phenomenon that first came to SA in the 1980s, but really started to catch on from the mid-1990s.
“Today, homebuyers are increasingly focused on living in a secure environment while having easy access to amenities and outdoor and sporting activities.
“Wellness, fishing, walking and other sporting pursuits are all used to differentiate the product offering from one estate to another,” said Golding.
“The fact that more and more estates are including a wider range of accommodation – sectional title and retirement villages – suggests that demand is across the board, not just from the high-end buyer.
“As congestion grows and security remains a priority, estate living becomes more popular. Similarly, with estates becoming more sustainable the appeal to all buyers also grows.”
So what are the main factors driving people to buy within estates?
Golding believes security and a “generally less stressful lifestyle in like-minded communities with leisure activities and facilities” are the main attractions.
“This means that residents can enjoy a different lifestyle and much more than one would experience in a traditional suburb.
“Sustainability is becoming more of an issue – not only in part because of the rising costs of utilities but also because of inconsistent service delivery – scarcity of water and electricity blackouts – and also because climate change is making people aware of the need for a water- and energy-efficient home and for self-sufficiency in terms of solar and boreholes/grey water.
“Often these are easier to provide in new developments, and many of the new estates are focusing on that,” said Golding.
Olympic medallist Ryk Neethling, Val de Vie’s marketing director, said security was top of the list for residents of the exclusive Western Cape estate.
“For 99% of the people that come here, security is the number one thing. 50% of our residents come from Gauteng, and some have had an experience with violence. I can still be humble and say that no other estate in the world offers the facilities and amenities that we have here.”
Phil van Staden, general manager of Pezula Golf Estate, near Kynsna, Western Cape, said the estate was “committed to providing residents with state-of-the-art perimeter security and access control, as well as other measures to ensure a safe and enjoyable living environment”.