Not too long ago, the primary drawcard of residential estates was the peace of mind afforded by enhanced security with a handful offering the additional benefit of a golf course, but the traditional model has evolved, with a proliferation of lifestyle estates now catering to myriad lifestyle preferences.
And South Africa, which is regarded by Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, as a global pioneer in residential estate living with more golf and lifestyle estates than any other country in the world, continues to lead the charge and pave the way.
With more and more people making major lifestyle changes in recent years, developers have augmented their offerings to cater to these needs and, as a result, not only do most estates now offer additional amenities, in many instances, they are more like integrated villages than residential developments.
Steve Thomas, Secure Estate Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty in Constantiaberg, says: "It's become increasingly common for an estate to at least offer a clubhouse or fitness centre and one or two sporting facilities, and many now also offer restaurant and retail components and some are even adding schools."
He adds that there is also an increasing number of estates that cater to niche markets, such as eco estates and equestrian developments.
"Traditionally, buildings were purposely designed to separate and insulate us from nature, but we are becoming increasingly aware of the myriad benefits of being in a natural environment.
"People are not only wanting to escape the congestion of city living but are also in search of a more tranquil lifestyle in closer harmony with nature, and there has been a notable move towards more environmentally conscious building and living.
"Additionally, the burgeoning demand for homes in secure estates during in recent years has precipitated a move from rampant development to sustainable, environmentally conscious building in this sector and we have begun to see a growing number of eco-estates, especially along South Africa's scenic coastal areas.
"Estates like Stonehurst and Chapman's Bay have perfected the fine balance between ecological sensitivity and meeting the modern-day lifestyle needs of residents."
Ongoing densification has also led to the establishment of equestrian estates, and in the Cape Winelands, these have become more mainstream than niche in recent years, according to Chris Cilliers, CEO and Co-Principal of Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty in the Winelands.
"Equestrian people have a unique set of requirements. Not only do they want secure and carefree living for themselves but they also want a secure and healthy living environment for their horses with plenty of space and exercise facilities as well as safe areas for outriding.
"Most equestrian estates also offer larger plot sizes which appeals to people who prefer a more rural lifestyle.
"There are now a number of top-class equestrian estates in the region, including Val de Vie which also has polo fields, High Riding, Tre Donne in The Winelands, Wedderwill in Helderberg and Klein Zevenwacht in Kuilsriver."
She adds that parkland and wildlife estates with parks, birdlife, wildlife, walks and trails are becoming more popular, especially with city dwellers looking to enjoy a country lifestyle within a secure setting.
"For instance, sustainability has been at the heart of the Val de Vies ethos since inception in 2004, and the estates 40-hectare biodiversity corridor rehabilitation program is designed to rehabilitate the area back to a more natural ecologically functional unit.
"It's now home to over a hundred bird species as well as small mammals such as duiker and African porcupines and 12 large lakes totalling 8 hectares are habitat for Cape clawless otters and a wide range of waterfowl and fish."
South Africa is also home to a number of super estates, the first being the merging of Pearl Valley and Val de Vie a few years ago. This sought-after estate now offers upmarket multigenerational living with a luxury retirement component included and a host of world-class facilities including restaurants, sports centres, a business centre and equestrian centre.
In Gauteng, Steyn City is leading the charge and, although not yet complete, already offers residents a choice of restaurants and delis, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus designed golf course, an equestrian centre, tennis, cycling tracks, parkland facilities, gyms and an aquatic centre to name but a few.
According to Philip Myburgh, Co-Principal for the group in the Greater Fourways area, the estate is fast becoming extremely popular for its security, exclusivity, and myriad facilities which will also include schools, a shopping mall and even a beach once finished.
"This is most certainly becoming the place to live and be seen and we receive enquiries from across the board, however, the estate is an exclusive one and is pricey to get into although, considering all the on-site facilities and exceptional quality, it offers excellent value for money."
Thomas concludes: "Residential estates have continued to buck the downward trend in the property market by consistently attracting buyers, despite the economic climate.
"Young families are especially increasingly drawn to secure lifestyle estates where their children can safely play and onsite amenities like fitness centres and sports facilities mean that people can also avoid additional driving to places like gyms and tennis clubs.
"Most estates also offer a great sense of community which has been lacking in traditional suburban areas for many years and those which offer multigenerational living and retirement facilities mean that families can also stay together and live in the same community."
Article published courtesy of My Property
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