It’s not often that one offering ticks all the boxes for several groups of users, but multi-generational estates seem to be doing just that.
Multi-generational living is an established and growing trend in SA. Whether it’s for community, security or economic reasons, more and more secure lifestyle estates are embracing young, old and everyone in between.
Why multi-generational? It’s not easy to please different generations with a single product, yet this sort of estate development is clearly doing something right. The appeal is in full title homes and sectional title apartments at a variety of price points, catering for the needs of single owners, families, downscaling couples and early retirees.
Pam Golding Property Group CEO Andrew Golding says the fact that estates are including a wider range of accommodation – sectional title and retirement villages – suggests that demand is across the board, not only from the high-end buyer. As congestion increases and security remains a priority, estate living becomes more popular. Similarly, as estates become more sustainable in terms of maintenance and operational aspects, their appeal to a broader buyer type grows.
Citing Lightstone Property estimates that there are just more than 450,000 properties located within about 8,600 estates across SA, Golding says 80.9% of those are freehold. An estimated 214 retirement developments are located in lifestyle estates.
“While total estate sales have slowed in recent years, in line with an overall slowdown in the national housing market, estates have retained market share. They account for about 14.5% of total market sales, with buyers generally being prepared to pay a premium to enjoy the lifestyle.”
A successful example of multi-generational living can be found at Clara Anna Fontein, a secure lifestyle estate in Durbanville. Freestanding plot-and-plan options at The Village include single and double-storey homes starting at R3.95m.
A drawcard for families is the school Reddam House Durbanville on the property, whereas retirement focused Oasis Life Clara Anna Fontein is currently under construction – three furnished showhouses opened in November. These homes start from R2.35m and include access to an exclusive Oasis Life clubhouse and to the larger estate’s lifestyle centre facilities.
“Ranging from large family homes, smaller lock-up-and-go homes and the retirement estate, the ultimate multigenerational lifestyle is definitely found here,” says Rabie Property Group director John Chapman. “Children can cycle or walk to school without leaving the estate, or grandparents can take a stroll across to collect their grandchildren.”
Also located in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs, Buh-Rein is a popular estate that doubles as a suburb, with easy access to major highways. It embraces the multi-generational trend by offering a secure environment close to schools, shopping, recreation and hospitals.
Buh-Rein’s appeal lies in good-value sectional title apartments, townhouses and freestanding homes. Sterling Grove townhouses start from R1.819m, and Blue Lily Lane apartments from R1.159m.
Its latest addition is Buh- Rein Retirement Village. After record sales of R177m achieved for the sold-out Phase 1, Phase 2 has just launched. Apartments start from R1,159,900.
“Affordability is key, especially in the retirement market. The number of units assist in keeping monthly levies as low as possible,” says Multi Spectrum Properties (MSP) project liaison manager Werner Scheffer. “When looking at the retirement space, the price points, monthly levies and what the village offers in medical care and additional amenities are vital. These three topics set Buh-Rein Retirement Village apart.”
Nearby Burgundy Estate, where attractive multi-generational amenities include three schools, convenience shopping and a mashie golf course, also just launched an Oasis Life retirement component. The new Oasis Life Burgundy Estate offers cottages and low-rise apartments for retirees only, situated within a secure perimeter and a gate that is manned 24/7.
“With the central location and the benefit of an established multi-generational estate, we’re able to offer senior residents great value,” says Rabie Property Group director Miguel Rodrigues. Apartments on the life rights model are priced from R995,000. Good security is key to the appeal of any estate targeting South Africans. In Port Elizabeth, Westbrook MD Clifford Oosthuizen says a full title home just cannot compete with a multi-generational estate offering. “Westbrook offers a safe environment together with lifestyle living not often found in Port Elizabeth.”
Oosthuizen says this development’s location is as close as you’ll get to the “old PE” many residents are familiar with. Equally important is lifestyle. In general, the larger the estate, the more amenities available to residents. Here they range from sporting facilities, communal pools and parks to a Curro school and shopping.
A larger estate also makes it possible for various generations to mingle without being in one another’s pockets, Oosthuizen says. Westbrook will ultimately have nine residential villages, of which the first, The Ridge, was completed in June.
What makes a multi-generational estate a solid investment for a Johannesburg resident in the vicinity of Fourways and Lanseria? It caters for all life stages and provides every conceivable amenity, says Steyn City sales manager Lambert Bezuidenhout.
“The ‘new north’ is attracting a growing number of residents and businesses. We predict it will one day be the future CBD of Johannesburg, Midrand and Pretoria, particularly given the planned upgrades to Lanseria Airport and the Gautrain station earmarked for Fourways,” he says.
In Steyn City, 65 on Park offers the convenience of a lock-up-and-go lifestyle in 60 beautifully appointed cluster homes priced from R4.8m. These properties are situated on a terraced site in Park Ridge village, with three bedrooms and a double garage each.
“We have more than 100 reasons why potential investors would want to make Steyn City their home,” adds Bezuidenhout. “They include the Nicklaus-Design championship golf course and a deluxe clubhouse; an equestrian centre; an indoor aquatic centre with a 25m heated pool; 45km of promenade for running, walking or cycling; and outdoor gyms, resort pools, a skate park, a dino park and children’s play nodes, along with 800ha to explore in a secure environment.”
Homeowner access to extensive luxury estate facilities is a prime driver of Val de Vie Estate’s appeal too. This sought after multi-generational Winelands estate recently launched Phase 2 of the Pearl Valley Hotel by Mantis (an additional 40 rooms to complement the 40 already built). In this sectional title development, buyers get 30 days’ usage, 30 days’ golf membership, a good return on rental pool income and reduced rates over 30 days, which can be swapped out with St Francis Links Hotel and Simbithi Hotel. Priced from R2.2m each, the stylish 70m2 units include kitchenettes.
“This fills a gap below our sectional title apartment living for swallows or people who come to the Cape Winelands for fewer than three months,” says group marketing director Ryk Neethling. “We have sold 75% so far.”
Retire in Style
Evergreen Val de Vie and Evergreen Sitari, which is currently under construction in Somerset West, both offer multi-generational living within existing residential estates. Although clustered, these retirement units are not far from estate homes occupied by families.
As Neethling points out, the Val de Vie Evergreen life rights model is ideal if you are in the fortunate position of seeking a “luxurious worry-free retirement”.
“South African purchasers are generally scaling down in terms of house size but scaling up in terms of lifestyle – access to technology, resort-style facilities, security and care when needed to avoid the need to relocate later in life,” says Evergreen Retirement Holdings brand marketing director Arthur Case.
Evergreen Lake Michelle differs from other multi-generational models in this portfolio – its retirement units are built among the family homes, offering truly integrated living. All Evergreen developments use the life rights purchase model. The company plans to bring this concept to KwaZulu-Natal too, with construction starting in 2020.
Ultimately buyers are spoilt for choice with a range of price points and home configurations, whether they buy into a multi-generational estate or a lifestyle apartment or home aimed at retirees only.
They might escape north of White River to invest in Nooitgedacht Manor, near the Kruger National Park. Devmark’s five phases of development here will eventually offer retirees freehold homes, apartments and a sub-acute hospital.
Retirees could also settle for Groot Parys Lifestyle Estate on a working farm outside Paarl, where twoto four-bedroom freehold homes cater for over-50s keen on country living and access to prime golfing at nearby Boschenmeer. Equally promising is its investment potential. “This is a freehold property. All the profit gained in years to come accrues to the owner,” says Groot Parys realtor Reon van der Merwe. “Prices are already up by 10% within the first year.”
Life Rights v Full or Sectional Title
On the one hand, retirees can buy a sectional title or freehold property in a retirement village. On the other, the life rights model. What are the pros and cons?
“Life rights mean a person buys the right to occupy a property for the rest of their life,” says Evergreen’s Arthur Case. “Typically, this is done via a once-off payment, with the original capital returning to the estate of the life rights holder when they pass away. The person has the security of guaranteed lifetime occupation of a property.”
Case believes more should be done to highlight investment strategies around retiring. Decumulation is when a person starts drawing retirement income from their portfolio. A key concern is whether enough will be saved.
Some life rights packages offer flexible pricing models to accommodate decumulation. “The standard strategy would be to pay the purchase price for the unit that is aligned to the market value. However, if this is unaffordable, the developer can reduce the purchase price and is then compensated by reducing the capital paid back at the end, so the person’s estate might only get back 60% to 80% of the original capital,” says Case.
This option can be a boost for retirees concerned about the possibility of entering a decumulation life stage. “The Evergreen life rights model offers tremendous flexibility, with options including flexible purchase pricing and access to emergency capital during the life rights tenure,” Case explains.
Werner Scheffer of MSP backs a free-market retirement investing perspective, saying that if a 50-or-older buyer can afford it, sectional title is a better long-term investment strategy. Buh-Rein Retirement Village is sold as sectional title, meaning the property transfers to the name of the buyer and can be sold or bequeathed to an estate. “It offers exceptional growth potential as an investment. We have seen numerous younger buyers purchasing these apartments as a buy-tolet investment now, while already securing a place where they can stay when they reach retirement age,” says Scheffer.
His views are echoed by Reon van der Merwe of Groot Parys. “Freehold and sectional title offer capital growth. Life rights is not ownership but merely a rental for life,” he says. “There is no comparison.”