Globally more families are choosing to live together, not only for the sake of community but also to share costs owing to financial constraints caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. We look at what some of SA’s multigenerational estates offer
WORDS: HELÉNE MEISSENHEIMER – PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Over the past two decades there has been a global return to the multigenerational household where adults from different generations of the same family live together. This is the way nearly one in five people in the US and in Australia live. The trend is on the rise in SA too: in November 2019 Statistics SA said 32.2% of homes in the property market housed multigenerational families. Contributing factors include the high cost of living that makes it hard for young professionals to live on their own and growing concerns about the safety and isolation of elderly relatives. With many businesses closing or scaling down over the lockdown period, resulting in millions of job losses, more families will likely choose to live together or in close proximity. The lockdown has proved to many homeowners the benefit of living in a spacious and safe environment. Multigenerational estates provide a secure and pleasant living space where grandparents and/or young adults can live with or close to their families. And while most home sales plummeted, sales in residential estates held their own and often even exceeded sales in pre-lockdown months.
“This setup benefits each generation, with young children reaping the rewards of close proximity to their parents and grandparents. Conversely, older generations who aren’t yet ready to move into a retirement village are able to mingle with diverse age groups,” explains Clifford Oosthuizen, MD of Westbrook, a multigenerational estate in the Eastern Cape. As multigenerational estates across SA evolve, they embrace more investment brackets by offering a mix of apartments, townhouses and freestanding units of one to five bedrooms, priced anywhere from R1.2m. In addition, many allow for the option to build additional rooms either within the home or in a “granny flat”. We took a closer look at multigenerational estates in the major provinces:
Gauteng is SA’s economic heartbeat and home to many sought-after residential estates. Steyn City is a multibillion-rand luxury lifestyle development just north of Fourways in Midrand. Named Gauteng’s Top Residential Estate for 2019, this development will be the country’s largest parkland residence once it is completed. Strict safety and security measures include access control, foot patrols and a nerve security centre. The Steyn City School is located on site with an internal school shuttle, whereas Capital Park offers AAA-grade commercial offices. Residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to recreational amenities. Besides 45km of trails for walking, running or cycling safely, the estate has an equestrian centre, a golf course and a clubhouse with an indoor aquatic centre, outdoor yoga stations, a gym, children’s play nodes and restaurants.
Sales manager Lambert Bezuidenhout says the combination of safety and security with all the well-appointed facilities and sprawling parkland has contributed to the increase in sales recently, even though prices have plummeted. Craft Homes’ The Terrace at Sandton Gate is another luxury lifestyle development that offers spacious modern apartments with all the benefits of suburban living mere minutes from Sandton CBD. There is an on-site gym, restaurants, beauty salons, a bustling piazza and premium-grade offices. From their own private balconies, residents will have a beautiful view of adjacent Braamfontein Spruit, one of Johannesburg’s longest natural green belts. The Terrace launches exclusively online on August 6 and homes can be viewed and even purchased through Craft Homes’ unique portal.
Top real estate firms report that luxury estates on the North Coast continue to attract the interest of high-end buyers despite the challenging market. Two luxury beachfront homes were sold in Zimbali Coastal Estate, one of the first resort housing estates developed near Ballito, says Andreas Wassenaar, licensee for Seeff Zimbali. The estate includes two five-star hotels, an 18-hole championship golf course and 3.5km of beachfront. Restaurants, swimming pools, sport facilities, a children’s play area and a world-class gymnasium and fitness centre are among the superior amenities.
Another development near Ballito now offering multigenerational living is Brettenwood Coastal Estate. “We cater for families at every stage of life,” says marketing manager Michelle Larkens. “This concept allows grandparents to live close to their children and grandchildren, with everyone enjoying a quality way of life.” Retail outlets, private hospitals and schools are available in surrounding towns, whereas on the estate residents have access to a clubhouse, a restaurant, walking trails, children’s play areas, a gym, a lap pool and a heated aerobics pool.
“This concept allows grandparents to live close to their children and grandchildren, with everyone enjoying a quality way of life” Michelle Larkens, Marketing manager, Brettenwood Coastal Estate
Known for its natural beauty, top schools and tertiary education facilities, wine estates and golf courses, the Cape remains in high demand. Lightstone Property reported in December 2019 that a quarter of the country’s estimated 6,500 gated and estate properties are in the Western Cape. Val de Vie Estate marketing manager Marli van Schalkwyk says there has been great interest in this estate near Paarl since the start of the lockdown, with enquiries at an all-time high. “During this time consumers focus much more on wellness,” she says. Val de Vie is a wine, polo and golf estate with landscaped gardens, parks, running and cycling trails as well as fishing and picnic spots. It also has a golf course, tennis and squash courts, swimming pools, lifestyle centres, restaurants and equestrian facilities.
“We have noticed during this time that consumers focus much more on wellness” Marli van Schalkwyk, marketing manager, Val de Vie Estate
Alexander Forbes Investments executive chief economist Lesiba Mothata believes the full potential of second-tier cities in SA has yet to be harnessed. Port Elizabeth is one of the towns Mothata says holds promise for future economic and industrial growth. For this reason, the Amdec Group has been developing the Westbrook mega-estate here. The Ridge, the first of nine villages, is almost sold out and, according to MD Clifford Oosthuizen, the turnover in June was higher compared with the past six to 12 months.
“Because of the lockdown, buyers are drawn to investment options that offer plenty of space,” he says. Amenities at the 128ha development include a Curro school, frail care facilities and 24-hour medical assistance. Westbrook will comprise 3,500 homes around a “town square” with commercial and retail offerings. Homes are designed to include a loft or owners can use the fourth bedroom as an office, as more people are having to continue working remotely.