Safe as houses: bring children and pets

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Secure lifestyle estates and retirement estates that are pet friendly or have schools on their premises are attracting homebuyers of all ages


Families with young, school going children and people considering retirement are all after the freedom and peaceful quality of life offered by secure lifestyle estates and developments. This is what makes these developments such a sought-after home investment choice in SA. Add the convenient benefit of being able to walk your children to school or taking your pet for a stroll in a beautiful park-like setting and you may just want to move in for life. And that is exactly what many families are doing.  

Home comforts

“Since the lockdown, security, comfort and outdoor space top the list of what prospective buyers want,” says Alda Erasmus, head of communication at Central Developments Property Group. More retirees are also interested in either multigenerational or lifestyle estates with care amenities that allow them to be close to their families while continuing to enjoy their own living space. In addition, pets are part of many family setups. For this reason many developments are making provision to accommodate animals, but not without rules in place. For instance, some estates only allow small pets.  “Lifestyle estates are one of the fastest growing property trends in SA, which ranks among the countries with the highest number of estates globally,” says Seeff Property Group chairman Samuel Seeff. Developers are consequently expanding their portfolio of homes to cater for a broad range of income groups.  Rabie Property Group director Miguel Rodrigues says this developer offers an array of lifestyle options within its Burgundy Estate near Cape Town. There are apartments for single young homeowners or tenants as well as larger townhouses and houses that are more suited to families.

“The proximity of schools and preschools is definitely a strong consideration for buyers. And in the retirement market especially, being allowed to keep a pet is an important aspect of making a happy home,” says Rodrigues. Schools on the premises also encourage tenants with children of school going age to sign longer leases, says Jessica Hofmeyr, head of Houss Rentals and Century Property Developments.  Buying a home is the biggest investment decision most people will ever make. It follows that a home with the added value of a safe environment, access to good schools and other superior amenities would be extremely attractive to buyers from all age groups. “You do not only get a high-quality property from a reliable developer with a well-established track record, you also get all the other communal amenities and services, like security, for the same price,” says Erasmus.  

Helderberg Manor in Somerset West

Access to quality education

All the major metro areas in SA have a growing selection of lifestyle estates that have access to top quality private schools on the premises or within easy distance. This includes developments in smaller enclaves such as Somerset West, Paarl, Stellenbosch and KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast.  Setting the trend is Steyn City in Midrand. It offers an early-learning centre, a preparatory school and a college catering for pupils up to Grade 11 (matric will also be offered in 2021). Children are able to walk or cycle to school or catch a ride on a safe shuttle bus. Securing primary and high-school placements at reputable educational institutions can be a time-consuming and stressful mission. Having a school on the premises of a lifestyle estate greatly simplifies the process.  Parents also have peace of mind knowing their children are receiving a quality education, as estate developers take great care to include only educational institutions of a high standard on their premises. On South African estates the preference leans towards private schools with solid academic records like Curro, Reddam House and other independent schools.

Steyn City

“More family time and fewer anxious hours spent in traffic make for a happier family overall,” says Rodrigues.  In step with the trend towards multigenerational estates, more retirement villages are now being built adjacent to lifestyle estates with schools. This makes it easier for retirees to be involved in the school activities of their grandchildren.  Clara Anna Fontein Lifestyle Estate in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs, for example, offers three types of homes – a lock-up-and-go townhouse development, large plot-and-plan erven and a retirement development, Oasis Life.  Not far away, a retirement development is also under construction next to the burgeoning multigenerational development Burgundy Estate near Blouberg Beach. This development has three schools covering the whole spectrum from preschool to high school. From 2021 pupils in need of assisted learning will also be accommodated from Grade R to Grade 3.  


“On a practical level, parents enjoy the convenience and peace of mind of having a school inside their secure residential development. It also encourages an active lifestyle, where children can walk or cycle to school,” says Clifford Oosthuizen, managing director of Westbrook estate in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. Their mega residential development includes a Curro school on its premises.

Pets welcome

Many South Africans, whether single, in a relationship or part of a family, have a special bond with a pet and would prefer a home that allows them to keep their furry or feathered companion. Catering for this demand, especially for older residents, most lifestyle estate and retirement developers now allow residents to keep a cat or a dog subject to rules usually determined by the homeowners’ association. “We find the pet-friendly topic is a big positive for us in the age bracket for retirement villages,” says Devmark Property Group national sales manager Bruwer de Jager.  As can be expected, these rules mostly concern the size of the pet and the number of pets depending on the size of both the home and the residential development. For instance, some retirement estates allow only small pets that are not noisy and do not require space or exercise.

This tends to apply where apartments don’t have gardens, explains Erasmus. “In our other security estates where the houses have large gardens, we allow two medium-sized dogs per household, whereas only small dogs are allowed in ground-floor apartments that have small gardens,” she says.  According to Seeff, this trend will not be short-lived. “There is no doubt we’ll see continued demand for estates that offer these amenities and buyers are prepared to pay a premium for them,” he says. 

Steyn City School’s shuttle bus

“Since the lockdown, security, comfort and outdoor space top the list of what prospective buyers want” Alda Erasmus, head of communication, Central Developments Property Group

Pet friendly lifestyle estates

  • All developments by Legaro, Devmark, Rabie, Central Developments Property Group, Houss Rentals and Century Property Developments
  • The Emerald and 38 Morsim, Hyde Park, Sandton
  • Roundabout Brooklyn, Pretoria
  • The Westbrook, Port Elizabeth
  • Buh-Rein Estate, Plattekloof, Cape Town
  • De Goede Hoop Estate, Noordhoek, Cape Town
  • Welgevonden Estate, Stellenbosch
  • Val de Vie Estate, Paarl
  • Compton Estate, Klein D’Aria, Durbanville
  • Hathersage Private Estate, Somerset West
  • Sitari Country Estate, Somerset West
  • Kindlewood Estate, Umhlanga

Pet friendly retirement estates

  • All retirement developments by Evergreen Lifestyle, Devmark and Rabie
  • Fonteine Village, Klipfontein Farm Lifestyle Estate, Malmesbury
  • Helderberg Manor, Somerset West
  • Lazuli Lifestyle & Retirement Estate, Port Zimbali
  • The Plettenberg Manor, Plettenberg Bay
  • Shoreline Sibaya, Umdloti Beach

Lifestyle estates with schools

  • Waterfall Country Estate, Midrand
  • Blue Hills Country and Equestrian Estate, Midrand
  • Cornwall Hill Country Estate, Irene
  • Amberfield City, Centurion
  • Leopard’s Rest, Alberton
  • Palm Lakes estate, Ballito
  • The Westbrook, Port Elizabeth
  • Sitari Country Estate, Somerset West


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