The Resurgence of Decentralised & Country Living

Jan 14, 2020 | All, Industry

Modernised businesses have started gravitating towards having offices outside of CBDs and as such we’ve seen a resurgence in requests for homes in areas further afield.

In fact, we’re starting to see more people gravitate toward country living – seeking larger properties offering a quieter life – with the caveat that it has to be secure. 

Property Trends

Over the last five years we’ve gone full-circle with regards to people initially seeking larger properties, away from the Cities (more affordable), to people flocking to city living to be closer to their place of work to avoid traffic, back to an increased demand for decentralised living. 

Property prices for decentralised suburban living are still more affordable than property in-, or close to the CBDs – plus you get a lot more space for a very similar price! But of course this means that you sacrifice time in traffic for the premium of space. 

The Rise of Business Decentralisation

Demand for CBD properties have chased up not only residential prices, but also commercial properties.

Over the last couple of years, many businesses in Cape Town have opted to move out of the CBD and decentralised their office space as commercial property prices for office space (especially where that space includes parking) surged in a very short space of time. This paired with constant requests from staff who just can’t face sitting in traffic, or paying for parking where this is not provided. The latter often leading to high staff turnover as they leave seeking employment opportunities with less travel time to and from work. 

The consequence was that businesses needed to start looking at alternatives to lower staff turn-over, as well as their own rental overheads.

Those businesses who did not decentralise started offering more flexible working conditions, including staggered working hours or a few days working from home to offer some respite. 

Flexible working conditions allowed staff to again start looking at buying property outside of CBDs or even further afield. And the rise of fibre availability across the nation, makes working from home, especially for those in related fields, a lot easier. 

The Evolution of Estate Living

Secure estates have been a commonality in areas of Gauteng more so than the other provinces of South Africa for quite some time. But in the last five years or so, especially in our uncertain political climate, we’ve started seeing the rise in popularity of security estates across the country. 

With the rise in popularity, many developers jumped on the bandwagon to acquire large pieces of land and turn them into secure estates – which sometimes compromised space for security, resulting in many families living in very close proximity to each other.

Larger estates that have been longer established offer more space and privacy, but at a premium the average family, with kids in school, can’t afford.

A newer trend that has emerged out of this in the last year is that we’re seeing more and more country lifestyle estates spring to life – a place where you can own a relatively large (averaging half a hectare to hectare plus) piece of (residential) land that either allows for small-scale subsistence style farming, or average sized properties (600+ sqm) with a country feel set in larger nature conservation estates – or estates that feature a lot of wildlife – with the added benefit of being fully secure for your peace of mind. Although these estates used to be comparable to the average house price, if this is the type of lifestyle you’re after, you should buy soon, as prices are on the incline. Although they offer space and privacy, whilst being secure, monthly levies are higher – and these types of estates are still quite rare – and space for these types of developments are ever shrinking. 

Residential Decentralisation Sparks Development Growth

With larger developments, especially those that cater to the country lifestyle, being further away from more established neighbourhoods, it typically left residents limited access to shops or schools.

However, with the surge in popularity of these new estates, it has sparked innovation for new schools to enter the market – such as Curro – who, depending on the size of the estate, are featured within the estate itself or very close-by, leaving the anxiety of buying property in the right school district as a concern of the past.

Schools are not the only addition to these areas. As is to be expected, small shopping centres or strip malls are often soon to follow once a development has laid claim to land – often featuring key tenants such as Woolworths, Spar or Fruit & Veg. And with online shopping (and delivery) – having a mall close-by is not really a big concern – as long as online stores deliver to the area – which even at a premium is worth-it.

Popular Areas If You’re Considering Decentralising

Western Cape 
The winelands and coastal areas remain popular and high on the list of those not requiring to be close to work. Popular estates and areas include and are not limited to: Silverhurst Estate, Atlantic Beach Estate, Val de Vie, Diemersfontein Country Estate, Langebaan Country Estate and many more. Areas growing in popularity include areas along the West Coast, Tulbagh, Morreesburg, Somerset West, Grabouw, Hermanus/Onrus, and along the Garden Route.

Gauteng 
Gauteng remains the top of the estate offering in South Africa. Many lifestyle farms and smallholdings on larger wildlife estates remain popular. Estates are growing from Fourways to Lanseria (eg Dainfern Estate), Midrand estates include Kyalami and Waterfall and Greenstone Hill developments amongst others.

Pretoria 
We’re seeing many residents moving to estates in Roodeplaat eg Leeuwfontein and Sable Hills, and a return to Hartbeespoort Dam – now that the algae is more controlled. 

KZN 
Kwa-Zulu Natal has many areas of new developments, especially outward from Durban to Hillcrest, The Midlands and Umhlanga/Ballito. One of the newer country lifestyle security estates on offer here is Springvale Estate, close to Ballito. 

Whatever your requirement, be it to look at investing in property in a security estate, or selling to buy – give our property agents a call to help advise on your best move, and an accurate valuation for your existing property.

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