That developer is Century Property Developments, who have been in the game since 1975, originally as a developer of shopping centres, but have since evolved into a more diverse entity by adding residential estate developments and luxury boutique hotels to their portfolio. Some of these include Waterfall Country Estate and Village, Helderfontein Estate, River Bushwillow Estate and Crowthorne Estate, all situated in and around Gauteng.
The rising cost of living, coupled with the diminishing availability of centrally located and easily accessible land, continues to dramatically reduce the supply of homes and as a result prices are soaring. Add to this escalating crime satistics and you can see why, despite the costs, South Africans still desire safe and secure community living.
‘’The price of intrinsic land in South Africa is catching up with the rest of the world,” explains the team at Century Property “A home in an estate will soon be worth four to five times more than a home outside of an estate. Stands that we would previously have sold for R 2.8 million are already selling for R 15 million, and the prices are only set to increase further”. This is one of the main reasons behind the shift towards more high-density living and it’s what motivated Century Property Developments to look for an alternative solution. The answer was to build rental estates.
This concept is simple and is a model adopted in the rest of the world but just not South Africa. Aimed at those who find it harder to purchase a house in a secure community or to raise a bond, these rental estates have all the same amenities as a normal estate, including an on-site school, walking trails and clubhouses, for example. The only difference is that this is community living that is rented, as opposed to one that is owned by individuals. Instead of investing in the property, these individuals are now free to invest their money in alternative and perhaps more profitable avenues.
“We simply replicate the same product but on a much more affordable basis,” adds the Century Property team. A similar concept is prevalent in America where there are rental communities. Here an entire suburb or whole area is owned by one company and huge savings are made from developing and running the area, as it literally becomes almost like its own municipality.
These rental estates tend to have between 300 and 500 units and are situated in prime locations, with easy access to highways, transport links and local amenties. Whilst the on-site facilities are the same in nature as those of an upscale estate, they are often more affordable too. For example, Carlswald Luxury Apartments, which is situated in close proximity to the acclaimed Waterfall Estate, has everything that one would expect from a private estate. There are two swimming pools and two clubhouses, a skate park, play area and soccer fields, and rental ranges from R 6 500 to R 14 000 per month.
Compare this to the selection of homes available for rent in The Sheds section of The Waterfall Estate, which can be anything from R 21 000 to R 50 000 per month, and you can see the value for money becomes evident.
Large estates benefit from economies of scale, so there is added value for money, and a multi-use precinct also allows for better utilisation of services. Other than owning the property, the only other main difference from being in Carlswald Luxury Apartments compared to The Waterfall Estate is that of the on-site school. At Carlsward this is a Sparks School, a far more affordable option than the Reddam and Curro schools found on The Waterfall Estate.
Demand certainly lies in the rental market, and Century Property Developments are trying to meet it as best as possible. Already, another new rental development called The Precinct is set to have its first phase ready for occupation early next year. Situated near to The Waterfall, it will be similar in format to Carlswald Luxury Apartments, and after that the company is hoping to bring their successful model to the Western Cape.
For the Century Property Development team, the aim has always been to create good-looking, aesthetically pleasing, environmentally friendly and affordable housing. For them, owning the home is not important; instead it is owning the lifestyle, the security and owning the comfort that is attached to that lifestyle. Welcome to the new way of estate living.