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Single mothers constitute a growing demographic of home buyers in South Africa

So developers would be well advised to consider their needs when planning residential estates

By Dorine Reinstein

, |

Single mothers constitute a growing demographic of home buyers in South Africa

So developers would be well advised to consider their needs when planning residential estates

By Dorine Reinstein

, |

Single moms have become a force to be reckoned with in the property market. Developers who want their estates to appeal to this growing demographic will need to keep in mind factors such as security, open spaces, schools and modern living units.

Single women – a growing demographic of home owners

Single women are currently the largest group of property buyers in South Africa, with roughly 72,000 residential properties purchased by single women in the country in 2018. According to Lightstone Property’s statistics, the number of residential properties purchased by single women in South Africa surpassed the number of homes sold to men (around 62,000) and to married couples (around 65,000).

Myles Wakefield, CEO of Wakefields Real Estate, explains that the latest statistics further show that fewer than half of South African marriages last beyond 10 years. Over 50% of these divorced couples have children under the age of 18.

Wakefield says: ‘We’ve certainly noted an increase in single moms either buying or renting in residential estates. There is, of course, a general increase in interest in that lifestyle across all sectors of the South African population, but for single moms, a residential estate or complex certainly ticks most boxes.’

So, what are the boxes to tick?

 

Security still tops the wish list for single moms

Security remains the most important box to tick for single moms, and is the main reason why they opt to purchase property in a residential estate. ‘Whether it’s a small complex or a secured estate, there’s not only a perception of safety in numbers or in proximity to others, but in shared expenses for cutting-edge security measures,’ says Wakefield.

Silvana dos reis Marques, Manager of Leapfrog, agrees and explains that older kids might get home from school either by bus or by Uber while single parents are still at work. Safety is therefore a number one priority.

 

Focus on open spaces for recreational facilities

The sense of community that a residential estate offers is another important consideration for single mothers who are quite literally looking for a ‘village’ to help raise their children.

Eugene Boniface, Marketing Manager of the eLan Property Group, explains that developers should develop estates to be a living space where lifestyle and safety are the key focus. ‘This focus will make it attractive to families, and will make it easier for single-parent households,’ he says.

‘For single moms, it’s ideal to move into an estate where the age group is similar, and there are children of similar ages. That offers at-home friendship for the children, and companionship for moms, as well as the more practical aspects of lift clubs to off-site schools, and an after-school presence by some non-working moms,’ says Wakefield.

To achieve this sense of community, developers should consider creating open spaces that allow for ample on-site recreational facilities, from sporting grounds to playgrounds and social venues where activities can be organised. ‘This will allow children to roam more freely, while moms needn’t constantly be on high alert. Sporting and social venues are also ideal for reducing the isolation that can be felt by single moms,’ adds Wakefield.

Schools, restaurants and other facilities are an important consideration

‘For moms with young children, an on-site day care, playschool or pre-primary is very welcome, particularly one that accommodates realistic working hours,’ says Wakefield. ‘First-rate schooling on site will always be a drawcard. School lifts are often a challenge for working single moms, so to have quality facilities on site is on everybody’s wish list.’

Craig Mott, Regional Sales Manager for Rawson Property Group, explains that developers should look at including schools, parks, golf, tennis and squash courts, retail outlets, clubhouses and restaurants in their plans. ‘These types of facilities make life much easier, especially for a working parent,’ he says.

Lock-up-and-go with a garden, please

Lock-up-and-go accommodation is favoured by single moms, according to Wakefield, as it’s considered more secure, minimises maintenance, and generally allows for ease of movement and peace of mind. He says: ‘Single moms are busy, juggling commitments and multitasking – simplicity and streamlining of life is high priority. Today, children often spend one week with one parent, the following with the other – so for both parties, lock-up-and-go provides easy flexibility.’

Marques adds that most single moms will opt for a three-bedroom unit with a garden and all the modern facilities that will make their lives easier, such as fast and reliable Wi-Fi. They also tend to prefer single-storey homes.

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