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The pandemic is super charging demand for property closest to natural attractions and accelerating interest in multigenerational living


Events in 2020 have shone a spotlight on how we interact with our homes and neighbourhoods. Indeed, lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic has shifted people’s mindset not only towards loving where they’re living, but who they’re living with. Knight Frank’s The Wealth Report 2021 notes the intention of 26% of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) worldwide to buy a new home this year. The 5% rise in demand compared to 2020 is “especially strong for rural and coastal properties, with access to open space being the most highly desired feature. The pandemic is super-charging demand for locations that offer a surfeit of wellness – think mountains, lakes, and coastal hotspots,” says Liam Bailey, global head of research, Knight Frank.

The report further highlights the importance of the natural environment, connectivity, technology, community, and privacy, now more than ever. Buyers’ desire to change their living patterns is a trend also highlighted by Prof. Andrew Scott in his book The 100-Year Life. “If I buy a house when I’m 30 or 35 and I own it for a long time, I’m going to have a lot of wealth tied up in it. That’s going to create problems for other generations; you’re going to start seeing a lot more multigenerational housing developments.”

Investing in larger homes designed to accommodate different generations of the same family under one roof makes economic sense, but that’s not the only driver. “Many choose to stay together for the support. Young people are staying at home longer, older generations are sharing, and people are looking for affordable investment opportunities,” says Barbara Larney, co-owner, RE/MAX Town and Country.

Modern, multigenerational home design is no longer a question of adding on a granny flat. It’s about creating flexible spaces within the home that respect the privacy and lifestyle of each resident. Benefits of this living arrangement include facilitating more family time and improving mental and emotional wellbeing for ageing parents and their grandchildren. “Negatives can be less privacy, more housework and family tensions. Before building a new multigenerational home, consider which option is right for you,” she says.


Fernkloof Golf Estate, Hermanus

Wellness and vitality

Another trend favouring the development of multigenerational estates is the rise of second-tier cities. PropertyFox CEO Crispin Inglis says, “These metropolises outside the capitals will experience exponential growth as corporations move to more affordable locales. In turn, this will see the urban populations in these cities grow as families opt for locations with residential estates that are close to work, schools and social spaces.” The Amdec Group is currently building a connected neighbourhood on the 128ha Westbrook development in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), a second-tier city that families love for its pretty and affordable location.

Westbrook is designed as a safe, secure walkable precinct, comprising 3,500 residential homes spread across nine residential villages. The estate will incorporate a Curro School, frail care facilities, 24-hour medical assistance, and a ‘town square’, the focus for commercial and retail space. Similarly, in East London, Kidds Beach Green Estate’s amenities include private schools, a shopping centre, office parks, a private hospital, a high performance sports centre, and a hotel and conference centre. An assisted-living section offering 200 retirement rental units based on the life rights model is planned.

While inland developments such as Waterfall Country Estate in Midrand, Gauteng will stay sought-after, the Winelands and False Bay in the greater Cape Town continue to garner interest among buyers seeking the coastal lifestyle. Hermanus is a top coastal town favoured for its Mediterranean climate, wine and whale attractions, and proximity too Cape Town. Paul Kruger, licensee, Seeff Hermanus, says the new De Zandt Lifestyle Estate is the first multigenerational estate for the town. It offers diverse property choices to suit every age demographic and a superior range of amenities.

Designed in a modern Cape Winelands vernacular with plenty of greening, the development will include sectional title and full title properties along with a planned lifestyle centre, frail care, retirement village, boutique hotel and retail facilities. Other features include solar energy, fibre to home, tennis and squash courts, swimming pools, 24-hour security with biometric access control and proximity to the Curro Hermanus private school. De Zandt is developed in a pedestrian and pet-friendly manner. Shiraz residential estate is part of Phase 1, with 48 sectional title units and 21 freehold stands, now selling.

Sense of community

Meanwhile, Johann Larney, broker owner, RE/MAX Town and Country and resident at Fernkloof Golf Estate in Hermanus, reflects on Covid-19’s impact on where and how we live. “The ‘C world’ means we must adapt to a new way of life. Many will choose living together with families or communities who have a lot in common, such as golf. Demand for one- to two-bedroom homes is being exceeded by that for bigger homes with cottages, or scope to build on to accommodate the extended family. It works from a family cohesion point of view as well as an economical one,” he says. Fernkloof homes range from two to six bedrooms and are built so they cocoon the course.

“The beauty of Fernkloof is that with 27 holes, there are many location options. Life here brings a sense of freedom – sand, sea, mountain, adventure, and now family – in a big way. When people ask me where I live, I always answer ‘paradise’. It’s very close!” says Larney. In the Winelands, Pearl Valley at Val de Vie Estate has country living and golf among its key attractions. It’s also close to top schools in Paarl, the delights of Franschhoek, and the significant commercial hub forming around Stellenbosch, Somerset West and Hermanus.

“Covid-19 has highlighted the cost savings and productivity benefits of working remotely and people embrace the idea of living where they can make the most of their valuable time,” he says. “Pearl Valley is part of the super-estate complex that includes Val de Vie and boasts upmarket sports, hiking and cycling facilities unequalled by any other residential estate,” he says.

All generations can be spotted at the poolside, on the walking trails, or on the Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, which is regularly rated in the top five nationally. The larger new homes at Val de Vie visually reflect components that support multigenerational living. Older homes at Pearl Valley are being revamped and cottages are being added to accommodate older family members or younger families moving back to their parents’ home.


De Zandt Lifestyle Estate, Hermanus


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