The remote working trend is driving sales of freestanding properties while sectional title homes have lock up and-go appeal
WORDS: DEBBIE HATHWAY – PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Bigger, mainly freestanding properties are gaining popularity, according to the FNB Property Barometer for February 2021, a trend spurred by buyers responding to the demands of remote working. Estate living is popular in South Africa, the location for many of the world’s best lifestyle estates that offer a wide variety of accommodation options. Wealth intelligence firm New World Wealth estimates that over 45% of the country’s high-net-worth individuals either live or have homes on estates. An additional 30% have homes in luxury apartment blocks – the fastest growing residential segment in SA over the past 20 years in terms of price.
Because Steyn City’s parkland residence in Johannesburg’s new north offers a range of housing options – including stands to build a dream freehold home, luxury apartments and clusters – it appeals to an array of residents. Its sectional title products (apartments and clusters) are ideal for people yearning for space and freedom within the estate’s signature 2,000-acre parkland, without the hassle of maintenance. For them, the lock up-and-go lifestyle is perfect.
Steyn City’s extensive security measures ensure peace of mind, while the body corporate takes care of external maintenance and repairs, and maintenance of communal areas and gardens. And, of course, there’s access to all of Steyn City’s amenities, which means enjoying the ultimate lifestyle without leaving the development. This is convenience at its best. Steyn City’s freehold offering appeals to families who wish for a little more space, and who would like to place their individual stamp on their home. Because there are no rules for aesthetic design, buyers can ensure that their home is a true reflection of their style, making it entirely unique. They can also choose from a variety of stands, including the size, position and view that suits them best.
Sectional vs full title
Cosmopolitan Projects and Central Developments Property Group offers both sectional and full title ownership developments. “Freestanding properties can come with sectional or full title ownership. For example, our retirement estates, like Waterkloof Marina in Pretoria, have apartments and freestanding houses but all are sectional title ownership,” says Alda Erasmus, the group’s head of communication. They recently launched Madison Manor in the Waterfall Node, which also offers freestanding houses but with sectional title ownership. Its Lion Pride Lifestyle Estate, however, consists of freestanding houses with full title ownership. Erasmus explains that with sectional title properties you own your section and an undivided share of the common property.
“In other words, you own your house or apartment – and, more specifically, its interior – as well as a share of the common property, but you do not own the land it’s built on. The exterior of your property forms part of the common property. Even though you don’t own the garden, you do have exclusive, private use of it and are permitted to do landscaping as allowed by the rules of the development,” she says. “With full title ownership, you own the house (inside and out) and the land it is built on. This gives you more freedom to make changes to your garden and house as you wish.”
Even though sectional title does not afford buyers the same freedom, it has its advantages. In a sectional title scheme, the body corporate is responsible for the maintenance of the common property, so the levies might be a bit higher than those of a full title scheme where owners are solely responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their garden and house.
If Johannesburg appeals, there are only three 135m2 units at Craft Homes’s luxury Melrose View development for sale and ready for occupation. The development is minutes away from Sandton and Rosebank, striking the perfect balance between urban convenience and suburban living. Comprising three bedrooms and 3,5 bathrooms, each apartment has a large open-plan kitchen, living and dining area with stackable doors that open up onto a covered terrace. Each has a spacious double garage and exclusive use storeroom. Elegant, top of the range fittings and finishes feature throughout.
Melrose View residents enjoy premium 24 hour security, a clubhouse with a pool and communal garden, pre installed DStv and fibre connections, and a back up complex generator. Meanwhile, The Terrace at Sandton Gate is a mixed use precinct suitable for investors, single professionals and people scaling down. From the safety and security of their apartments, residents can walk to nearby amenities such as an on site Planet Fitness gym, restaurants, beauty salons, a bustling piazza and premium grade offices. The Sandton CBD is also within walking distance.
“It’s a no-brainer. You can live, work and shop at Sandton Gate. You don’t even need to leave. Everything is available,” says Craft Homes’s marketing manager Jessica Cabanita. “Each unit has secure basement parking.” Homeowners have beautiful views of the Sandton skyline and the Braamfontein Spruit green belt – a natural reprieve residents can enjoy with weekend and early morning dog walkers, joggers and mountain bikers. Sandton Gate is developed by Abland, Tiber and Craft Homes. Construction on The Terrace starts in June this year and occupation is estimated for October next year.
The Mother City
In a unique area that seldom sees new developments, The Aster in Oranjezicht, Cape Town offers an investment opportunity in the heart of the city bowl, down the road from the famous cafés and restaurants of Kloof Street. “There are only 21 homes in this boutique apartment block, with occupation expected towards the end of July,” says David Sedgwick, MD, Horizon Capital Residential. “All apartments come with secure parking and are suitable for both long- and short-term letting, providing investors the opportunity to claim their VAT back.”
Communal facilities include a roof deck with a braai area and a generous size pool boasting Table Mountain, city and sea views. A generator has been included to overcome inconvenient load shedding. There are currently two one bedroom apartments on offer, fully furnished and with views of the city or Lion’s Head. Meanwhile, commenting on the market in Cape Town’s northern suburbs, Devmark residential director Jean Ehlers notes that owners are struggling to sell their primary homes in the R3m to R4,5m bracket, especially in the traditional neighbourhoods, due to uncontrollable crime and poor municipal deliverables.
“They would rather buy smaller, newly constructed units that offer safety and convenience. What’s more, they see the potential for asset appreciation in well-located sectional title schemes, especially if they buy in the first phase of the development period under the R2m mark,” says Ehlers. “The resale market in this price bracket will remain liquid in high demand neighbourhoods due to affordability and low interest rates.” Glenhaven, Devmark’s new apartment block in Bellville in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs, comprises 64 sectional title apartments. “Our product caters to those who want safe, affordable homes in a location that enables them to work and play close to their families,” he says.
If you’re undecided on where to buy, and you’re a pet owner, this could be the deciding factor. Freestanding homes on estates are ideal for growing families, have fewer rules in general, and offer more space and bigger gardens. Owners can often keep cats without asking for permission. Sectional title developments are conducive to building a mini community, where residents are on par socially. The price point of a lock-up-and-go is often lower than a freestanding home, the developer handles the design, and levies are payable, but maintenance is taken care of. The drawback is you might not be able to keep the amount of animals you would like, if any.