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Globally, more families are choosing to live together, not only for the sake of community but also to share costs owing to financial constraints. We look at what SA’s multigenerational estates offer. 

WORDS: HELÉNE MEISSENHEIMER • IMAGES: SUPPLIED

Over the past two decades there’s been a global return to the multigenerational household where adults from different generations of the same family live together.

This is the way almost one in five people in the US and in Australia live.

The same trend is on the rise in South Africa – in November last year Statistics SA revealed that 32.2% of homes in the property market housed multigenerational families. Contributing factors include the high cost of living that makes it hard for young professionals to live on their own, and growing concerns about the safety and isolation of elderly relatives.

With so many businesses closing or scaling down, resulting in millions of job losses, there are already signs that more families will choose to live together or in close proximity. 

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Good for all

The national lockdown has proved to many homeowners the benefit of living in a spacious and safe environment. Multigenerational estates provide a secure and pleasant living space where grandparents or young adults can live with or close to their families. And while most home sales plummeted, sales in residential estates held their own and often even exceeded sales in pre-lockdown months.

“This type of living benefits each generation, with young children reaping the rewards of close proximity to their parents and grandparents. Conversely, older generations who aren’t yet ready to move into a retirement village are able to mingle with diverse age groups,” explains Clifford Oosthuizen, MD, Westbrook, a multigenerational estate in the Eastern Cape.

As these multigenerational estates across SA evolve, they embrace more investment brackets by offering a mix of apartments, townhouses and free-standing units of one to five bedrooms, priced anywhere from R1,2m.

In addition, many allow for the option to build additional rooms for children or parents, either within the home or in a “granny flat”.  

Gauteng

Gauteng is SA’s economic heartbeat and home to many sought-after residential estates. Steyn City is a multibillion-rand luxury lifestyle development just north of Fourways in Midrand. Named Gauteng’s Top Residential Estate for 2019, this development will be the country’s largest parkland residence once it’s completed.

Strict safety and security measures include access control, foot patrols and a fully equipped security nerve centre. The Steyn City School is located on site with an internal school shuttle, whereas Capital Park offers AAA-grade commercial offices.

Residents of any generation are spoilt for choice when it comes to recreational amenities. Besides 45km of trails for walking, running or cycling safely, the estate has an equestrian centre, a golf course and a club house with an indoor aquatic centre, outdoor yoga stations, a gym, children’s play nodes and restaurants.

Sales manager Lambert Bezuidenhout says the combination of safety and security with all the well-appointed facilities and sprawling parkland has contributed to the increase in sales recently, even though house prices have plummeted.

Craft Homes’ The Terrace at Sandton Gate is another luxury lifestyle development that offers spacious modern apartments with all the benefits of suburban living mere minutes from the Sandton CBD. There is an on-site gym, restaurants, beauty salons, a bustling piazza and premium-grade offices.

From their own private balconies, residents will have a beautiful view of adjacent Braamfontein Spruit, one of Joburg’s longest natural green belts. The Terrace launches exclusively online on 6 August and interested buyers can view and even purchase a home through Craft Homes’ unique portal. 

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KwaZulu-Natal

Top real estate firms report that luxury estates on KZN’s North Coast continue to attract the interest of high-end buyers despite the challenging market.

Two luxury beachfront homes were sold in Zimbali Coastal Estate, one of the first resort housing estates developed near Ballito, says Andreas Wassenaar, licensee for Seeff Zimbali.

The estate includes two five-star hotels, an 18-hole championship golf course and 3.5km of pristine beachfront. Restaurants, swimming pools, sports facilities, a children’s play area and a world-class gymnasium and fitness centre are among the superior amenities.

Another residential estate near Ballito that has evolved into a multigenerational estate is Brettenwood Coastal Estate. “The estate caters to families at every stage of life from starters right through to retirees,” says marketing manager Michelle Larkens. “This concept allows grandparents to live close to their children and grandchildren, with everyone enjoying a quality way of life.”

Retail outlets, private hospitals and schools are available in surrounding towns, whereas on the estate residents have access to a clubhouse, a restaurant, walking trails, children’s play areas, water slides, a gym, a lap swimming pool and a heated aerobics pool.

“This concept allows grandparents to live close to their children and grandchildren, with everyone enjoying a quality way of life” Michelle Larkens, marketing manager, Brettenwood Coastal Estate 

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Western Cape

Known for its natural beauty, choice selection of top schools and tertiary education facilities, shopping malls, world-class wine estates and golf courses, the Cape is in high demand when it comes to multigenerational estate living.

Lightstone Property reported in December last year that a quarter of the country’s estimated 6,500 gated and estate properties are in the Western Cape.

Val de Vie Estate marketing manager Marli van Schalkwyk says there has been great interest in this estate near Paarl since the start of the lockdown, with website visits and enquiries at an all-time high.

“We’ve noticed that consumers focus much more on wellness,” she says. Val de Vie is a wine, polo and golf estate with landscaped gardens, parks, running and cycling trails as well as fishing and picnic spots on its grounds. There’s also a golf course, tennis and squash courts, swimming pools, lifestyle centres, restaurants and equestrian and polo facilities. 

“We’ve noticed during this time that consumers focus much more on wellness” Marli van Schalkwyk, marketing manager, Val de Vie Estate 

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Eastern Cape

Alexander Forbes Investments executive chief economist Lesiba Mothata believes the full potential of second-tier cities in SA has yet to be harnessed. Port Elizabeth is one of the towns Mothata says presents potential for future economic and industrial growth.

For this reason, the Amdec Group has been developing the Westbrook mega-estate here. The Ridge, the first of nine villages, is almost sold out and according to MD Clifford Oosthuizen the turnover in June was higher compared with the past six to 12 months.

“Living through a national lockdown, buyers are drawn to investment options such as residential estates that offer plenty of space,” Oosthuizen says.

Catering to young and old, amenities at the 128ha development include a Curro school, frail-care facilities and 24-hour medical assistance. Once completed, Westbrook will comprise 3,500 homes around a “town square” set to feature a variety of commercial and retail offerings. The homes are designed to include a loft or owners can use the fourth bedroom as an office, as more people are having to continue working remotely.