The pandemic has shown South African professionals that they can work from home, and the savvy among us have realised that home need not be in a busy suburb or the inner city. Suddenly, the lifestyle estate beckons.

A lifestyle estate is much more than just a golf estate, which has admittedly lost its shine in the eyes of many South Africans across the age spectrum, explains Andrew Amoils, a wealth analyst at wealth-insights organisation New World Wealth. “South Africa is a global pioneer in estate living and is home to many of the world’s best lifestyle and golf estates.

Over the past five years, people have moved away from living in traditional houses to living in apartments and estates. Many young families are prepared to share gardens and to pay levies for other communal services,” Amoils says.

Lifestyle estates typically include running and cycling tracks, gyms, and spas. New innovations in estate living include schools and hospitals. Some also offer uninterrupted access to electricity through solar systems and generators. Wealthy retirees are also moving into lifestyle estates, some of which offer much-sought-after frail-care facilities, which used to be the sole preserve of retirement homes.

Not surprisingly, higher-end retirement villages, such as those developed and managed by Auria Senior Living, are now gaining in popularity.

“There is a misconception that a retirement village is a property development before it is anything else,” he says. “If you build one, you will succeed based on demand for the product alone.”

Val de Vie Estate in Paarl, Western Cape, has been ranked the most high-end estate in the country a number of times, and it has certainly been selling well. “In October 2020, we set a new sales record with 21 sales to the value of R148-million,” And the estate is far from being complete, having recently launched The Acres, a new development of mostly larger erfs: 1-acre and 1-hectare stands.

“We found that the demand for these increased significantly since last year,” says Ryk Neethling, marketing director at Val de Vie Estate. Besides Val de Vie, New World Wealth’s top-ten lifestyle estate picks for 2021 include Steyn City in Johannesburg, and Fancourt in George. Steyn City stands out as one of the best value-for-money lifestyle estates in South Africa. Last year, the estate managed to excel despite the pandemic, boasts Zoe van Onselen, head of marketing at Steyn City. “In spite of the lockdown and weeks of closure as well as extended Covid lockdown regulations, we recorded our highest number of sales since our launch in 2015,” she says.

A golf-course bridge at Steyn City in Johannesburg.
A golf-course bridge at Steyn City in Johannesburg.
Image: Supplied

She adds that Steyn City stands out for offering a secure lifestyle. “There is truth in the observation that ‘lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle’ has overtaken ‘location, location, location’ as the defining factor that makes a desirable address,” she adds. Remote work means employment is more flexible, and people are eager to take advantage of the extra hours at their disposal now that the daily commute has become a thing of the past.

Steyn City has a well-lit promenade for running or walking, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, a 55km mountain-bike trail, an equestrian centre, and an indoor aquatic centre. The estate also has office facilities. It seems Steyn City has it all — except for a beach, that is. But don’t you worry, the Gauteng estate will have one soon, as it plans to construct a Clearwater Lagoon this year. We predict that lifestyle estates that are able to meet residents’ wellness needs will perform the best in the future.

 From the June edition of Wanted, 2021.

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