It pays to support neighbourhood security initiatives

It usually costs just a few hundred rand a month to help pay for measures to increase neighbourhood security, such as guarded booms, cameras or dedicated security patrols, and this is a small price to pay if you consider how such measures protect home values as well as lives and property.
So says Jan Davel, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, who notes that in the past year, prices in limited-access areas and those known to have active community security measures in place have risen by as much as 25%, compared with an average national house price increase of around 9%.
“Security is without doubt the number-one concern for most current homebuyers, and those who would prefer not to live in a sectional title complex or a gated estate are seemingly prepared to pay quite a premium now to live in suburbs where a strong residents’ or ratepayers’ association has successfully instituted neighbourhood security measures,” he says.
Statistics from property data company Lightstone show, for example, that the average home price in the fenced-off Pretoria suburb of Wapadrand has risen by 13% in the past year, while that in neighbouring Die Wilgers has remained unchanged from 2012.
“And in Menlo Park, where the comprehensive security initiative instituted several years ago by the ratepayers’ association is well supported by residents, the average home price has risen 25%, compared with 13% in neighbouring Brooklyn.”
Similarly in Johannesburg, says Davel, the average price in Parkview, which is well-known for its safety and security initiatives, has risen by 16% in the past year, compared to 13% in neighbouring – and very trendy – Greenside; just 3% in Parkwood and a decline of 5,8% in Parktown.
“Meanwhile the average home price in Bedfordview, which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the past few months, has risen only 3%, compared to 16% in the neighbouring Ekhurhuleni suburb of Dunvegan, which is not as upmarket but is regarded by homebuyers as being much safer.”
Consequently, he says, those who already live in a secure suburb should not begrudge the cost of contributing to initiatives to keep it that way. “The more families that support such measures, the lower the cost for each of them – and in any case, the amount spent is bound to be much less than the cost of selling up and buying a new home in a security estate to achieve the same end.”

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