South Africans are seemingly fixated on lock-up garages, a tendency which
boosts home purchase costs, absorbs land unnecessarily and in many cases
actually diminishes lifestyle.
That's the somewhat controversial view of Gerhard Kotzé, CEO of the ERA
"Traditionally, South African homes with three bedrooms and two bathrooms
also had a double garage. Lately, however, we have started seeing
two-bedroom, two-bathroom homes and even two-bed, one bath homes with
"But it's time buyers stopped to think that a double garage of say, 50sqm,
costing around R3000/sqm to build, will add R150 000 to the purchase price
of their home - as opposed to a carport that does the same job of protecting
their vehicles that will cost about 10 to 15 percent of that amount."
What is more, says Kotzé, in new homes marketed as having a total floor area
of, say, 110sqm, it does not make sense in lifestyle terms that almost half
should be devoted to garage space. "And recent designs I have come across
add insult to injury by positioning the garage on the prime north-facing
aspect of the property, with the actual living areas poorly positioned in
terms of both aspect and natural available light - apparently in deference
to the garages.
"Possibly at the heart of the problem is consumer belief that garaging
reflects affluence, even at the cost of lifestyle. The other underlying
problem of course is security, and with motor vehicles frequently costing
almost as much as property itself these days, there is clearly an imperative
to protect that asset - although modern alarm systems, carport designs and
security complexes can easily address that."
He points out that the cost of servicing R150 000 worth of home loan at
today's interest rates is some R1650 a month - "with after-tax money that
could be far better utilised by the homeowner".
From a developers' standpoint also, says Kotzé, there has to be an advantage
in marketing homes without garages but more living space. "It's certainly
food for thought as homes become increasingly less affordable to