Friday, 26 April 2013

Security, convenience making luxury flats popular

HIGH-END buyers on the move are once again targeting highrise flat living due to convenience and security, according to Braam de Jager, national operations manager of Aida.

“Luxury flats and loft units are very popular now in areas such as Cape Town, uMhlanga, Durban and Sandton. And though such flats in coastal cities may offer sweeping views that add to their attraction, most buyers’ first concern in choosing them is security while they are in residence and when they lock up and leave to travel.”

Flats in closed precincts such as Melrose Arch in Joburg and Century City in the Cape are also selling well, and De Jager reports that buyers here generally cite the same reasons for their choice of property.

At the lower end of the market, flats remain popular as student accommodation in suburbs surrounding universities such as Rondebosch, Hatfield in Pretoria, Berea in Durban and Auckland Park in Joburg.

In addition to security reasons, parents buying flats for their children enrolled at universities view these units as good investments that will yield satisfactory returns, and a much better prospect than spending large sums on accommodation in university residences for the three or four years of undergraduate study.

De Jager says first-time buyers are also finding value in smaller flats because prices are still much lower than entrylevel units in townhouse complexes, whereas security measures are often on par.

He cautions prospective buyers in this market segment, however, not to take it for granted that security measures at all complexes are equal.

“If your main reason for buying is security, you would do well to compare systems at different complexes before making a choice.

“Consumers should also keep in mind that the degree of sophistication – for instance, electronically secured entrances and remote surveillance of entrances – will probably be reflected in the purchase price.”

And then even with the most sophisticated systems in place, he says, security should never be taken for granted.

“Luckily, there are many common-sense measures residents in complexes can implement to remain safe, like taking care that strangers don’t slip in behind you when you enter or leave the building through security doors, and always making sure of the identity of visitors buzzing your call button before allowing them access.”

Residents who often travel are also advised to arrange with the security staff to remove mail piling up in their absence.

“Uncollected mail is a sure advertisement that the owner of the unit is not in residence, which may well catch the attention of opportunistic burglars.”

De Jager adds that secure complexes with even the most stringent security measures are never islands unto themselves.

“Prospective buyers should also survey the surrounding area and assess the existing security, as well as deterrents such as proper lighting and pavements that are maintained to deny cover to any lurkers.”

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