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Property trends: Surban homes

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Where suburban meets urban: that’s where you’ll find surban, an increasingly popular trend both locally and internationally

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The concept of suburban homes and city living as two distinct elements is long past. But it seems that even mixed-use neighbourhoods – with residential and work amenities in one place – needs an upgrade. Enter the rise of the surban community: denser communities where various housing arrangements – townhouses, apartments, houses – are mixed with urban amenities that offer the chance to live, work and play outside of the city’s core.

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International real estate consultants John Burns Real Estate Consulting anticipates suburban communities to account for nearly 80% of residential growth over the next 10 years compared to just 15% for urban areas. Private Property CEO Simon Bray says they’re noticing the trend in South Africa, too: “The move to surban areas is becoming more prevalent across the country. Existing suburban areas such as Fourways and Menlyn have been developed to the extent that they could be described as mini Sandtons. What’s noticeable is the number of new ‘towns’ being developed from scratch that incorporate commercial, retail, residential and lifestyle aspects.”

In Durban, this can be seen adjacent to the successful Gateway surban area, where an entire decentralised residential and commercial town centre, Bridge City, is being developed. In Gauteng, Waterfall City and Modderfontein New City are multibillion-rand projects that will combine work, live and play opportunities. And in Cape Town, Century City could be considered another success story. While these surban areas are not always gated communities, many are. Says Bray, “Security definitely plays a big part in this trend in South Africa. Residents are able to work, shop and socialise within a secure area without having to venture to other less safe parts of the city.” The reasons behind this trend are simple: “Safety, shorter or no commute and lifestyle,” says Bray.

Words: Bridget McNulty


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