Residents’ reflection on tenure in security estates in South Africa
In recent years fear of crime has become an important motivation for South African families to move into security estates rather than residing in free standing homes in open neighbourhoods. Those who can afford housing in security developments not only provide their families with a sense of security and safety, but also acquire a desirable lifestyle and status. This exploratory study involved 205 residents of both genders, who live in upmarket security estates in Tshwane. They completed a structured questionnaire, which investigated the factors that influenced their decision to move to a security estate as well as their post-purchase evaluation of residence in the estate. Convenient, snowball sampling provided the only workable solution to recruit respondents because it was time consuming and particularly difficult to gain access to these estates. Not surprising safety and security was identified as the most important factor that influenced residents’ housing decision although they admitted that the impressiveness of security estates also was also influential. Respondents unequivocally indicated that they would not want to move to a home other than one in a security estate. This study therefore confirms the positive post-purchase evaluation of homeownership in security estates. Respondents strongly agreed that their current homes provided them with a utopia where concerns about maintenance and management were handled by a competent body corporate. They enjoyed the uniqueness and spaciousness of their tenure; the safety and security aspects which secured their well-being; as well as a sense of neighbourliness. Issues however came to the fore in the projective technique that could be explored further, for example complaints about lack of privacy (in some estates, the yards are small because houses are densely built) and financial implications (levies surfaced as a concern in terms of long term affordability). Positive aspects however outweighed all their concerns.