The ’15-Minute Neighbourhood’ concept may not be new, but since Covid-19 hit our shores it is certainly a trend that has had new life breathed into it within South Africa’s property market.
- The 15-Minute Neighbourhood speaks to ‘the closer people are to everything they need, the better’.
- The work from home trend due to Covid-19 has caused most consumers to opt for lifestyle and comfort when choosing their home.
- With the ever-increasing cost of fuel, the 15-Minute Neighbourhood trend looks to grow and flourish.
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There is no question that convenience is key. This alone probably explains the increase seen first-hand over the past two years in developments across South Africa that offer consumers work, schools, entertainment and important shopping amenities right on their doorstep.
The concept of living 15 minutes away from everything or the 15-Minute Neighbourhood, brings everything within walking distance and is thought to improve one’s quality of life which according to a National Residential Property Trends for 2021 has become a number one priority for consumers since the pandemic.
The concept of “living locally” is something that has been spoken about for years but seeing it being unpacked and this vision is realised in a growing number of instances has brought new life to many areas in Johannesburg and can be seen more so in Sandton. Research and observations from the property market support the fact that, in general, people will trade size for security and location any day of the week – especially if they can enjoy greater recreational benefits within close proximity of where they sleep.
The concept of the 15-Minute Neighbourhood stems from the 1920s where it was made more popular in 2019 in Paris. South Africa is one of those countries now adopting this preferred living arrangement due to two major factors: the first being “hyper localisation” as a result of Covid-19 where people are understanding the importance of community and are wanting to avoid the hassle and escalating costs linked to transport, as well as climate change. The current increase in fuel costs as of March 2022 in South Africa, is only going to further cement this need to live, work and play within a smaller perimeter.
As an example, developments in Sandton’s CBD where work, life and play are central to the offering for consumers who will save on transport costs and time choosing to live in South Africa’s economic hub, situated in a prime location. Hyperlocalisation is undoubtedly here to stay and is no longer exclusive to Europe.
Developers are seeing the need for people to live in well established, amenity-rich areas; areas supported by precinct management. This movement was reinforced in a recent property webinar that I facilitated where Sandton Central’s Precinct Manager, Elaine Jack drew reference to the fact that the pandemic highlighted the live-work-play concept and that Sandton’s vision has revolved around the notion of a 15-Minute Neighbourhood. According to Elaine, they have been actively trying to encourage the residential property market in Sandton so that people can now live near their places of work and have quick and easy access to the places they like to play.
// Director and Founder of Rainmaker Marketing, Stefan Botha
Sandton developments are becoming ever innovative, with facilities such as a rooftop garden and bar, a restaurant, a gym, and addresses situated in prime locations – all walking distance from Sandton City, the Gautrain and 5 minutes from the M1. With 15-Minute Neighbourhoods, homeowners and investors are weighing up the costs of this convenient arrangement with home price, travel costs, etc. dictating what in the long run will be deemed as most cost-effective. Based on a National Residential Property Trends survey for 2021, location is a key driver for property growth.
Another rising trend is mixed-use developments because they cater to the growing desire for convenient, appealing, and sustainable areas where people have everything they need “on their doorstep”. The idea that your area, your space, allows for everything you could need ticks the box of people getting their precious time back. From an investment perspective, buying into these developments within such neighbourhoods and central urban spaces is an attractive option because the demand for rental is so high.
The 15-Minute Neighbourhood vision is definitely making itself at home in South Africa and chances are, there will be more of an uptake of this trend in 2022 and beyond on the international property scene as well.
Locally urban and inner-city renewal projects will take shape, appealing to consumers’ desires to improve their quality of life while reducing traffic, mitigating their carbon footprint and minimising unnecessary time normally spent travelling. This aligns with a growing trend seen nationally around the conversion of retail and commercial opportunities within key business districts in order to satisfy the demand for those wanting to enjoy the benefits of living, working and playing within safe, walking proximity.
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