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The new home of trendy

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The new home of trendy

by Esther Lewis
20 Sep 2007
The Peoples Post
The Peoples Post

HOUSING: The bone of contention stuck in everyone's throats right now.


Evictions, protests, bad workmanship, not enough land to build more houses, informal settlements, waiting lists, rates, rent and, of course, new developments.

I have noticed that there are several new buildings and complexes popping up all over the show. Upmarket units are being built in not-so-upmarket areas.

At first glance, it seems like the best thing that could happen to a downtrodden area in need of a face-lift.

People are happy to have brand spanking new developments next door, as opposed to a decrepit old building.

Often I've been given complicated directions to people's houses and told it was the "scenic route". Later I would find out the simpler route passes through the dodgy bits of their neighbourhood - the bits they don't want to be associated with.

People have said that with new developments come a new brand of people. This, they think, will rid the area of all bad elements.

Some think the pretty new buildings with their "decent" new neighbours will somehow elevate their own status. Perhaps this is true, but as with all things cosmetic, it comes with a hefty price tag.

The first thing to go would be the neighbourhood's character. In most of the older areas, houses are distinctly different from each other.

These days, go into any security complex or village and you wouldn't know your own home from the next.

If you come home one night after having one to many, you had better hope there's a familiar car parked in the driveway!

I don't think your neighbours would take too kindly to you trying your key in every door, hoping to strike it lucky. But I'm getting ahead of myself. That would only happen if you could afford to buy there in the first place...

I know properties by the sea or mountain would set you back millions of rands. But since when did the Cape Flats become prime property?

For close to R1 million you can now get a two bedroom flat - something the average local cannot afford.

This raises one question: Who will be moving in there? I could be a bit off the mark, but perhaps there's a new trend developing.

We've all heard of successful, mostly corporate bigwigs getting tired of city life. So they retire to the countryside.

Now, I think we could be faced with the new phenomenon of rich people tiring of their perfect surburban lifestyle in the shade of Table Mountain, now retreating to the Cape Flats.

Who knows, stranger things have happened.

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