Gated Community Trends
There are several types of gated communities to consider when looking at different neighborhoods. The majority of gated communities are master planned, meaning there are significant infrastructure and amenities in the development. Approximately 4 million households are within communities where access is controlled by a gate or security guard. For example a gated retirement community may have amenities such as an activity center or even better, maintenance free living.
There are typically several factors that convince people to purchase these kind of properties when searching for their next home.
- Price is obviously a factor, however people have different ways of looking at this. The most logical way is to figure out the dollars you’re spending by absolute price point versus price per square foot value ratios.
- Location is the most notable factor to consider. Having convenient services and facilities are very important to many, while high ranking schools in close proximity are important to others.
- Homeowner dues need to be factored in as well. Amenities such as golf course, pool clubs, wellness centers and 24/7 security all increase the monthly dues substantially.
History of the Gated Community
Across the world, it has been shown through archaeological research that gated communities existed in China for over a millennium, and were popular in Mexico after European conquistadors arrived. The Inka, in Peru, also had walled compounds that closely resembled the Chinese. Historians think this is because the family style of the Inka and ancient Chinese were very similar, in that multiple generations of the family lived together. The residents’ of Ancient China’s walled compounds showed a strong sense of pride much like today’s gated communities, with residents playing a large role in the organization and construction of their homes.
The earliest gated communities in the United States started around the 1850s, with fully private streets in St. Louis, MO, but didn’t catch on until 1900s, as the middle class developed and more sought a suburban life. The initial goal was to form self-contained suburban utopias.
Gated communities have become very popular in South American countries like Brazil and Argentina, where they more closely resemble a small town than a neighborhood. These “condomínio fechado,” or closed housing estates, as they are called in Brazil, have their own infrastructure, power systems, sewer systems and security guards. They are often a symbol of status, and help protect residents from the high risk of crime in these developing countries. In Argentina, while most only have houses, some larger ones, like Nordelta, have their own hospitals and schools, shopping malls and more!
What is the motivation of living in a gated community?
Gated communities are typically designed for the higher social-economic segment. Therefore, privacy, security and exclusivity provide motivation for these communities’ residents. The style of these communities change dramatically as price goes up. The sense of arrival is stronger, the views are better, the clubhouse is bigger and many times you can go for days without the need to leave because the people are more socially connected.
Many offer services much like a luxury 5 star hotel. With concierges and daily maid service, your home will be ready and waiting for you, so all you have to do is drop your bags and make a cocktail. Concierges can book excursions, tee times, lift tickets, reservations and more so you and your family can make the most of your time together.
You find gated communities in many destination locations such as near ski resorts, oceanfront, lakefront and downtown metropolitan areas. The motivation varies with the widely different scenery. If you looking to ski daily, then being close to the lifts and having a mountain view is more important. Whereas, oceanfront and lake front destinations fill a demand for the water views, pool club and marina. Residents who wish to live in downtown metropolitan areas are looking for privacy, security and convenience to business districts.
Finally, one of the most important reasons why you may be motivated to live in a gated community is because you have children and want to avoid high traffic areas.
Build the Fence, it’s time to live in a gated community!
When someone mentions the words ‘gated community’ what comes to mind? You may think lots of wealth, drama and snootiness. But honestly, you don’t have to be in the top 1% to be in a gated community.
A gated community is explained as “a residential area with roads that have gates to control the movement of traffic and people into and out of the area.” The amount of money you make or how big your house is no longer important. The image of gated communities is clearing changing. What matters to families nowadays is safety and privacy in their home, and their pride as a homeowner. Another strong pull is the strong bonds that can be easily formed between families within a gated community.
Knowing that the only people driving past your house are fellow residents can be a huge driving factor of families deciding between gated or not. With increased crime rates, it’s a lot harder for parents to allow their children the freedom they crave, and simply playing in the street is sadly no longer an option for many. Gated communities provide security, which allows parents to give their children a proper childhood, without worrying about the surrounding area. The statistics show that typically, gated communities have a lower crime rate than non-gated communities. If you have been a victim of burglary’s you know how awful it feels, and having that added security goes along way to making you and your family feel safe.
If privacy is a vital factor in your decision process of where you live, then a gated community is a great choice. For a start, the gates help with keeping traffic noise out, or at least to a minimum. Secondly, no one will be able to drive through and there’s no possibility of solicitation, as they cannot get past the gate.
Although the term gated community may bring to mind Stepford Wives, walking down your street and seeing nicely kept lawns and common areas is not to be overlooked. There’s nothing worse than taking pride in your home’s appearance and then seeing your next door neighbor keep their couch on the front lawn and trash on the porch. In a gated community, a groundskeeper or landscaping team is often employed to make sure everything looks good.
Good neighbors are not always easy to come by and they can easily make or break the atmosphere of the community. Neighborliness is very important in gated communities. It’s easy to get involved and meet like-minded individuals. Cookouts and play dates happen daily. There are usually great resources on your doorstep such as a clubhouse, pool, fitness center and holiday events.
Looking to buy in the most exclusive gated communities available in the US?
When affluent homebuyers choose a gated community, they are not just buying bricks and mortar, they are buying a lifestyle. These days, even the likes of Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lopez are being lured to high fences.
Most communities today are commonly found in South and West regions of the US, where there is more land to develop. The states with the most gated communities are California, Texas, Arizona and Florida. The division of types of gated communities is one-third for upper-middle to upper class, and one-third for retirees. However, the other third is a group that is quickly growing, being made of communities of varying income that are focused on security and privacy. You can now find gated communities popping up in urban areas and among income groups that are not necessarily super rich. Their overall growth shows no sign of slowing down according to the US Census Bureau.
To begin your search for a home in a gated community, turn to the web. Many real estate search engines have a filter for homes in gated communities. You can also search on websites that are specifically tailored to private communities. However, eventually you will need to call a local realtor and have her begin to pull properties that fit your needs.
Make sure to have specific answers for the type of gated community you’re looking for. Most importantly, how much are you willing to spend? Are good schools important to you? What amenities would you like to be included? Will this be a family focused home, or somewhere for you to spend your golden years? What are the neighbors like? Speaking of neighbors, it’s always good to ask someone who’s around once you do go tour properties. Get a vibe on the community, and how helpful the amenities and community staff are.
Gated communities have expanded greatly from their ancient beginnings as multi-generational housing in China and Peru, or even utopian streets here in the US. Security and privacy should be a priority for all families, and options for living in a gated community have become much more affordable and accessible for all. If privacy, security and pride in your neighborhood is valuable to you, begin searching for a gated community today.