Marketers always use stereotypes. When paging through a brochure for a new development, one will almost certainly be bombarded with images of happy families, superimposed onto the images of the development. But what about the audience that do not conform to the stereotype of a young couple with two little children? Could every development possibly be designed for that young family? We have found that there is an entire spectrum of people within the ‘family-stereotype’ and two other extremes outside of it; the young under-thirty individuals, and the mature over-fifty community.

When addressing the under-thirty population, one needs to understand their paradigm. These individuals are considered to be “tech-savvy” and will almost certainly do a lot of homework prior to committing to living within a property. But this characteristic also opens up to a feature that is crucial in a development geared towards this audience; access to a reliable internet connection and steady WiFi throughout the property. The Campus, located in Auckland Park by the University of Johannesburg, is an example of such a property where anyone under the age of thirty can thrive. Tenants in this building have access to free WiFi, which is particularly important to those studying part-time or full-time. Generally speaking, this target market is either studying, or have just embarked on their career path – so pricing will be a sensitive issue. These individuals are most likely moving out of their paternal nest for the first time and do not have access to loads of furniture, despite their desire to live a trendy, fashionable lifestyle. At The Campus, these individuals pay between R4,620 to R7,645 per month, for a room that has all the furniture that they would require. This includes a bed with mattress, a desk with chair and bookshelf, a television, microwave and even a fridge. They are also eased into adulthood by having their rooms cleaned once a week, which is also included in that rental amount.

It is important for the under-thirty crowd to remain sociable at all times. Weekly activities with like-minded individuals is absolutely crucial. The Campus have regular talks by industry experts, to keep its tenants entertained. For those that are still studying, there are free tutoring services and dedicated study rooms with a computer centre. And for those that have recently entered the corporate world, there is a perfect breakaway through the free cinema and two games rooms that provide the ideal environment for socialising. The Campus also has a rooftop swimming pool that overlooks Melville. Here residents have access to braai areas and even a small café. One of the other features that is crucial for this target audience, is access to a gym with free training sessions.

So it is clear that the under-thirties crowd requires a trendy environment with loads of lifestyle facilities where they can live an active, healthy lifestyle. Then we turn our focus over to the over-fifties market.

In 2010, Waterfall Hills Mature Lifestyle Estate won the title of “Best Retirement Development in the World” by the CNBC International Property Awards. This was the first time that any development on the African continent reached such heights on the international property platform. The development has a clear policy that anyone living within the development, needs to be over the age of fifty. Granted, there are a few exceptions where a spouse might be slightly younger, or a child with special needs lives with their parents. The success of this development comes down to the lifestyle facilities on offer within the development. There is a frail-care centre with dedicated medical teams – but strangely enough, that is not the focus for this community. This community lives in freestanding homes with fine finishes and fittings, such as crystal chandeliers and travertine tiles. But apart from an age-appropriate dwelling, the estate is known for its lifestyle facilities. A central clubhouse hosts a cinema, restaurant, billiards rooms, delicatessen and library. Free weekly activities includes talks from experts and celebrities whom share their experiences with the audience. A chip-and-putt course, walking trails, bowls green, croquet lawn and horticultural centre caters to the outdoor needs of the retired community. A large gymnasium with free weekly Yoga classes also ensures that this community remain fit and healthy. This recipe was so successful, that Century Property Developments built a second estate, Waterfall Valley Mature Lifestyle Estate, also within Waterfall Estates on the exact same recipe. Here a community of like-minded individuals engage on a social level within an appropriate environment.

When comparing these two extreme communities, it becomes apparent that whilst their positions in life are on opposite sides of the scale, their lifestyle needs remain the same. Whilst the two types of accommodations could not be more different, they still share the exact same recipe. There simply are no stereotypes to illustrate that the more different we are, the more similar our lifestyle expectations become…