Seeking to safeguard the people who comprise a residential community can seem a daunting task. For one thing, there are so many different types of security options available that the selection process itself becomes bewildering. Also, every security solution requires a capital outlay and usually becomes an ongoing expense. Finally, residents often complain when they see homeowner associations spending funds. It’s enough to make HOA boards and homeowners alike wonder, “Is gated community worth it? Why are gated communities popular? Is it worth it to buy in a gated community?”
In this post, we will explain why we believe gated properties positively impact property values and how they provide a host of benefits beyond simple security.
Impact of Community Gates on Property Values
When people ask, “Do gated communities increase property value?” or search for a gated community nearby, they typically have a few different considerations in mind: the community’s safety, image, offered lifestyle, and sense of solidarity. As Guo and Bhat stated in their 2007 article published in Journal of Transport Geography, “The home is where people typically spend most of their time, a common venue for social contact and, for most people, a major financial and personal investment. One’s choice of residence also reflects one’s choice of the surrounding neighborhood, which has a significant impact on one’s well-being and quality of life.”
The importance of one’s home will naturally lead people to ask questions, and in this section, we will address some of the major queries considered regarding gated communities.
Is crime lower in gated communities?
When individuals ask, “What is a gated community?” or “What constitutes a gated community?”, the answer is in the name. They’re thinking of gate access control systems. These slide or swing gate systems exist to control the flow of vehicles into and out of a community, and they’re basically the most important element of gated community requirements. And, as you may imagine, the stated goal of such systems is to reduce crime rates — but do they actually work in the real world?
The answer is a resounding yes. When looking at a gated community vs non gated communities, gated communities experience a significant reduction in some types of crimes. A study published in Justice Quarterly concluded that “gated communities do lower the odds of experiencing a residential burglary even when controlling for housing unit factors such as tenure, income, and geographical location as well as individual characteristics such as age [and] race.” Perhaps this is why the home resale value of gated communities is so much higher on average than in non-gated communities. (More on that below.)
Are gated communities completely safe?
However, just because gated communities excel at preventing one kind of crime doesn’t mean that they can prevent every type of crime. (One wonders what kind of gated community rules and regulations or security installations could achieve that feat.) The same Justice Quarterly study noted that residents in gated communities may be at risk for other kinds of crime, such as vandalism and domestic violence.
Are homes in gated communities more expensive?
Does owning a home within a gated community increase property value? Because gated communities experience a demonstrable reduction in crime, that advantage gets reflected in its homes’ sales prices. Research published by the American Real Estate Society (ARES) revealed that houses in gated communities enjoy a nearly $30,000 premium when compared to non-gated homes. ARES Publication Director Ken Johnson, who co-authored the study, stated, “The long-held belief that gates add value is supported by the data, as long as the impact of the amenities is properly factored in. This should set buyers’ minds to rest as to whether or not they are actually receiving a boost in value when they purchase inside a gated community.”
Benefits of Community Gates
Do gates increase property value? Absolutely. Does commercial zoning affect property value? Not as much as a properly functioning gate-access system. Is increased security all that gate-community dwellers want? Surprisingly, no.
Gated communities provide benefits beyond a control of traffic and a reduction in certain kinds of crime. For many, gated community requirements include elements such as an exclusive image and a sense of security. In this section, we will detail more of these benefits.
Perceptions of safety and privacy
An article in Alexandra Engineering Journal explained how people feel about gated communities with the following: “‘It works for everyone, not just for the rich’ even with putting up gates around older developments to provide the old-neighborhood feeling that many people crave. The word ‘gated’ means different things to different people, some people think of gated as exclusive, some think of it as security, but most think of privacy.” Those perceptions are every bit as important to gated communities as the gates themselves.
Tighter control by HOAs
Gated communities are invariably ruled by HOAs, and while residents like to complain about the restrictions laid down by these governing bodies, they also bring a number of undeniable benefits. Some of these include a uniform “look” throughout the community; security measures in addition to gates (e.g., access control for common areas, security personnel, video monitoring); maintenance of tennis courts, weight rooms, pools, and the like; and roadways with limited traffic. Not everyone will find these benefits particularly valuable, but many do and they come as part of many gated communities.
Assurances against crime
Some gated communities restrict their security to the gate access system alone. Most, though, contain other crime-prevention measures, such as manned or automated guard posts, surveillance cameras, license-plate recognition systems, and visitor management systems. These elements provide added assurances against crime. Many residents find added assurances in the additional security measures taken by most gated communities. Additionally, criminals generally prefer soft targets, not those with heightened security measures like those used by gated communities.
Prevention of undesirable activity
Unlike traditional neighborhoods, gated communities excel at preventing undesirable activity. How? Next time you’re driving down a relatively busy street, pull over into a nearby neighborhood. Watch how many different people make their way into that neighborhood and realize home many of them probably don’t live there. Then comprehend that you yourself have become a living example of how easily undesirable activity can happen when a community doesn’t have a physical barrier to entry. Because gated communities limit vehicle access, it’s easy for community members to spot unauthorized parties who have gained access to the premises. This is simply one more layer of protection against both major and minor occurrences.
Is it worth investing in gated communities?
While investing in any sort of community is ultimately a personal decision, gated communities have multiple advantages to recommend them. Added security. Exclusivity. A more uniform appearance. Ample privacy. It’s no wonder that so many people around the world prefer them.
If you’re looking to take your gated community to the next level of security or want a new gate system, contact us at AT&I Systems. We have nearly three decades of experience working with Florida residential communities.