Dr Piet Botha, chairman of the Nationlink estate agency group, notes that the latest industry estimates indicate that there are already more than two million people living in some 550 000 sectional title units in SA ? and that more sectional title units will be built over the next two years than any other type of home.
"And sectional title developments are often a good option for young buyers. Purchase prices usually include VAT and eliminate the need for a large cash transfer duty payment. Other attractions are good security provisions and the fact that time-consuming building and garden maintenance are usually outsourced."
But, he notes, buying a sectional title home is not the same as buying a house. There is a trade-off for the additional security and convenience, not only in the form of a monthly levy, but in terms of privacy and the use of your property.
"For example, if you own a house there is little to stop you adding on a room if and when you feel like it. In a sectional title unit, you own your possessions and to a certain extent, the floor and ceiling. But you share the walls and can't just knock them down or move them without consulting your neighbours.
"Similarly, you're usually entitled to paint your interior walls, but not the outside of your unit. You also may not be allowed to plant a garden, keep a pet or put up a carport, depending on the rules of the complex."
Collective decision-making through the body corporate, Botha says, is another "fact of life" when you live in a sectional title complex. And although every owner in the development is automatically a member of the body corporate, the actual running of the scheme usually falls to a group of volunteers ? the trustees ? who may not have much experience in building or financial management.
"Consequently, conflicts can and do arise over the way levies are calculated, administered and spent and whether the development is being maintained in a way that will protect the value of each owners' home."
So prospective buyers keen on sectional title must be sure, he says, that they can handle living in close proximity with other owners ? some of whom may not be as friendly or considerate as they would wish ? and that they are prepared to abide by the decisions of their body corporate, even if they don 't always agree with them.
"And those who intend becoming involved in the running of their complex and the decision-making about how their levies are spent must be prepared to familiarise themselves with the reams of legislation, rules and regulations that govern sectional title."