7 ways South Africa’s new smart homes will be different – and how much they will cost you

Online estate agents PropertyFox has published a new analysis detailing what smart homes in South Africa could look like by 2025, and how much they are set to cost.

The analysis is based on some of the biggest trends, issues and tech currently impacting the South African market, and what influences they are expected to have on homes in the coming years.

These are the seven things you can expect from smart homes within the next several years.

Big changes in water usage

Even after Cape Town emerges from the current crippling drought, water management issues will continue as South Africa is one of the top 30 water scarce countries in the world.

Relying solely on our municipality for water supply won’t be sustainable into the future, so houses will need to have in-built rainwater tanks and double reticulation greywater systems.

The popularity of large gardens and pools will diminish and we may even see the disappearance of the water-guzzling bathtub in favour of showers that automatically turn off after two or three minutes.

Roommates that you always get on with

Expect assistant’s such as Amazon’s Alexa to become commonplace – reading you the news, answering questions, taking phone calls, controlling lights, opening curtains and updating shopping lists.

Garages will go

Eventually, it is possible that there will be ‘helipads’ purpose-built on rooftops. But even if air transport doesn’t take off, Uber, Taxify and lift sharing apps will almost certainly catalyse a big decline in car ownership.

“As a result, the space previously used for the garage won’t be needed, so we’ll either see smaller plots or the garage area being diverted for other uses,” PropertyFox said.

Homes built for sharing

Perhaps the portion of the property previously used to house cars will now be a separate entrance to welcome Airbnb guests who help cover the bond and running costs of the home.

Another possible modification could be that some aspects of a home, like storage, become purpose-built for sharing.

“Currently, a lot of people rent out their homes for short periods over December and January, and they have to laboriously pack up all their personal possessions so that the house feels like a holiday home to guests,” PropertyFox said.

Moving away from the city

The combination of air taxis, self-drive cars, car sharing apps and Uber, means there’ll be fewer cars on the road by 2020, which will likely mean fewer traffic jams.

“This may mean that a city’s trendy crowd will be comfortable living further out of town, and new areas will spring up full of good restaurants and bars,” PropertyFox said.

Multi-purpose rooftops

If food prices continue to balloon, more and more people will start growing their own produce. With gardens shrinking, it is likely that rooftops and vertical spaces will be used to plant vegetable and herb gardens.

To keep e-commerce purchases delivered by drone safe, there may be special landing hatches on the roof, possibly even refrigerated ones for food deliveries. As the drone pulls in, you can open the hatch remotely via your smart device, or Alexa can do it while she waits for you.

A new design every day

According to trend forecaster, Dave Nemeth, a cool future feature to expect is ‘on command interior design’.

“Through LED and projection technology you’ll be able to change the look of your house on a daily basis. One day you can project rose gold wallpaper onto your lounge feature wall, and when that trend moves on, you can go ahead and switch to a smoky blue paint effect.

“Where you place your TV will also be less of a big decision as mobile projectors will allow you to stream Netflix on any wall or surface around the house,” PropertyFox said.


Using PropertyFox’s evaluation tool, which crunches property data from each area to calculate the best possible price point for a home, and applying an escalation rate based on the pattern over the past eight years, the average price of a house similar to the one described would escalate as follows:

Area Cost of average home in 2017 Cost of average home in 2025
Bryanston R4,600,000 R7,500,000
Vredehoek R4,000,000 R18,400,000
Camps Bay R15,675,000 R55,000,000
Parktown North R4,200,000 R7,600,000
Umhlanga R3,825,000 R5,400,000

Read: The 10 best countries for you to emigrate to

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7 ways South Africa’s new smart homes will be different – and how much they will cost you