Born in the UK, Paul now lives in central Florida. He has extensive experience in gated communities in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.
What Are the Pros of Living in a Gated Community?
Gated communities are among the fastest-growing types of housing in the United States, as increasing numbers of people find them to be an appealing alternative to residing in urban areas. So, why do some people choose to live in private, secured neighborhoods? There are many reasons. Safety, security, peacefulness, and being part of an exclusive community can all be factors.
This article lists the 10 main advantages of living in a gated community.
The 10 Main Benefits of Living in a Gated Community
- Safety and Security
- Sense of Community
- Leisure Facilities
- Reduced Traffic
- Less Solicitation
- Higher Property Values
- Safe Play for Children
- Higher Home Standards
I examine each of the above advantages in more detail below.
1. Safety and Security
For many people, safety and security are the main appeals of a gated community. With only residents and invited guests allowed through the gates, the likelihood of encountering crime or anti-social behavior from individuals outside of the community is greatly reduced.
You can go away on vacation for a month and not have to worry about your house being broken into or your car being stolen. Gated communities don't completely stop crime, but they do deter it, particularly if there is a security guard at the gate rather than just a keypad entry.
With strictly controlled access to the neighborhood and no through traffic comes a greater sense of privacy. Any community facilities, such as golf courses, tennis courts, clubhouses, and swimming pools are also private. In most gated communities, there is a sense that you can get on with your everyday business without any outside interference.
3. Sense of Community
Gated communities often facilitate neighborhood parties, as well as sports, social functions, entertainment events, and educational groups that foster a sense of community. It's easy to make friends and find things to do during the day and evening, and it's easy to be active both physically and socially.
In gated communities that are orientated toward older people, residents can provide mutual support for people suffering from illnesses, mobility issues, and other challenges associated with aging.
4. Leisure Facilities
Many gated communities offer leisure and sports facilities for residents. These might include golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, and community recreation centers for activities such as exercise and dance classes. These provide entertainment and social interaction for residents and are usually maintained by the neighborhood management association.
5. Reduced Traffic
Living in a gated neighborhood means that there is no through traffic to contend with. This translates to more peace and quiet, as the only traffic generally comes from community residents arriving and leaving and tends to be minimal. Walking and cycling in a private neighborhood feel pleasurable and safe. In many gated communities, golf carts are the vehicle of choice for local journeys.
6. Less Solicitation
With access through the gate controlled by a guard or keypad, there are far fewer—if any—solicitors. The only people likely to bother you at your door are other residents' kids trying to sell you girl scout cookies, not pushy salespeople or market survey takers.
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7. Higher Property Values
A combination of factors (including building codes, design uniformity, and exclusivity) related to limited space generally means that properties in gated communities are more valuable than equivalent properties in non-gated neighborhoods. While that makes houses more expensive to buy, it also usually makes them good investments, as their value tends to increase over time.
8. Safe Play for Children
A combination of factors makes gated communities safer places for children to play. Limited traffic and slower speeds make the roads safer. Controlled access to the neighborhood means that there are fewer strangers to worry about. Purpose-built facilities and play areas for children help keep them occupied and safe.
Gated communities are, by their very nature, exclusive, and there is a certain social status that comes with living in such a place. You may even share your neighborhood with a movie star or celebrity. There are also gated communities that exist suit specific needs. For instance, in some communities, there is a shared airstrip, and each house has its own airplane hangar.
10. Higher Home Standards
The people who live in gated communities tend to take a pride in their homes. Additionally, there are often rules in place to ensure that residents don't allow their homes or yards to become untidy or create weird outdoor displays. The neighborhood roads, lawn areas, ponds, and plants are also usually well-managed and maintained.
Fun Facts About Gated Communities
Most gated and secured communities are privately owned, so hard facts can be difficult to come by. The facts below are based on 2009 AHSUS estimates.
- 11% of residential communities in the USA are gated or secured communities.
- 49.6% of residencies are occupied by renters, while 50.4% are owner-occupied.
- 22% of residents are aged 65 and older.
- Secured and gated communities are most common in the western and southern portions of the United States. They are least common in the Midwest and Northeast.
What Are the Downsides?
While these communities do come with certain advantages, they aren't a good fit for everyone. After all, gated communities can be restrictive and somewhat homogenous. Before choosing to be a part of one, it's important to consider the disadvantages not discussed in this article.
Are Gated Communities Private Property?
The streets and sidewalks within a gated community are privately owned and are the responsibility of the relevant HOA (homeowner association)—not the county or city administration. The resources within cannot be used legally by the public without permission from the property owners or the property-management company.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Paul Goodman
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on December 07, 2018:
I would love to live in a community like this. I can see the benefits of living in such a community. I'm sure many friends are to be made living this way.
Liz Westwood from UK on December 05, 2018:
I can see advantages of gated communities. The proportion in the UK is much lower than in the USA.