In the world of real estate, the mantra ‘location, location, location’ remains a golden rule. Mantsi Moiloa, Director of Strategy and Consulting at Cushman & Wakefield | BROLL writes that when a commercial property isn’t safe for women, it isn’t investment grade.

Mantsi Moiloa, Director of Strategy and Consulting at Cushman & Wakefield | BROLL. Supplied by Cushman & Wakefield | BROLL

Mantsi Moiloa, Director of Strategy and Consulting at Cushman & Wakefield | BROLL. Supplied by Cushman & Wakefield | BROLL

A property situated in a prime area with easy access to transport, amenities, and facilities is typically considered a favourable investment choice. In addition, commercial properties with modern designs, adequate space, and up-to-date technology will appeal more to potential investors. Market trends impact supply and demand and investment potential. The overall economic stability of a country or city also has a considerable effect on the value of commercial property assets.

One of the key factors in determining if a commercial property is investment grade that often gets overlooked, however, is the safety of women and its direct impact on the valuation of commercial property assets.

Properties in an area that cannot ensure security for all, especially for women who are a big part of our workforce and face a higher likelihood of being victims of crime in South Africa, simply aren’t investment grade.

South Africa is ranked among the most dangerous countries in the world for femicide and has one of the highest instances of rape in the world. Given these alarming facts and social responsibility mandates, we need to make our cities environments that are welcoming spaces for everyone in order to attract investment.

When it comes to commercial property, potential investors take such safety issues into account when considering the value and investment potential of properties. Good businesses take seriously their duty of care for employees’ safety.

A property owner can go to great lengths to ensure that their building offers a safe environment, but no building is an island. Each one is impacted by the urban fabric around it – public spaces, resources and infrastructure, and neighbouring properties, both public and private.

While the government must take a proactive role in crafting policies and investing in infrastructure that pursues safe and investable spaces, public-private partnerships (PPPs) can amplify these efforts.

Through PPPs, resources from both sectors can be pooled together, allowing for improved infrastructure development, effective policing strategies, well-maintained public spaces, well-functioning public buildings, and appealing commercial districts. Government departments can join forces with private entities that share the same dedication to building safe, inclusive communities. Leaders from both sides can pave the way to more sustainable urban development.

For instance, good street lighting and surveillance systems foster a feeling of safety within communities. It also helps when all the buildings in an area are well managed and maintained, with good occupancy levels. Infrastructure development projects that consider gender-inclusive urban planning play a pivotal role, such as female-friendly transportation systems.

Collaborative efforts make cities more appealing by promoting a secure environment where employees – particularly women – can feel safe while working or residing within the area. This appeals to a diverse range of inhabitants who bring with them sought-after talent and skills, the lifeblood of any organisation.

At Cushman & Wakefield | BROLL, we believe opportunities abound for public-private partnerships to tackle real estate challenges head-on – with win-win results.

Safer cities drive up demand for properties – commercial and residential – making them more valuable and increasing the tax base for the government.

Conversely, when left unchecked, crime rates and unattractive living, commuting, and working conditions lead to the deterioration of an area, its buildings, and its property values. Everybody loses.

To make a safe real estate investment, make sure it is safe for all who use it.

As we strive towards building and maintaining safer, more inclusive spaces across South Africa, real estate investments will thrive in tandem with community well-being.