The popularity of living in gated, or private communities has been rising in recent years. It used to be that gated communities were thought of as being only for the rich. But today they are becoming more and more popular with middle and upper middle class families. Security is usually given as the biggest reason for choosing to live in a gated community. Among the other reasons people are attracted to living in these communities are protecting property values and lifestyle. Many gated communities are designed with amenities built around a particular lifestyle, with golf courses, tennis, swimming pools, or equestrian facilities. Gated communities are usually located on some of the most desirable land in the area. Prime land, combined with careful planning and HOA rules create an environment where home values hold up extremely well.
Aside from the gates or walls, the second most defining characteristic of gated or private communities is the Homeowner’s Association (HOA). The HOA is made up of all the owners of the development. The HOA is responsible for collection of the Association fees and making and enforcing the “rules” of the community. The difference between HOAs in gated communities and those in ungated subdivisions is that it is often also responsible for maintaining the public aspects of the community, such as streets, security, parks, etc. Non-gated communities have public streets that must be maintained by the city.
The rules set by the HOA can vary a great deal, depending on the individual development. Typically the HOA will have rules pertaining to upkeep and appearance of homes within the development, specifying the colors of paint on outside walls, types of fencing, guidelines for landscaping and storage of boats or recreational vehicles.
Gated communities aren't for everyone. But with strong protection of property values, increased security, less traffic and amenities for your specific lifestyle, they are appealing to more people each year.