Chris Tyson, founder and chairperson of fast-growing real estate agency group Tyson Properties, shares his insights on the market, noting that while ‘conditions will improve based on supply and demand’, with 2024 being an election year, ‘historically nothing much happens in the property market in an election year’.


We keep hearing about semigration, especially to the Western Cape and Cape Town. Is the ‘Cape Republic’ only where it’s at in terms of residential property at the moment?

“No, [but] Cape Town and the Western Cape towns like Plettenberg Bay, Knysna and Mossel Bay are all extremely popular areas. It’s what we refer to as a hotspot, but [those are] by no means the only areas in South Africa that are doing well at the moment.”

“If you look for instance at the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, Ballito is very much a hotspot at the moment. A once-coastal town is now abuzz with shopping centres, private schools and development. While still giving the locals a feel of a coastal town, it’s also become an area of choice for working in Johannesburg and living on the coast.”

“The airport’s only a 15-minute drive away, and it’s a quick flight. As a regular traveller myself on a Monday and Friday to [and from] Johannesburg, I see the same faces every Monday morning.”

You are a ‘semigrant’ yourself, then?

“Yeah, I am to a certain degree. I spend most of my time working Monday to Friday in Johannesburg and, yes, it’s something you get used to. My family lives in KZN and we enjoy the lifestyle. And yes, I work in Johannesburg Monday to Friday, and it all works quite well …

On Joburg, what’s happening here? I know it’s quite a broad question – Gauteng is still the economic hub and the most populous province from census data – but do you have some insights to share on the performance of Gauteng?

“If we look at Gauteng and Joburg in particular, yes, it’s very much still SA’s economic hub. But while market conditions and Joburg remain under pressure – and that’s largely because of interest rates, job security, load shedding, water infrastructure issues, etc – there are still a lot of deals being done.”

“Unfortunately, our entry-level market in Johannesburg has come under pressure. A lot of young people are opting to rather rent [than] buy at the moment due to interest rates.”

How is KZN doing, more broadly, especially post the riots? I know it has been a few years since the riots – but [there were] the floods as well. So it seems like it’s a triple whammy as opposed to just the Covid hit nationally?

“What always amazes me is the resilience of the KZN people and how quickly they seem to bounce back. Also the KZN property market is probably one of the most stable in the country. Even when the property market does dip we see that KZN is not affected like the other areas are.”

“The province also has a lot to offer, and property prices are still a lot more affordable than in other areas in South Africa. This, coupled with great weather, infrastructure, etc, provides a very, very stable market. So I believe that as a KZN [person] born and bred, it’s a great market to invest in and that has certainly bounced back very, very strongly …”

“I think sentiment from the riots [had] an effect for a while, but I certainly don’t see it [having] an effect in the long term.”

“My home is in Mount Edgecombe and I certainly don’t even consider the riots as anything to worry about [since] that happened.”

“So also in KZN we are seeing a whole resurgence in the Midlands area, Nottingham Road, etc. KZN is doing exceptionally well as almost not only a second home but a relocation destination, as opposed to Cape Town, especially with Cape Town prices being as high as they are at the moment.”

Tyson Properties is even represented in the Eastern Cape now. Can you share a little about this as well as how the group has grown into a national player over the last decade or two?

“I can still remember agonising eight years ago about whether we should push the company national or not. We had 18 offices in KZN at the time and [it is] exceptionally well covered. So we decided that if we were going to go and do it and we were going to push national, that we would do it in a big way.”

“We actually opened Cape Town and Johannesburg simultaneously. We now have six offices Gauteng and seven offices in the Western Cape with a staff complement of about 450 members [nationally] …”

“[Tyson is] double the size it was eight years ago when we pushed national. I’m not going to say it was all easy … But it certainly is beneficial when I look back on it …”

“We opened in East London almost a year ago now. It is part of our plan to expand into other areas …”

“We’ve traditionally just been in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and we’ve done exceptionally well in those areas. We feel it is now time and the timing is right for us to move into other areas of the country.”

What are the sub-sectors of the residential property market that are doing better? Perhaps you want to share some insights around that and interest rates.

“Interest rates have played a big part in the market over the last year, year-and-a-half. Some areas have actually dropped by 46%, which is substantial. We are still finding that where we have properties located in areas that offer a good lifestyle, affordability, security, convenience, good schooling, those all remain popular and they’re all still doing very, very well.

“So even with it being much lower than it was, we are finding that if an area supports most of what people are looking for, it will still do very, very well. And Ballito, which I used as an example earlier, is a prime example of that.”

“It’s the entry-level market that’s been the hardest hit. That’s your first-time home buyers, etc.”

“Funnily enough, we are actually finding the R3.5 million and above market is quite stable at the moment in all areas. It’s really your lower end of the market and your sort of emerging market that have been the worst affected, and it’s purely because of interest rates.”

Are you seeing more demand for rental as opposed to people buying in this high interest rate environment?

“So if we look at our rental portfolio – and we do focus a lot on rentals in most areas – if I use Johannesburg as an example, we’ve more than tripled our rental portfolio over the last two years.”

“Joburg has more people, believe it or not, moving to Johannesburg every year than any other area in South Africa. So it’s a massive, massive market and there is a lot of entry-level market.”

“We are finding that young professional people are looking for properties to rent instead of buying at the moment.”

“The main contributing factor is that young people want to move from one company to another to fast-track their careers, and they don’t want to be tied down to an area at the moment. They want that flexibility of [being] able to work closer to home.”

What are your expectations in terms of when interest rates are expected to drop and when could we perhaps talk about a residential property boom? Is that too far-fetched to think about right now?

“Maybe. [Laughing] I’m going to answer the first one. I know you’re not asking me for an opinion on the interest rate, but I am going to predict that it will remain unchanged [at the November SA Reserve Bank meeting]. I do believe that we’ve reached the top end of the interest rate cycle for now …”

“In saying that, I don’t want to give the expectation that interest rates will fall to post-Covid levels. They might come down 1% or 2% next year, and then they’ll probably sit at that level for some time, as they have in the past.”

“As far as a property boom goes, I don’t think we’ll see a boom for a long time yet, but market conditions will improve based on supply and demand. Next year is an election year and historically nothing much happens with regard to the property market in an election year. But we are expecting the market to continuously improve from the first quarter of 2025.”