Who's Who in Property

Tyson Properties spreads its wings to Richards Bay

From left to right: Regis Usaiwevhu (Tyson Properties Richards Bay), Chris Tyson (CEO) and Linah Marijeni (Tyson Properties Richards Bay).
From left to right: Regis Usaiwevhu (Tyson Properties Richards Bay), Chris Tyson (CEO) and Linah Marijeni (Tyson Properties Richards Bay).

Tyson Properties is spreading its wings to Richards Bay – one of South Africa’s fastest growing cities.

Regis Usaiwevhu and Linah Marijeni, who opened the new branch in the Richards Bay CBD this month, confirmed that the city that has built up around Africa’s deepest port and one of just two national Special Economic Zones in KwaZulu-Natal was attracting a stream of young professionals.

The end result is a strong and growing property market.

“Richards Bay is home to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (the world’s largest coal exporter) fertilizer manufacturer Foskor, Richards Bay Minerals which mines iron ore, titanium oxide and zircon, SAPPI, Mondi, Hillside which is the biggest aluminium smelter in the Southern Hemisphere and Bell Equipment, amongst others. The support industries that supply these big corporates are numerous and a hub for employment creation. The service industry is also buoyant with serious growth potential,” explains Usaiwevhu who is the managing partner.

As a finance executive with over 15 years’ experience working at senior and strategic levels in industry and commerce across KwaZulu-Natal, he has done the due diligence and meticulously explored the prospects.

“I have a special interest in real estate and property development and it has always been my aspiration to take up entrepreneurial opportunities in these fields,” he explains.

He quotes Statistics SA’s census figures which show that the population within the entire Umhlatuze Municipality (under which Richards Bay falls) has grown by 11% between the 2011 Census (334 000 people) and the 2016 Community Survey (371 000).

“Richards Bay has immense growth potential and is constantly innovating. There are a number of turnkey projects that are being considered or are being implemented as we speak,” he continues.

These include the establishment of an aluminium hub which is expected to attract downstream industries that will beneficiate aluminium and also iron, steel, and titanium. With 30% of the world’s titanium and 30% of its high-quality pig iron produced in the region, this also offers significant downstream opportunities for the automotive sector.

Other developments that have been mooted include the setting up of a liquefied natural gas power plant, a R2 billion biomass electricity generation plant, the installation of a dry dock at the port, the setting up of a paint manufacturing plant and the establishment of a water desalination plant.

With an uptick in commodity prices and signs of an economic recovery, the prospects of the port through which by far the majority of South Africa’s commodity exports depart are also extremely positive.

“For all these reasons, the Richards Bay region is a strategic blip on our radar. We have partnered with people who have a strong knowledge of the area and we are looking forward to strong growth,” says CEO of Tyson Properties, Chris Tyson.

Tyson Properties, which is now a national company with strong referral networks, is already on a strong growth curve. According to Tyson, the company grew by 70 percent over the past 12 months and is adding over 100 agents per year.

It was also recently acknowledged for its achievements internationally with Westville and Hillcrest agent, Debra Maddocks, accepting the prestigious International Property Awards 2016 Best Real Estate Agent South Africa and Best Real Estate Agent, Africa at a gala even in London last year.

In Richards Bay, Marijeni is also making her mark. She has the hands on experience and passion to drive another key fundamental in the property market – good relationships.

“I am a sales and marketing practitioner with experience in the automotive and real estate industries. My real estate experience spans over seven years in Richards Bay and the surrounding areas. I have always been immensely passionate about marketing as well as real estate. Destiny knocked on my door in 2010 when I embarked on my real estate journey,” she explains.

Marijeni and Usaiwevhu approached Chris Tyson in November 2016 with a view to opening a Richards Bay branch.

“The brand has a solid and consistent track record. It met our selection criteria which included a solid reputation, a strong brand identity, top-notch quality, huge growth potential, strong systems, effective support services and a customer centric orientation. Furthermore, the brand places a strong emphasis on upholding the highest levels of professionalism and ethical standards,” says Usaiwevhu.

Marijeni believes that the opening of the new Tyson Properties branch comes at an important time. With greater demand for properties, there will be more competition and demand for better service delivery.

Tyson Properties’ Richards Bay branch, which will also service nearby Empangeni and Mtunzini and has a catchment area that could extend as far Hluhluwe, will start with six agents.

Within the next six months, the partners plan to open a dedicated Empangeni office.

Once they have established themselves in the residential domain, they will turn their attention to commercial property.

Drawing on the Lightstone Report, Usaiwevhu notes that they will be growing their agency off a strong base. Over the past couple of years, sales have consistently been above 700 property registrations and these are expected to grow in line with the expected increase in economic activity.

Prices averaged R1.2 million for freehold properties and R600 000 for sectional title properties which are the most popular with buyers.

“Over the past 12 months (Feb 2016 to Mar 2017), 79% of buyers were aged between 18 and 49. When it comes to sellers, 56% were between 18 and 49. If you take a closer look, you will see that 36% of the recent sellers had owned their properties for less than five years. The 50 years and above bracket is also very busy, particularly on property sales. This strong sales activity tends to organically have a trickle effect on rentals,” Usaiwevhu points out.

With a steady influx of young professionals into the area, he says that there is also growth in investors buying to let.