Named after Sir John Cradock, the town is home to approximately 30 000 people. Regarded as the hub of the Cape’s wool industry, this predominantly farming area also produces mohair, fruit and beef. Situated 292 kilometres from Port Elizabeth, Cradock is famed for its hot sulphur baths which continue to attract a growing number of tourists to the area.
The town features a wealth of Victorian architecture, including the Dutch Reformed Church which was designed along similar lines to St-Martin-in-the-fields in London.
Statistics sourced by Lightstone reveal that there were 55 transfers in the area in the last 12 months. Prices paid averaged R517 000 for a full title property and R458 000 was the average for a sectional title property. The market is dominated by freehold property, with 98.07 percent of property falling into this category. In 2011 there were only two sectional title properties sold.
A mere 5.1 percent of existing owners are under 35 years of age. What is interesting, however, is that there has recently been an increase in the number of younger buyers to the area and last year it was reported that 22 percent of purchasers were under the age of 35. This perhaps indicates that the area is beginning to appeal to a younger crowd.
Sales volumes in Cradock, as with much of the rest of the country, have declined steadily since 2004, when there were 138 sales recorded. The encouraging news is that the 62 sales concluded in 2011 are up slightly from the 2009 and 2010 figures, indicating that sales are on the increase once again. In spite of the fact that sales volumes have declined, price averages have remained fairly stable, resulting in an overall rand turnover of just under R28-million in the last 12 months.
Price average consistency does play a significant role in stabilising market performance and this is evident when one looks at the overall turnover in terms of rand value. In 2011, despite only a slight increase in sales volumes, overall rand turnover came in at R32-million, which is an increase of R12-million since 2010, when just over R20-million worth of property was transferred. That said, market performance is still a long way from where it was in 2007, with mortgage lending by the major banks in the area declining by almost R18-million.
An internet search reveals that property in Cradock does seem to offer fairly good value for money and the fact that property can be purchased for as little as R60 000 has almost certainly fuelled demand. A large majority of the property is agricultural and although these obviously command far higher prices, residential property can be bought for the proverbial song. A five bedroom home was recently on the market for a mere R800 000 while a very neat two bedroom simplex was selling for a reasonable R395 000.