When I started in real estate, a smart Realtor about to leave for another field waved a sheaf of MLS printouts – the pages that detail square feet, price, etc. and said “We’re nothing without these.” She may have been joking, but she was on to something.

The MLS is a great resource. Hundreds of Realtors feed information on sales and for sale homes into it, and it makes it simple to search most of the homes for sale and to find the ones that fit your criteria. It is what you search when you click on “search homes” in the sidebar on the right side of your screen. The MLS also enables Realtors to see past sales prices and determine value. Ultimately it eases real estate sales and has become the primary source of property information in the market.

But there are some sales that never hit the MLS. For-Sale-By-Owner Homes aren’t in it, and some new construction isn’t input either. When a few sales aren’t in the MLS but many are, it doesn’t usually degrade the analysis of those depending on it. But when the bulk of a market sells outside the MLS, any Realtor that depends on it solely for info won’t really know what is happening. Unless they visit the neighborhoods, talk to buyers, sellers and builders, and search public records, they might miss most of the action and never know it.

Condos and townhouses near Notre Dame are one such market, especially in the new and newer developments like Champion’s Way at Eddy Street Commons and Ivy Quad. Developers are not entering sales information into the MLS and many won’t give clear answers when asked about sales prices.

If you check only the MLS, it looks like there were 24 condo or townhouse sales in the 15 developments that I consider the Notre Dame market. But I found 68 sales by looking at the deeds recorded with the county – only one third of the sales are in the MLS. The situation is even more extreme in the newer complexes. There are 7 sales in the MLS but I found 44 by checking deeds – just 16% of the sales are in the MLS.

It’s quick and easy to search the MLS for sales data, and for many neighborhoods that’s enough to yield good results. But it’s slow and tricky to learn a market that doesn’t report its sales in the MLS and it takes time. Here are my files on Notre Dame condos/townhouses as I was transferring them into Excel recently.

They came from the MLS, county records, visiting the complexes, talking to the builders and people who bought there. And I’m constantly working to keep them current and accurate as more sales occur, developers change floor plans and delivery schedules, and some projects even change hands midstream. If you’ve got an opinion to share or a question to ask about any of these communities, call or e-mail me.  I want to talk to you.  Not to sell you anything or put you on a spam list, but to hear what you think and to better understand this under-reported market.

I’ll share these files and profile the progress and sales at different development projects in later posts, but let’s start simple, here are the number of sales that closed at each complex in 2010.

  • 15 sales at Ivy Quad
  • 12 sales at Stonebridge
  • 10 sales at Champions Way at Eddy Street Commons
  • 6 sales at Woodbridge
  • 6 sales at North Shore Club
  • 5 sales at Dublin Village
  • 4 sales at Irish Crossings
  • 4 sales at Oak Hill
  • 2 sales at New London Lake
  • 1 sale at Stadium Village
  • 1 sale at Keenan Court
  • 1 sale at North Douglas
  • 1 sale at Jamison
  • no sales at River Point
  • no sales at Wexford Place

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2010 was a tough real estate year for many people. Sales volume in the South Bend MLS was down from past years and home prices were under considerable downward pressure. Several developers or builders folded.

But don’t believe the “sky is falling” media reports. South Bend is neither Las Vegas nor Miami. Though prices have fallen, if you bought early or bought “right” you may in better position than you think. And if you are buying now, there is more to making a smart purchase than repeating “offer them half of list price” until someone accepts.  Some neighborhoods and types of homes have held their value, while others have struggled.

This month, I’ll take a look at what did and didn’t sell in 2010 and try to present some general analysis of the real estate conditions in South Bend, Mishawaka and Granger, Indiana. Please remember these are overall numbers and broad generalizations. As with any financially significant decision, before you buy or sell property you should do your homework or get help from someone who knows the market  (for many of you reading this, that would be me).

Here is the 10,000 foot view, total sales numbers and scatter graphs that show every sales price at a glance.

There were 2,785 sales recorded for 2010 in the Greater South Bend – Mishawaka MLS, with a cumulative total of about $295.76 million.

Here is the long term graph of monthly sales totals:

South Bend Real Estate: Long Term Sales Graph

Here are all the sales prices at a glance (each dot represents one sale):

South Bend Real Estate: Sales Prices from 2010

For clarity, here is the same graph excluding the four sales over $700,000:

South Bend Real Estate: Sale Prices from 2010 up to $700k

And here it is again with the sales arranged from least to most expensive. This best illustrated to me how many of the sales took place in various price ranges:

South Bend Real Estate: Sales prices from 2010 with notes

There was an average of 7 sales every day and almost $300 million sold during the year. Nearly 90% of the sales occurred at or below $200,000.

If you liked this post and want to see more like it, add http://www.realst8.com/ to your feedreader, subscribe to our e-mail updates, or check back frequently for more on 2010’s high price sales, condo sales, comparisons to past years and to see what didn’t sell.

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South Bend Real Estate Report: September 2010

by Nick Molnar on October 21, 2010

The South Bend Area MLS records show that in September 2010:
  • 220 residential properties were sold
  • 176 residential properties went under contract
  • 406 residential properties were newly listed or re-listed for sale (that is not a count of all homes for sale, just those listed in August. There are 2,295 homes listed for sale in the SB MLS as I write this)
Those 220 sales add up to $24.98 million in volume. That is about 1.4% higher than in August 2010 and about the same as September 2009.
Here is the long term graph
South Bend Real Estate Sales: January 2002 - September 2010

Real Estate Sales Prices

The high price sale for September 2010 was 104 Conestoga in South Bend off Jefferson Road. It sold for $775,000 on 9/7/10. It was originally listed for $850,000 on 2/18/2010.
104 Consetoga, South Bend, IN
Other high price sales were:
  • 51820 Harborough Drive in Granger’s Covington Shores for $550,000. It was listed for $665,000 on 9/23/2009 and previously sold for $617,000 in January 2009 and $610,000 in November 2007.
    51820 Harborough, Covington Shores, Granger, IN
  • 18263 Berger Street near Notre Dame in South Bend for $482,500. It was listed for $559,000 on 4/19/2010.
    18263 Berger, South Bend, IN
  • 3230 Topsfield in South Bend’s Deer Run for $450,000. It was listed for $1.25 million on 3/9/2007 and previously sold for $850,000 in September 2006.
    3230 Topsfield, South Bend, IN
  • 15852 Ashville Lane in Granger’s Quail Ridge South for $449,000. It was listed for $479,900 on 5/17/2010 and previously sold for $462,500.
    15852 Ashville, Quail Ridge South, Granger, IN
  • 1808 Jefferon Road in South Bend for $425,000. It was listed for $650,000 on 4/8/2010.
    1808 Jefferson, South Bend, IN
There were 11 sales below $10,000 and 84 sales below $50,000.
Here are all the sales prices at a glance:
Real Estate Sales Prices from the South Bend Area MLS: September 2010

Financing

Cash sales account for the greatest number of September’s sales and conventional mortgages made up the largest portion of sales by volume. VA and other types of financing, such as lease-option and owner financing, remain comparatively rare by the numbers.

September 2010 Real Estate Sales from the South Bend Area MLS: Financing Details

More Questions?

If you are considering the purchase or sale of property in the South Bend – Mishawaka – Granger – Notre Dame Area and want a no-pressure, no-hassles consultation with the Realtors behind the South bend Area Real Estate Blog, please contact us. We’re friendly and candid and if we can’t help you, we can probably point you in the right direction. Also, watch for more details on sales in niche markets like Notre Dame condos and new construction homes in coming posts, or feel free to ask questions in the comments. We can’t always answer them immediately, but do read them and try to incorporate them in future posts.

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South Bend Real Estate Report: August 2010

by Nick Molnar on September 25, 2010

The South Bend Area MLS records show that in August 2010:

  • 234 residential properties were sold
  • 268 residential properties went under contract
  • 495 residential properties were newly listed or re-listed for sale (that is not a count of all homes for sale, just those listed in August. There are 2,459 homes listed for sale in the SB MLS as I write this)

The 234 sales add up to $25.43 million in volume. That is about 3% higher than in July 2010 and about 20% lower than in August 2009.

Here is the long term graph

August 2010 - graph of monthly real estate sales volume in the South Bend Area MLS

Real Estate Sales Prices

The high price sale for August 2010 was 1222 Erskine Manor Hill in South Bend’s Erskine Manor neighborhood. It sold for $550,000 on 8/24/10.

Other high price sales were

  • 522 Kamm Island Place at the Townes at Kamm Island for $491,856
  • 51340 Carrigan Way in Covington Shores for $490,000
  • 51308 Harbor Ridge Drive in Covington Shores at $456,500
  • 1504 Colfax in South Bend at $425,000

There were 16 sales below $10,000 and 86 sales below $50,000.

Here are all the sales prices at a glance

Real Estate sales prices for August 2010 from the South Bend Area MLS

Financing

FHA sales were a smaller but still significant force in the market in August. Cash sales continue to dominate the lower price sales and conventional financing the higher price sales.

Real estate sales by type of financing

More Questions?

If you are considering the purchase or sale of property in the South Bend – Mishawaka – Granger – Notre Dame Area and want a no-pressure, no-hassles consultation with the Realtors behind the South bend Area Real Estate Blog, please contact us. We’re friendly and candid and if we can’t help you, we can probably point you in the right direction. Also, watch for more details on sales in niche markets like Notre Dame condos and new construction homes in coming posts, or feel free to ask questions in the comments.

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Watch the Construction of Your Condo

by Nick Molnar on September 2, 2010

If you are buying an unfinished condo or townhouse near Notre Dame but don’t live in South Bend you can still keep an eye on the construction of your condo. A dozen photos of the interior taken once a week will let you watch your place come together. It may even help you catch any mistakes or wrong finishes before your final walk-through.

Here are the photos I took for one of my clients who bought an Irish Crossings townhouse:



As an example, here is the progress of the kitchen:

July 27th
Irish Crossings Construction: Kitchen July 27th

August 16th
Irish Crossings Construction: Kitchen on August 16th

August 27th
Irish Crossings Construction: Kitchen August 27th

This is pretty basic work. It took me about fifteen minutes per week  to take photos, upload them to Picasa and share a link with the couple buying this townhouse. But they were a five hour drive from South Bend, making it impractical for them to watch the work personally.

If you’re buying a condo that is under construction, shouldn’t you ask the person representing you to help you monitor its progress? Is anyone representing you?

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