Pending Sales and the Tax Credit

by Nick Molnar on June 2, 2010

With a few exceptions (notably for members of the military stationed overseas), you had to be in a binding contract by April 30th as one of the criteria to qualify for the heavily promoted income tax credit that is available to some home buyers.

Personally and based upon my own conversations with people whose workflow is determined by the number of real estate transactions they touch (other real estate agents, title company closers, property inspectors and mortgage brokers), the tax credit increased the number of sales. But since I can’t talk to everyone involved with every sale, I checked the statistics too…the graph below charts the number of properties listed for sale in the South Bend Area MLS that went under contract each day in 2009 and through May 17th , 2010.

Notably, the pending counts for the first five months of 2010 are significantly higher than the same figures for 2009. And it would be hard to argue that the spike from mid April through the end of the that month is due to anything other than buyers who wanted to qualify for the tax credit.

Government involvement in the real estate market is hardly over now that sales don’t qualify for a tax credit:

  • payments on mortgage interest remain tax deductible for most homes,
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still buy large numbers of mortgages freeing banks to make more loans,
  • and the FHA’s low downpayment loans have become a major player in market, accounting for about one in three of the pending or closed sales this year in the local MLS.

But the tax credit is over as one government driver of new sales. In our area, it commonly takes four to six weeks to go from binding contract to closed sale. And a provision of the tax credit requires sales to close by June 30th. Watch for the “tax credit sales” to close in June, creating high sales numbers for the month. After June, it’s more difficult to forecast. Sales will likely dip like car sales did after “Cash for Clunkers” ended. But changes in the broader economy, or in FHA policy or in how a large bank handles foreclosures could tip the scales of supply and demand in unexpected directions. Comments are open if you’d like to share your prediction.


South Bend Real Estate Sales Report: April 2010

by Nick Molnar on May 17, 2010

Here’s the slightly delayed, but still earliest and best, market report for April. I’ve been thrown off my schedule while looking after a major development in my life, but am now getting back to my regular writing timeline.

The South Bend Area MLS records show that in April 2010:
  • 262 residential properties sold
  • 458 residential properties went under contract
  • 653 properties were newly listed or re-listed for sale (that is not a count of all homes for sale, just those listed inApril)
The 262 sales add up to $27.65 million in volume. That is about 14% higher than March 2010 and about 32% higher than April 2009

Sales Prices

The high price sale was 51443 Megan Ct in the Shamrock Hills neighborhood of Granger. It sold for $885,000 on 4/1/10. It was listed for sale in August 2008 for 1.3 million.
The next three highest price sales were in Granger’s Covington Shores neighborhood:
  • 14254 Shoreline sold for $545,000 on 4/16. It was listed for sale in April 2007 at $695,000.
  • 51285 Amesbury Way sold for $500,000 on 4/23. It was listed for sale in March 2010 at $520,000
  • 51380 Coveside Drive sold for $480,000 on 4/7. It was listed for sale in April 2009 for $560,000
Lower priced sales:
  • 17 homes sold for $10,000 or less.
  • 80 homes sold for $50,000 or less.


Cash sales were the most significant by number of transactions, with 92 sales.They were followed by FHA loans accounting for 85 sales, and conventional loans, accounting for 70 sales. “Other financing” like seller financed sales and lease options accounted for 8 sales and VA loans led to 7 sales.
Conventional loans accounted for the greatest sales volume, at 12.82 million. FHA loans followed with 9.26 million and cash sales accounted for 4.03 million. VA loans financed 0.81 million in sales and other financing led to 0.72 million in sales.

Notre Dame Area condos

139 Clancey Street in Dublin Village sold on 4/16 for $225,000. It was listed 8/28/2009 for $299,900 and last sold 3/11/07 for $267,365. That’s down about 16% in just over 3 years. There are now six townhomes for sale in Dublin Village, priced from $184,900 to $237,900.
There were three sales in the Woodbridge condos:
  • 18133 Stoneridge F at $65,000 with $2,500 in seller concessions
  • 18133 Stoneridge E at $55,000
  • 18155 Stoneridge C at $36,750 – a Fannie Mae sold foreclosure

New Construction Sales

The most expensive new construction sale reported in the mls is 19241 Copper Brook Drive, which sold for $232,000
Weiss Homes reported the 4 other new construction sales, at:
  • $188,105,
  • $151,918,
  • $149,900, and
  • $197,090 with $18,872 in seller concessions


South Bend Real Estate Sales Report: March 2010

by Nick Molnar on April 3, 2010

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

  • 238 residential properties sold
  • 299 residential properties went under contract
  • 638 properties were listed for sale (includes properties re-listed after expiring unsold)

The 238 sales add up to$24.27 million in volume. That is about 84% higher than February 2010 and about 42% higher than one year ago in March 2009.

Sales Prices

The high price sale in March was 18256 Forest Glade Drive in South Bend’s Bradford Shores. It’s a 3,739 square foot + finished walkout lower level home built in 2008 by Blake Builders. They listed it for sale in July 2008 at $779,900 and closed March 31st for $625,000. The list price was $735,000 at the time of sale.

The low price sale was 5202 Roger St in South Bend. It sold the day it was listed for $2,900.

Here are all 238 sales prices represented visually on a scatter graph


FHA loans were the largest market segment, by number of sales and sales volume. Cash sales take second place by the numbers but fall a distant third by volume. Conventional financing accounted for nearly the same sales volume as FHA loans, but on fewer purchases. VA loans and other financing remains rare in the South Bend Area.

Notre Dame Condos

There were no closed sales for any condos near Notre Dame in the MLS for March. Notably, an Oak Hill condo went under contract.  1407 Oak Hill Drive H4 is a 2 bedroom, 2 bath + finished lower level with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath condo. It has a small deck and one garage stall, and was listed at$145,000. It went under contract March 30th and was listed at $145,000 at that time. The sales price won’t be available until the transaction is complete.

This is the first activity other than new listings in that complex since the sale of 1557 Oak Hill Drive A7 in October, 2009.

New Construction

It was generally a tough month for builders. I found nine sales that look like new construction in the MLS. More than a few of them sold at steep discounts, as short sales or foreclosures.

18256 Forest Glade Drive, detailed above as the high price sale for March, sold at $625,000. It had been priced as high as $799,000 during its 600 days on the market. It was constructed by Blake Builders

Maxey Custom Homes sold two properties which appear to be short sales:

  • 26694 Boulder Bay Drive sold for $375,000. It was originally listed for$625,000 in August 2007 with a price eventually rising to $685,000 before various reductions led to a final asking price of $535,000 at the time of sale.
  • 18174 Baldwin Drive in Bradford Shores sold for $364,736. It was originally listed at $629,000 in September of 2008, and was priced at $559,900 at the time of sale.

23077 Keifer Way sold for $146,000 with $5,000 in seller concessions. It was a foreclosure that appears to have been built by Place Builders.

1332 Penn Ave in Mishawaka sold for $110,000 with $3,000 in seller concessions. It was a foreclosure previously owned by Cleland Builders. It was originally listed for $139,900 in August of 2008.

Weiss Homes sold four houses all of which appear to be normal sales:

  • 6819 Lutz Dr in Lafayette Falls at $210,440
  • 1526 Gauley River Dr in Ridgemont Crossing at $199,229
  • 1327 Slater Drive in Lafayett Falls at $186,587
  • 51578 Audubon Woods Dr in Audubon Woods at $153,200

Have Questions? Need Help?

That’s the most detailed and most current market data you’ll find for the South Bend Area (South Bend, Mishawaka, Granger and the areas near Notre Dame).  But honestly it’s still not good enough to base an informed decision about buying or selling property upon. Even if you are just curious about a certain neighborhood or market segment and especially if you need to make a financial decision related to real estate – call us. We’ll talk to you openly and honestly and never lock you in to working with us.


Near Northwest Neighborhood Homes

by Nick Molnar on March 19, 2010

On this web-site, I often write about homes that are expensive for the area. But one of the draws of South Bend is that it doesn’t have the housing prices of Boston or San Francisco… there are homes available at almost every price point from $5,000 to $2,000,0000.

As you would expect, most homes at the lowest price points have flaws. But there are exceptions. Notably, non-profit agencies can offer surprising deals. And the Near Northwest Neighborhood Association is one that does.

The Near Northwest Neighborhood Association works only in a defined location, but offers what might be the best homes for the price available in or near South Bend. There is a catch – to buy the homes you have to meet income guidelines which are currently $14,500 to $38,650 for a family of two. The homes also carry deed restrictions so when you sell one, your buyer must meet the income guidelines in place at the time of the sale. Finally, you must live in the house – you can’t buy it and rent it out.

The Near Northwest Neighborhood Association rehabs several homes each year, and sells them below cost in an effort to draw long term residents to the neighborhoods. They do nice work and go far beyond carpet and paint; the homes have new mechanicals, new windows, tile and wood floors and updated electrical service. Graduate students often qualify for the homes, and more than a few of the rehabbed homes have sold to families furthering their education at local institutions.

Currently, the Near Northwest Neighborhood Association has five homes for sale in their boundaries:

My pick of their current batch for sale is 508 Lindsey. It has four bedrooms plus an office and is across the street from a firehouse that has been converted to stage for the South Bend Civic Theater. It also has the shortest period with deed restrictions, which last five years at this house. The other homes have 15 year deed restrictions.

The homes are in an urban setting and won’t work for everyone. Some don’t have garages and others are next to less attractive homes. But they are generally large homes in excellent condition. They are also priced low enough to raise eyebrows. Students who don’t want to remain sequestered near campus might do well to consider them.


Ivy Quad’s 2009 Sales Prices

by Nick Molnar on March 5, 2010

editor’s update, 1/28/11: The four buildings that make up phase 1 of Ivy Quad are nearly complete. For updated information, including 2010 sales prices and recent photos, visit our January 2011 Ivy Quad Update.

I’ve never liked secrets. I’m a believer that good things are better when shared, and poor behavior is lessened when exposed. I think Louis Brandeis phrased it nicely when he said “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

Applying that mentality to my work, I always cringe a little when I speak with someone who thinks real estate commissions come from  controlling access to information about homes for sale. That seems to be the least important offering I have for my clients.

If all you need is data, here is our IDX search – it gives you free, anonymous access to all the homes listed for sale with a Realtor in the county.  I require registration after you look at the details of 99 properties, but that is only to prevent commercial use of the service.

But if you are looking to buy property near Notre Dame, it won’t ask what you need in a house and tell you which neighborhoods make sense for you. It can’t tell you which condos have watchful managers and which are still managed by the developer. It doesn’t warn you about the complex that has sinkholes near some foundations or guide you away from the developments that would be in foreclosure if the banks thought they could sell them.

The truth is, data is cheap. It’s background knowledge and evaluation that has value.

Believing that, I work to post information here freely. And I am paid when I work with someone who values competent and personalized advice – and they successfully close on their purchase or sale. Most often I can access sales data with a few queries of the local MLS. Sometimes I have to find the (public record) sales disclosures, and occasionally this takes some legwork. In new developments that have yet to be assigned parcel numbers it can be especially challenging.

That’s the case with Ivy Quad, a condo development adjacent to and east of Notre Dame. They sell outside of the MLS and the developer has opted not to share details of his sales, stating concern for his buyer’s privacy. And that sales information is not readily available even at the county assessor’s office.

I respect the desire for privacy and I won’t share information like buyers’ names and phone numbers here, though they are also public record. But the price of closed sales is important and relevant information for anyone considering condos at Ivy Quad, or anywhere near Notre Dame. I believe those details should be available even to people who don’t have the time and inclination to ferret out the numbers themselves.

To that end, here’s the data for Ivy Quad. They closed four sales  in 2009. The final prices were:

  • $238,765 on May 20, 2009
  • $222,840 on June 4, 2009
  • $261,100 on July 9, 2009
  • $246,445 on August 14, 2009

If you’d like help making sense of these numbers, of Ivy Quad, and the entire Notre Dame Area property market, call or e-mail.