Notre Dame Condos – Supply and Demand

by Nick Molnar on January 17, 2007

North Douglas Condos on January 17th, 2007

South Bend has historically lagged behind other cities of its size in condominium numbers. Recently though, there has been an explosion of interest in condos in the areas around Notre Dame and downtown. The university is planning a retail/residential commons near “5 points” and private companies are adding condos as quickly as they can. These include GameDay, North Douglas Condos, Stadium Club and Waterford Estates. One unit in Oak Hill recently sold for an unexpectedly high price.

Today’s South Bend Tribune includes a story about Mark Kramer (permalink), a landlord who gears his business to Notre Dame students. He is buying apartment buildings with a possible eye towards later conversion to condos; “Eventually, Kramer said, he may convert Notre Dame Apartments into condominiums and sell individual units.”

This seems like a lot of growth geared toward a student population of 11,479. Especially, when you consider 80% of the students reside on campus, that leaves a pool of about 2,300 looking elsewhere. If one tenth of these students buy instead of rent, that yields a demand for 230 properties – houses or condos.

However, students aren’t the only reason behind the trend toward condos. There is an even larger pool of university alumni and football fans who want a place to stay when they drive in for game weekends. Of course, not all of these people will want to own a condo they use only seven weekends a year, and many will not buy if they don’t think they will later be able to sell at a profit. This will require smart buying and local knowledge, something difficult for out of town fans to acquire.

Additionally, young professionals and empty-nesters may buy other condos in the downtown area, though this hasn’t happened in large numbers yet.

Despite all these numbers, the South Bend condo experiment could be a runaway success. An aging population, gentrifying downtown and winning football team could combine to form a demand that exceeds supply. Or, in a commonly-seen pattern there could be a lot of growth chasing a waning demand. If that happens, you will see lots of condos retasked as apartments and impulse buyers left with condos they can’t sell.

As always, the South Bend Blog is an open forum that invites comments and questions. In this case though, I’d like to extend a special invitation to anyone involved in any of the new or existing condominium projects to contact me (nick@realst8.com). I’ll publish your remarks unedited and intact and you will reach hundreds of people interested in what you have to say. Take the opportunity to discuss your project – what is your vision and why is your project special? Why your condos are different than those of the next developer?

For more information on condo development in the area, check the South Bend Area Blog’s condo archives and the South Bend Condo Guide for photos and information about condos in the area.


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