New York Times Paints a Partial Picture of South Bend Real Estate

by Nick Molnar on March 30, 2009

“There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” but South Bend’s profile in the New York Times as a case study in foreclosure gone wrong doesn’t paint a rosy picture of the city.

Readers could easily get the impression that every house in South Bend looks like this one, which is bank owned and listed for sale at $9,000. 

But that’s simply not true. While there are homes that are beyond repair and which people fight not to own, there are also rehab opportunities, affordable homes in good shape, and luxury homes that would please most anyone. South Bend is a city with 105,000 people and 46,000 housing units. It has the expected range of housing.

Here are twelve more homes with South Bend addresses. They also aren’t typical for the city, but I think they effectively counter the notion that all South Bend homes are in disrepair. 


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim March 31, 2009 at 9:38 am

Good call, Nick.

One thing that I learned growing up near central New York (and being familiar with truly bleak cities like Utica and Rome) is that no matter how bad the conditions, there is ALWAYS a high end in the real estate market.

Every city needs doctors and lawyers.


Anon Alum March 31, 2009 at 11:59 am

The old joke was the only place you could get a free house was in Three Mile Island and Detroit. Well, looks like we can add South Bend to the list.

Most of the SB area large custom homes, like those pictured above, will sell below their cost of construction/new sale price. In this area, such homes are like white elephants. Build a home like this for $800K or so (especially the $1M+ homes) and then when you go to sell it, you’ll get a lot lot less…maybe 20% less. There just isn’t much a market for these large homes in the area and sales holding times are long. Moreover, people with this kind of money usually like to build their own home versus buying someone else’s dream home.

South Bend is a declining area. It is what it is. The macro economic factors all point down.


Dean March 31, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Where are those homes located?


Nick Molnar March 31, 2009 at 8:09 pm

I added links to the photos if you want the locations. But they are primarily in the Ridgedale, Deer Run at Topsfield, Erskine Manor and Westwood Shores neighborhoods, and on Jefferson Blvd and the Roosevelt Road / Turkey Trail area.


Anon Alum March 31, 2009 at 8:54 pm

March closing stats should be interesting and telling on how the spring will go…..keep up the good work!


JL April 1, 2009 at 11:57 am

Leave it to our media to find the outlier examples and impose the concept across the whole area.

Anon Alum I would agree with your assessment of people historically not wanting to buy the dream of others. Not sure about the selling for 20% less…break even is more likely. The threshold for this phenomena is really $600k and up in my opinion.

A lot of the large homes in Granger and Niles have been built over the past 15 years. Few of these homes have traded above $800k yet so my verdict is still out on a trend. If you build a tasteful house and make updates over time, it will sell. A vibrant labor market leads to a vibrant housing market. Jobs….jobs….jobs


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