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Local realtors voice concerns about new Notre Dame housing rule

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Local real estate insiders raised concerns regarding new housing requirements to be implemented at the University of Notre Dame.

Beginning in 2018, all newly enrolled undergraduates will be required to live on campus during their first year, sophomore, and junior years.

“For them to go this other route it’s very concerning,” said Steve Mihaljevic, a local off-campus student housing manager.

There are currently 8,500 undergraduate students enrolled at Notre Dame. The university reports 15 percent of juniors and 2 to 3 percent of sophomores live off campus.

“We need these students to live downtown and be free to choose what they want to choose,” he said. “It doesn’t make much sense for the university to do this.”

The decision is based off a variety of input on campus. A major takeaway is that students want a closer knit university community.

“Residential life is a distinct and beloved feature of Notre Dame undergraduate education,” Rev. John Jenkins, president of the university, said in a press release. “It is my hope that these new approaches will reinforce the crucial role of residential life and our desire to make this experience even more meaningful and attractive for all students.”

Aaron Haste, a local real estate broker, said this decision negatively impacts home values and will cost property owners thousands of dollars.

“The guys that were doing a hundred thousand dollars in revenue could be forty, fifty, sixty thousand,” said Haste. “If they get a forty percent reduction that forty thousand dollars a year that’s a lot of money.”

Haste said independent realtors bring in over $10,000 annually from off campus housing. Franchise realtors make over $100,000, if not more, according to Haste.

He said with this change, the property value of the homes near Notre Dame will be affected.

“The prices would increase about 1, 2, 3 percent a year,” Haste said. “It was the highest rate right around Notre Dame campus, now it’ll probably be just similar to the rest of the county.”

In 2015, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said he wants Notre Dame students to feel like they’re a part of South Bend. The university’s Office of Public Affairs said Notre Dame is dedicated to the ongoing development of the local economy.

“I think it’s very important for the university to understand that it needs the city it needs downtown to be vibrant and the city needs the university as well,” Mihaljevic said.

The university said details are to be determined over the next couple of years. Students can seek a waiver for this requirement, according to Notre Dame, and each will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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