133 West 17 Street loft with open air + potential sells for $1,071/ft

the dog that did not bark
Sometimes a loft that does not sell tells you something as interesting about the market as a loft that does sell. For Exhibit A, I give you the "1,770 sq ft" Manhattan loft #5C at 133 West 17 Street, which did not sell when offered at $1.895mm from March through June 2009. For Exhibit B, I give you the "1,770 sq ft" Manhattan loft #5C at 133 West 17 Street, which was again offered at $1.895mm (from January 6 to April 12 this year), and which sold on May 31. At $1.895mm.

Same loft (obviously). Different markets (obviously).

If you saw yesterday’s post (July 17, bromancing The Miller: squiggly chart explains (not quite) everything about Manhattan real estate trends), you saw me in dialogue with The Miller about trends in the overall Manhattan residential real estate market from early 2005 into this year. (At least, you saw me respond to a heckuva chart from The Miller.) If you also follow me on The Twitter (you don’t? Note the forced misspelling: @ManhattnLoftGuy), you saw me in actual dialogue with The Miller, as he liked my character-limited formulation of the market from 2006 into 2009: Froth + Peak + Trough + Thaw.

Exhibit A is loft #5C at the Trough, not selling off an ask of $1.895mm.

second-guessing seller, only to make a point
You see what the seller did wrong in 2009, right? (At least "wrong" if they really wanted to sell then.) She left the market as it was beginning to thaw out of Nuclear Winter (a term with an extravagance of characters for The Twitter.) From a market characterized by very few buyers at any price in early 2009, the changing market in mid-2009 included many more active buyers.

Of course, if the seller’s intention in 2009 was to sell at or close to $1.895mm if she could, she did exactly the right thing in retreating from a market that (still) was not going to pay them close to her ask.

For that, she needed a 5th step in a shifting market: Rebound. That stage began, in broad terms, in 2010 and (as the overall market remains more or less flat since then) the Rebound stage persists to this day.

The 2012 market had little trouble finding a buyer at $1.895mm, generating a full-price deal within 100 days, at a price simply unavailable in early 2009. Of course, for my purposes I wish the seller had tried longer in 2009 and at lower prices, but the market does not act to my whims. Still. Darn.

walls of windows = possibilities
The marketing campaign leads with 3 photos of what is outside the windows (the next two feature the windows from the inside as much as anything else), with text that leads with the "two walls of windows". There is nary a mention of finishes, and the interior photos make it guesswork to assess the quality or vintage of the kitchen or two bathrooms.

Note that the modifiers in this babble have nothing to do with quality:

fifth floor home features two walls of windows allowing this loft to accommodate three bedrooms, including a master bedroom suite and home office. The large open kitchen flows into an expansive and gracious living room and dining area. Included in the apartment is a full laundry and second bathroom. At over 1,700 square feet, this floor plan allows for comfortable, flexible living with a design that allows you to move right in or make your own design changes.

The lack of bragging notwithstanding, the loft sold at $1,071/ft. This value compares very favorably to the last two lofts that sold in the building, one of which was claimed as a triple mint beauty.

The current record holder in the building on a dollar per foot basis is the “1,352 sq ft” loft #3A, which sold on October 7, 2010 (in the Rebound step) for well above ask at $1.457mm ($1,078/ft). That one was not only brag-worthy, but recently so:

South facing triple mint loft has one bedroom + home office, two full baths, enormous beamed ceilings, huge windows and hardwood floors! Located on one of the best tree lined blocks in prime Chelsea, the recent renovation is the perfect blend of authentic loft and 21st century aesthetic. Currently being used as two bedrooms, this bright space features a large state-of-the-art chef’s kitchen with custom Italian designer cabinets, Silestone countertops, appliances by Sub-Zero, Miele and Bosch, separate pantry and private washer & dryer. The two full bathrooms incorporate all new fixtures and Bisazza tile. Generous closets throughout make storage a snap.

second-guessing seller, only to make a different point
This is weird: in more or less similar market conditions, #3A sells at $1,078/ft as a triple mint beauty, then #5C sells at $1,071/ft with a marketing campaign that focuses on what is outside the windows. In the most gentle way possible, I have to wonder if the #5C seller priced too low in 2021, as the hyper-local market may be a little more rewarding in 2012 than it was even in 2010.

Weird, indeed. But then, individual data points often are.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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