151 West 17 Street loft sells up 9% in 16 months

at least everyone made money
From a karmic perspective, it is nice that the “1,917 sq ft” Manhattan loft #6A at 151 West 17 Street (the Campiello Collection) has a fairly straight line sales history, with no hiccups or plunges:

  • Dec 14, 2011 $2.45mm
  • Aug 19, 2010 $2.25mm
  • Aug 22, 2005 $2.075mm
  • Aug 1, 2002 $1,349,500*.

Everybody took out more than they paid in, so everyone should have left some smiles behind. You do like to see that, especially in a market in which that is often not the case.

(*That earliest sale was the sponsor sale, using a different property address, but trust me on that.)

(I am thinking of the contrast with only these most recent examples of some bad vibes that were probably left in a loft:

Let’s just say that there are a lot of bad vibes in the Manhattan loft market and that I try to highlight some of the interesting ones.)

The key to the no-dip price line is that the 2005 buyers waited until 2010 to sell, as some of the bad karma for other lofts was the bad timing and misfortune of a seller who really really really needed to sell into the nuclear winter market of late 2008 into 2009. Or of a 2010 seller who had been a peak buyer, like the people who sold #4B in the building for $1.25mm on November 16, 2010 after buying for $1.365mm on June 5, 2008.

The most unusual slope in the loft #6A no-dip price line is the last segment, up 9% from August 2010 to December 2011. I have not yet chewed on the major firm quarterly market reports for Manhattan residential real estate, but if you just skimmed the media reports, you know that the overall market is not up 9% year-over-year. (New York Times is here; Wall Street Journal, here.)

quick work, done well at both ends
Loft #6A went on the market on September 8 at $2.495mm (not quite 13 months after being bought; I wonder what changed there)

and found the contract at $2.45mm by October 20. The last time took a bit longer.

When the recent sellers bought, loft #6A came to market at $2.495mm (sound familiar?) on February 3, 2010, but it took a price drop to $2.295mm on March 15 to generate the contract by May 5 that closed on August 19 at $2.25mm. Note that no one swooped in in late March to prove the last drop was an over-correction.

I see no hint in the respective broker-babbling, pix, or floor plans that the loft was changed in any way between August 2010 and September 2011 (or, put another way, from $2.25mm to $2.45mm). I see nothing in the overall Manhattan residential real estate market, nor anything in the Manhattan loft niche, that changed by 9% in the 17 months between contracts.

Yet each price was The Market Value on each contract date. To put a different spin on it, I would say that the market noise pushed #6A down a bit in the 2010 negotiations, while market noise pushed the same loft up a bit in the 2011 negotiations. Perhaps the 2010-buyers-turned-2011-sellers were just tougher negotiators than their two counter-parties. (Note to self: … calling this dynamic market noise might not be ideal, or clear; try to do better next time.)

In a sense, these folks beat The Market: they bought low, and sold high. In each case, in my view, doing better than other buyers in 2010 and better than other sellers in 2011. Whether by luck or design is impossible to know, but the last segment in the loft #6A no-dip price line is intriguing.

indulge a (short!) digression, please
The recent #6A buyer is moving up the food chain of Manhattan lofts, as he is (patiently) coming to a “1,917 sq ft” loft with 2-bedrooms, 2.5 baths in prime Chelsea from this “1,000 sq ft” 1-bedroom 1-bath loft in the West Village. I wonder if he will miss the views.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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