224 West 18 Street lofts up 13% in a year, down 12% since Peak?

so it seems, but wait (there’s more!)
Yesterday’s Just sold! feature in the New York Post featured a Manhattan loft that had (yes!) recently sold. (Why can’t the New York Times do that?) It always interests me when a Manhattan loft sells quickly with a tiny discount, but this one is especially interesting in the context of building history, both recent and not-so.

CHELSEA $2,150,000

224 W. 18th St.

Three-bedroom, two-bath condo, 1,802 square feet, with open kitchen with Bosch, Sub-Zero and Miele appliances, granite center island and 60-bottle wine cooler, marble bath, master suite with dressing room, central A/C and Juliet balcony; building features doorman and gym. Common charges $1,834, taxes $1,166. Asking price $2,175,000, on market six weeks. Brokers: David Strah and Michael Moore, The Corcoran Group

The Manhattan loft in question is the “1,802 sq ft” (as noted) #8A at 224 West 18 Street (the Campiello Collection), the sale was closed on July 6 at $2.15mm (as noted; $1,193/ft), though it took just a tad longer than advertised, with a larger (but still tiny) discount. The relevant building history includes the year-old sale of the essentially identical #7A at $1.895mm (July 23, 2010; $1,052/ft) and the similar but larger #6A at The Peak (“1,866 sq ft” on March 4, 2008 for $2.525mm; $1,353/ft).

Much grist for the Manhattan Loft Guy mill here.

conditions … we got conditions (and a conundrum)
The footprints of #7A and #8A are identical, the layouts not quite so, as the 3rd bedroom has been opened up into a den / office in the #7A and the #8A closets have been re-configured in the master (“a custom-built dressing room”) and hallway. Otherwise, the finishes sound as though they are identical, in the same condition as when the building was newly a condo in 2002.

Yet #8A sold on July 6 at a 13.5% premium to the #7A clearing price 50 weeks earlier.

If you are wondering if the difference has something to do with light and views, there is no evidence for that in the babble. Both #8A and #7A have “North and West exposures [that] provide abundant light with unparalleled quiet and serenity”, with no mention of views in either listing.

Net-net, the variant market valuations are (ahem) difficult to reconcile. I wonder if they reflect modesty in one case and aggression in the other.

As hinted above, the #8A listing history was not quite as reported in the Post. In fact, the loft came out at $2.195mm on January 21 and found a contract by March 17 at the reported $2.15mm. Obviously, The Market accepted the pricing strategy, even with the #7A history.

That #7A history culminated in the July 23, 2010 sale at $1.895mm, which was the asking price from February 25 to March 12, 2010. Obviously, The Market accepted that pricing strategy, as well.

The first hint that the #7A sellers left some money on the table is, of course, the later history of #8A. The second is that it appears that the sellers had been abused by the chilly market in 2009. The loft had been offered from April 15 to October 15, 2009 at $1.98mm and (after July 8) $1.895mm, without success. The overall Manhattan residential real estate market had started to thaw by that price change, but this loft was not among the fortunate few to find a buyer in that market.

Having been burned at $1.98mm and $1.895mm in 2009, the sellers made the not unreasonable (prudent?) choice to re-start in February 2010 at the last price. Which The Market loved, proving that ardor by generating a contract in two weeks. The #7A sellers must have been relieved to get that resolution so soon at a price previously rejected. But retrospect —  that cruel female dog — suggests that they could have done a deal at a higher price, had they but asked. A cruel female dog, indeed, peering at #8A a year later.

reasonable off-Peak number, no?
Comparing #8A last month to #6A at The Peak requires a bit of an adjustment, as the floor plans are not quite the same. They have the same utility (3 bedrooms, 2 baths) but #6A is a wee bit larger (by 64 sq ft), has different room sizes, and lacks the small balcony that the higher floors have. (You can’t see the #6A floor plan in any of the StreetEasy listings extant, but it is still in our data-base.) On a price per foot basis, #8A cleared The Market on July 6, 2011 at a discount of 11.8% from the price of #6A on March 4, 2008.

That strikes me as within the reasonable range for the overall Manhattan residential real estate market over that same time period.

#7A in July 2010 is still the outlier.

2003 values were different
I don’t know when contracts were signed, but all three of these lofts sold around the same time in the initial offering:

#6A June 27, 2003 $1,094,714 $587/ft
#7A July 17, 2003 $1,272,812 $706/ft
#8A July 18, 2003 $1,200,000 $666/ft

There was more of a gap then than you’d think. Did The Market in the first offering really value that small balcony on the upper floors by so much? I think not, but cannot explain that 2003 spread.

one more “A” suggests more seller’s remorse
The only other similarly sized loft in the building to close this year was #4A, which has the same basic footprint but is a little big bigger at “1,905 sq ft” and no balcony. That was another quick sale: to market on January 19 at $2.295mm, in contract on March 2, and closed on March 21 at $2.2mm. That is $1,155/ft if you are scoring at home, tolerably close to the $1,193/ft for #8A, which took longer to close but was on the market and into contract at almost the exact same time as #4A.

This #4A history is further evidence suggesting that #7A a year earlier might well have done better, if only they had asked The Market for more. Oh well.

© Sandy Mattingly 2011


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