241 West 23 Street loft pushes through market to close below 2007

up 8% since 2004, however
Here is another set of data points in search of a coherent narrative, as the same loft has been sold 3 times since 2004, prompting me to play with some numbers in search of some meaning. . Things were looking up for the Manhattan loft #3B at 241 West 23 Street, at least for a pair of former sellers as of at least 4 years ago. But then this:

  • June 16, 2004   sold   $1.25mm
  • Feb 16, 2007     sold   $1.41mm

was followed by this:

  • Mar 21, 2011     sold   $1.35mm

Leading up to that sale a month ago was this:

May 6, 2010 new to market $1.65mm
June 1   $1.549mm
Aug 13   $1.499mm
Sept 7   $1.45mm
Oct 21   $1.399mm
Jan 3, 2011 contract $1.35mm

You can’t say these last sellers weren’t trying. That’s 4 price drops (monthly, except for July) until they passed the point of pain (their February 2007 purchase price), after which they held firm for the 2+ additional months it took to find that contract.

You can say that they were … optimistic at the start, adding 17% to their pre-Peak purchase price.

I don’t know anything about these actual sellers and their actual motivation, but I have a theory about what a price and listing history like this suggest: a high motivation to sell (initial price notwithstanding), bordering on panic. I have to wonder what might have happened had they come out on May 6 at their third price of $1.499mm and held there, instead of starting high and dropping so often. I’d love to ask the buyer if she sensed blood in the water.

renovation is gorgeous but not new
The loft is “1,600 sq ft” of “gorgeous renovation” that “combines the best of both worlds – classic loft details” with that modern renovation. But that renovation appears to have been baked in to the value when the loft sold in 2007, and when it sold in 2004.

not afraid to ask a rude question
Aside from the (mild) anomaly of selling in 2011 below the 2007 purchase price, the nearby numbers are suggestive. Past sales data in the building is not recent enough to be compelling, but the fact that the larger #5B (“2,000 sq ft”) sold in October 2007 at $1.49mm, or $745/ft, in condition comparable to #3B raises a rude question: is it possible the (mildly) anomalous 2011 v. 2007 price problem is because they overpaid for #3B in 2007?

This question is made much more difficult by the age-old bogey man that agents have trouble with rulers. I’d be more comfortable suggesting that the #3B price ‘problem’ is due to over-paying in 2007 if I were certain that the loft is “1,600 sq ft”, or 80% of the size of #5B, as the last listing claimed. But the 2007 listing claimed “1,800 sq ft”. Arrrggghhhh.

The difference of whether the 2007 #3B price was $783/ft (if “1,800 sq ft”) or $881/ft (if “1,600 sq ft”) is significant (d’oh!), as #5B sold 2 quarters closer to The Peak at ‘only’ $745/ft. If #3B is “1,600 sq ft”, the 2011 sellers probably overpaid in 2007, as a spread of 18% over #5B is outside a typical’ variation around a market average.

Frustrating analysis, with all the what-ifs? For Manhattan Loft Guy, absolutely; for you readers, very likely; for the #3B sellers, most definitely (though for different reasons).

© Sandy Mattingly 2011


Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply