6 prices, 13 months to contract for 107 West 25 Street loft

a busy little building

One of these days I am going to get to drafting a post about the bidding wars I have observed with buyer clients and on the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008. But that day is not 12.12.12. Today in numerology we have those digits in the title, about the odyssey of the “1,200 sq ft” Manhattan loft #3B at 107 West 25 Street. This is a marketing campaign that is the opposite of a bidding war:

Sept 2, 2011 new to market $1.245mm
Oct 7   $1.175mm
Dec 7   $1.08mm
Mar 6, 2012   $1.07mm
April 12   $999,999
June 22 hiatus  
July 9 change firms $1mm
Oct 2 contract  
Nov 29 sold $970,000

(Maybe I cheated a little about the six prices, but that last one dollar increase does yield a sixth price. Blame them, not me.)

This early 1980s coop conversion in what was then really the Flower District has only 24 units but has had 12 sales in the last 3 years (not quite half the number of lofts, as one sold twice) and has been grist for eight Manhattan Loft Guy posts going back nearly 5 years (listed below). There is probably no Manhattan loft building that is this small yet has had so many Manhattan Loft Guy posts.

betwixt and between can be a tough place to sell
The latest broker babble touches two extremes, first in warning you that the loft may need some updating (“possibilities are endless to make this spacious, authentic loft your own”), and then in telling you you might not have to upgrade the expensive stuff (“well-equipped kitchen … beautifully renovated bath“). The floor plan is classic Long-and-Narrow, Small Loft Category, with but 3 windows on a single wall but an awful lot of utility (bedroom plus “sleep area” plus open loft plus office plus dining room, with the single bathroom doing double duty by having entrances from the master and opposite the sleep area).

There’s a value play here for someone who would use this loft exactly as it is, but for a buyer who would start by erasing the lines on the floor plan (as a first step “to mak[ing] this spacious, authentic loft your own”) there may be difficult cost/benefit analysis involved, especially as it may be limited to that single bathroom and there are only the 3 windows, all on the same narrow wall. There may be an involved backstory to this marketing campaign, but the schedule and numbers suggest a simple narrative: it was not that the loft was mis-priced (it certainly wasn’t since at least December 7, 2011) but that it had a hard time finding the right buyer.

Clearing at $970,000, this “1,200 sq ft” loft was valued by The Market at $808/ft. That leaves a reasonable budget for upgrading the loft based on a “highest quality finishes and detail” neighboring loft that supports a same-building-but-renovated value of $1,111/ft (for details, see my July 5, 2012 post, below). But the two lofts in the building that suggest that $1,111/ft for beautiful space in this small building both had much more flexible footprints than loft #3B (with better light and stacks for 2 baths) and have kitchen and baths at a whole ‘nother level than the “well appointed” kitchen and “beautifully renovated bath“ in #3B, so a $303/ft renovation budget might not suffice.

In other words, loft #3B may be ideal for someone who needs exactly the present utility of #3B and is comfortable with a well appointed kitchen and (single) beautifully renovated bath. $808/ft is more of a bargain for this sort of buyer than for a buyer who would want to improve the space to the tune of $350/ft or more. That second buyer risks outrunning the local comps.

I will be curious to learn if the new owners make this spacious, authentic loft their own, with a significcant renovation budget.

this memory lane is getting crowded

© Sandy Mattingly 2012


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