Chainworks loft at 144 West 18 Street sells in a delightful series for market watchers

one Manhattan loft building can be a microcosm, indeed

The recent sale of the “3,097 sq ft” Manhattan loft #2E at 144 West 18 Street (the Chainworks Building) for $4.6mm ($1,485/ft) got me to wondering if any of the recent sales in this prime Chelsea 2003 new condominium residential loft conversion was at a building record. Finding that they aren’t got me to noticing at the Past Activity tab on the StreetEasy building page how well this single building with only 18 units has exemplified The Market over the last 10 years.

The original owner of loft #2E paid $1,934,675 ($625/ft) when he bought it from the sponsor in November 2003. When he resold in June 2005 at $2.885mm ($931/ft) you could feel The Froth beginning. A few months later, more froth, as the original owner of the “2,463 sq ft” loft #5W resold at $2.7mm ($1,096/ft) what he had paid only $1.625mm for 2 years earlier.

Move from the Early Froth of 2005 to the Late Froth / Near Peak of June 2007, when the “2,468 sq ft” loft #6E sold for a battle-won $3,705,121 ($1,501/ft); a year to the day after the essentially identical loft #3E sold for $2,937,500 ($1,190/ft). Late Froth, indeed.

In nuclear winter, still in the pre-Thaw period for this building at least, the two similarly sized lofts that sold were at dramatically different values, reflecting that these sellers likely were getting-toward-desperate and that The Market dealt with them accordingly. The “2,463 sq ft” loft #6W sold on May 19, 2009 at $2.18mm, or (gasp) $885/ft. Then the “2,468 sq ft” loft #4E sold on June 11, 2009 at $2.425mm, or $983/ft. A very cold nuclear winter that was on West 18th Street.

Precovery had long since settled in by the time the next loft at this size sold here, as #4W sold on May 15, 2012 at $3.75mm, or $1,522/ft. The recent sale of #2E at $1,485/ft is within the range of market noise of that #4W sale 5 quarters earlier.

Just for fun, let’s line up these individual data points with he StreetEasy Condo Index, as usual using the August 2013 index value of 2,175 for September sales:

June 2005 $931/ft 1,890
September 2005 $1,096/ft 1,980
June 2006 $1,190/ft 1,990
June 2007 $1,501/ft 2,100
May 2009 $885/ft 1,890
June 2009 $983/ft 1,860
May 2012 $1,522/ft 1,940
September 2013 $1,485/ft 2,175

I don’t know whether it is better to say that the StreetEasy Condo Index is a reasonable proxy for the overall Manhattan residential market Including sales at this single loft condo conversion from 2003) or to say that this sequence of single data points is a reasonable proxy for  the overall market. Probably both are equally valid statements, as far as they go. One is an attempt to sum up thousands of data points in a single index over time; the other is a small sample of highly comparable sales in a single hyper-local market.

They overlap reasonably well, regardless.

haven’t hit those sales before

The only two Manhattan Loft Guy posts in this building dealt with lofts not mentioned here because they are not as directly comparable to #2E and these others. My June 11, 2009, neighborly competition / laggard at 144 West 18 Street closes off 15% since December, dealt with two smaller lofts that sold 6 months apart and really show the nuclear winter effect, while my August 29, 2011, 4 terraces = 1 bidding war for penthouse loft at 144 West 18 Street, dealt with a penthouse with (yes) 4 terraces (a very different animal).

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