Chelsea House loft at 130 West 19 Street provokes delayed bidding war

a fascinating sequence finally gets this loft off to the races

It took the “1,596 sq ft” Manhattan loft #9A at 130 West 19 Street (the Chelsea House) 9 weeks to get into a contract above ask, but that is not the most unusual thing about the listing history. I find it fascinating that after 4 weeks at the ‘wrong’ price, the price drop of $100,000 eventually generated a bidding war so fierce as to drive the sales price above the original (‘wrong’) price. We are in a market in which the ‘right’ price is often discovered quickly (15 of 55 loft resales in October with contract dates on the Master List of downtown Manhattan loft sales between $500,000 and $5mm went to contract within 30 days), yet this one needed time and a price drop. I would love to know the unknowable (I am that kind of Guy): did that price drop generate enough competition to drive the price above where it would have gone had the original (‘wrong’) price been left in place long enough to provoke someone (and I mean some one) into bidding? These dates make that supposition plausible:

July 11 new to market $2.55mm
Aug 6 $2.45mm
Sept 13 contract
Nov 4 sold $2.6mm

The loft wasn’t out there long enough that this would be a Rising Tide deal, such as the Noho loft that I hit in my November 26, a rising tide floats 712 Broadway loft in upper Noho to full price after 10 months, which took almost a year to get a full price deal. But it also wasn’t like the 15 October sales that went into contract within 30 days, 13 of which went above the last ask but (only) 11 of which went above the first ask (meaning, there was an intermediate price drop to a price that was higher than the last ask but lower than the first ask). Note to self … blog about the above-original-ask sales that took longer than loft #9A at Chelsea House….

another (less exciting) theory

In re-reading the broker babble, I originally overlooked the last sentence, which might account for why this loft took a little longer to get into contract, even if priced right at the start: not many buyers will defer moving in for 3 or more months after closing:

Create a well-proportioned 3 bedroom home from this oversized 2 bedroom, two-bath apartment at the Chelsea House. This sun-flooded apartment has floor to ceiling windows and an extra-large living room. See alternate floor plan included with original layout. The open chefs kitchen has stainless steel appliances, Macassar Ebony cabinetry, and granite counters. The master bathroom has a soaking tub and separate glass shower. There is Santos Mahogany floors throughout, high ceilings, and a washer/dryer. The building features a 24 hour Doorman, private storage, a fitness center, media screening room/ playroom as well as a spectacular roof deck with cabanas, outdoor fireplace, and grass area. Tenant in place until February 2014.

(Emphasis added.) That delay between writing the check (starting the mortgage obligation) and getting to enjoy the space will shrink the buyer pool. Someone highly confident in the original pricing might wait longer for a buyer to emerge, as a result. But this someone seems not to have been so confident about prices (hence, the $100,000 drop). Interesting….

remember the nuclear winter for Manhattan real estate?

We seem to have settled for ’13-’14 into a typical winter weather pattern in New York, and the prior listing history of loft #9A reminds me of the non-meteorological winter of ’08-’09. The faceless LLC that paid $1,985,587 to buy from the developer in May 2007 was willing to sell at a loss for 5 months beginning February 2009 (asking $1.9mm), but The Market wouldn’t let it! (It doesn’t look like anyone in the LLC ever lived here, as our listings data-base shows that the two times the loft was offered for rent, per StreetEasy, the place was quickly rented; since the loft was offered for rent immediately after the sponsor purchase, I have to assume the first asking rent was a good economic deal for the LLC, so that the two rentals were no worse than a few thousand a year hits.)

With this background, and no need for the LLC to have to move somewhere else to live (unlike a natural person, d’oh), the eventual sale at $2.6mm looks like a pretty good day for the LLC’s balance sheet.

’tis the season

Sticking with the theme of mashing a seasonal term used as real estate metaphor with a seasonal term used for, you know, a season, let’s look at the loft. The condition is state of the (mid-market) art, circa 2007, as the loft appears to be unimproved since the sponsor sale. The footprint is easily mistaken for that of a classic loft, and is different from the … er … cookie cutter floor plans in other units in the building. Yes, the babble claims you can create a 3-bedroom, but as with many Long-and-Narrow floor plans with windows only front and back that are not wide enough for 3 bedrooms across the back wall, if you add a third bedroom to the front you will severely reduce the light and volume up there. If you do that, the resulting living area will be (they say) 23’11” x 12’3″, which is (as they say) “well-proportioned” in an Upper West / East apartment sense, though not from a loft-y perspective.

Loft lovers who had to have 3 bedrooms would likely buy a different property than buy this 2-bedroom and shrink it up front for that essential third bedroom. But if you own it you can do whatever you like. I won’t judge, though I may try to interpret what The Market thinks when there is a sale to consider….


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