meticulous renovation of 233 West 26 Street loft means +31% over 2006, and a skirmish

adding bed + bath, meticulously, helps
On my particularly cranky days I don’t react well to broker babble about a “meticulous” renovation, but on most days I see “meticulously” for what it is: a wonderful adverb that — when used in the right place — says something important about the new condition of Manhattan loft. Yes, it would be nice if The Broker Thesaurus had more choices, but we are limited by convention. Sigh.

Even on cranky days I love a lovely renovation, especially one that adds significant value. The folks who just sold the “2,000 sq ft” Manhattan loft #5W at 233 West 26 Street started in 2006 with a loft that had 2 bedrooms and a single bath that was said to be in mint condition (though not on StreetEasy; more on that below) and turned it into a 3-bedroom + 2 bath, with new kitchen and baths, a reconfigured back wall (where the original 2 bedrooms were), and a new bedroom and home office in front.

I see lovely fixtures and furniture in the kitchen and baths, but one generally can’t see “meticulous” in a listing (at least, not without hints in the babble and photos about particularly clever or careful detailing). You most often need to see “meticulous” in real life, but sometimes there are hints of sliding doors, well-crafted (hidden) stuff like hardware, difficult to achieve effects like Venetian plastering. So I will take their word that this renovation was meticulous, at least in part because of the reaction of The Market.

Loft #5W traded in 2006 (in mint condition, remember) at $1,427,500. It came to market again on October 4, 2011 a $1.85mm and found a contract by October 27 at $1.875mm, closing on December 13. That is 3 weeks to contract and cashed out in 10 weeks at a premium to ask. Granted, the 1.3% premium suggests more of a bidding skirmish than a full-out war, but a premium is a premium is a premium….

the missing link
I mentioned that StreetEasy has no listing for the 2006 sale. I assume that has something to do with listing agents changing firms and firms going out of business, but the inter-firm data-base has the opposite problem: listing data without connection to any sale. (Sigh.) Putting 2-and-2 together, we start with a loft with the “mint” box checked for “condition” in Overall. kitchen, and bath. There is noting in the text of that babble to support “mint” anywhere (unless “grand” is a more powerful modifier than I think it is), but perhaps they were just modest:

grand 2 bedroom, 1 bath with washer & dryer and potential for a second bath awaits your arrival. Mahogany stained hardwood floors, 10 foot Ceilings, and a wall of south facing floor to ceiling windows make this 23 x 24 living room a pleasure to relax in. All this with an open kitchen and a separate dining area. Rear bedrooms are very peaceful with a 24 by 5 terrace. Hurry! Run dont walk. This one wont last!

I quoted that last bit only because sometimes I am cranky. The price history demonstrates the danger to agents who do not update listing text as circumstances developer (or, in this case, as they do not develop), with the finale taken from StreetEasy:

May 10, 2005 new to market* $1.695mm
July 27   $1.55mm
Nov 22   $1.45mm
Jan 31, 2006 contract  
Mar 29 sold $1,427,500

(*The data-base says it had been offered for sale by owner at $1.75mm before May 10, 2005, but it does nto say for how long.)

Even after the last price drop it took 2 months to find a contract. And you do hate to see a loft that “won’t last” take nearly 9 months to find a contract.

As an aside (yet another …), note that this agent and/or seller went to the same school as I did about price drops, as both drops were six figures. (See my rant yesterday, 4 prices, 12 months to contract for loft at 315 West 36 Street, about a stubborn seller who eventually came around to nibbling at the asking price instead of just going for it.) It is one thing to be wrong about the value of a listing, as this seller and agent were in 2005, but at least they did not compound that error by dribbling their way down to the right level.

building has had these skirmishes before
Fun fact: the StreetEasy building page shows that 3 of the last 5 public sales in the building (going back to August 2007) have been above the asking price. These folks might be getting spoiled.

Another fun fact: yesterday I said this:

The beauty of a Big Drop in a deep market is that bigger drops attract more buyer interest and more buyer interest can correct a drop that is ‘too big’ through a late-in-the-game bidding war.

I meant to link yesterday to examples of The Market correcting a too-large price drop, but it was getting late and the post was getting long. I still should do that in some comprehensive way (note to self …), but the #5E sale on January 29, 2010 is an excellent example, with a marketing campaign coming out just a bit too high into the thaw in the overall Manhattan residential real estate market, then over-correcting:

June 26, 2009 new to market $1.795mm
July 14   $1.699mm
Oct 16   $1.599mm
Oct 22   $1.5mm
Nov 6 contract  
Jan 29, 2010 sold $1.575mm

Stop me before I digress again. (Thank you.)

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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