motivated seller sells off 10% since 2007 at Chelsea Mercantile

can a tragic bargain be a market sale?
The spread between the recent full-ask sale of the “1,631 sq ft” Manhattan loft #16H at 252 Seventh Avenue (long-time Manhattan Loft Guy fave, Chelsea Mercantile) and the price at which it was purchased 4 years ago suggests a motivated seller: 

  • April 28, 2011 $2.25mm ($1,379/ft) 
  • April 11, 2007 $2.5mm ($1,533/ft)

as most people would have tried to re-sell at least at the price paid a year before The Peak. But the names on the deed suggest why this full-ask sale was at 90% of the 2007 purchase: this was an estate sale. (An estate sale of a relatively fresh loft, not — as is common — an estate sale of an apartment that had not been upgraded in 30+ years.)

That looks enough like a bargain that I bet future buyers and sellers at The Merc will be arguing about whether this estate sale is a valid comp.

comping is hard
There! I said it again … comping is hard, even in a building as large as the Merc, with as transaction volume as this building gets. For #16H, one difficulty is scale compared to other 2-bedrooms (the 2nd bedroom is 10’2” x 17’9”; the living room is a voluminous 19’ x 29’; here); another difficulty is view (hte north view from the 16th floor is wide open). Thus, the somewhat larger #12H (“1,675 sq ft”) cleared on March 16 at (only) $2mm ($1,194/ft) after a very quick campaign (9 days to contract) and a slight discunt from the ask of $2.1mm.

former move-up in the 2-bedroom category
The decedent on whose behalf #16H was just sold clearly liked the size and view from that loft. She sold the “1,257 sq ft” #14F on August 23, 2007 at $1.74mm ($1,384/ft) to buy #16H on April 11, 2007 for that $2.5mm. She had been in #14F since buying it for $881,000 in the original offering way back on December 14, 2000. Curiously, the original sale of #16H was at a lower price than #14F ($815,000 on November 9, 2000), possibly due to a difference in contract signing dates, although the new developments market at the turn of the century was not particularly frothy, as I recall.

paging Michael Buffer
To repeat: future buyers and sellers at 252 Seventh Avenue will argue about whether the sale of #16H at 90% of the April 2007 price was a ‘market’ transaction. With the volume at The Merc continuing, they are probably arguing about that now.

© Sandy Mattingly 2011

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