mystery sale at 130 West 19 Street: did Chelsea House private sale leave a bad comp in neighbors’ mouths?

is this sacrilege?
This will be short, as it is too late for an old guy to be blogging, but that’s what happens when you run around all day and don’t blog…. Very interesting sale of the “1,250 sq ft” Manhattan loft #6F at 130 West 19 Street (Chelsea House), interesting because it was apparently done without a brokerage firm being involved and because of how it compares to the upstairs neighbors who sold the same loft 3 floors up a month before. Despite selling at a price that the (remaining) neighbors might not like, the #6F sellers may have done all right for themselves. Let’s start with the upstairs comp.

Loft #6F sold on May 15 at $1.356mm, one of those StreetEasy “[n]o listing associated with this closing” sales. Loft #9F sold on April 19 at $1.475mm, having taken 360 days and 3 small price drops from $1.595mm to find that contract. Undoubtedly the #6F sellers were aware of that marketing campaign, and that market signifying price. (The inter-firm data base shows 29 [!] open houses during the campaign, so I suspect that everyone in the building was aware of the campaign.)

None of the lofts in the building should have lost many mints at this point, as the condo was newly built and units sold in 2006 and 2007. Here is the broker babble for #9F:

stunning, mint condition property benefits from bright Southern exposure and features high ceilings, open floor-to-ceiling windows, central a/c, venting washer & dryer, and rich Santos Mahogany hardwood flooring. The open kitchen has Maramba granite, quartz countertops, Viking Professional Series appliances and custom glass cabinets. The bathrooms include a deep soaking tub, stall shower and exquisite lighting.

Nice as that sounds, it is probably just like loft #4F, which sold 18 months ago at $1.35mm with this babble:

Santos Mahogany hardwood flooring. The open kitchen has Maramba granite, Arros quartz countertops, Viking gas range, and opaque glass cabinets. The bathrooms include marble, a deep soaking tub, stall shower and great lighting.

And, therefore, it is probably just like loft #6F, even though we do not have any broker babble. You’d expect #9F to get better light than #6F, but the #9F photos show only one window that may have appreciably more sky or light than 3 floors below.

If these “F” lofts don’t sound familiar to Manhattan Loft Guy readers, take a look at the floor plan and see if that looks familiar. I complained about that floor plan, and talked about the marketing odyssey, in my May 18, Chelsea House loft re-seller takes 51 weeks to get 7.5% discount, closing pennies below 2007 purchase. I headed that discussion of the “F” floor plan “fascinating layout, but not in a good way” and you should go back to that discussion about “wasted” space and an odd master bedroom configuration if none of this looks familiar.

these numbers are gross
Getting back to the sales prices, #6F got ‘only’ $1.356mm, while #9F got $1.475mm. That is a spread of 8.8% in favor of #9F ($119,000). Hence my title question about whether continuing owners will rue the #6F private sale as a low comp. They may have a point, but the #6F sellers may not care.

The better sale of #9F did not put all of that $1.475mm in the sellers’ pockets, of course. The biggest pocket filter would be the sales commission, which our system shows was 6% ($88,500).  If the #6F sale was truly private, without even an agent on the buyer side, the net gap between #9F and #6F shrinks to $30,500. That is a very reasonable (actual pocket) spread for th e3 floors of floor height.

Of course, I don’t know anything bout the #6F private sale, even whether it was at arm’s length or whether the buyer had a prior realtionshi with the sellers. But my point is that net-net, the gap in seller exprerience is not as great as it looks from the deed prices. The after market does not care about the sellers’ pockets, but the sellers do.

If the #6F sales price was negotiatd after the #6F sellers knew the #9F contract price, this would be one of those FSBO sales in which the FSBO got little (arguably no) financial benefit from not using a brokerage firm. In this case it appears as though the FSBO buyer got all of the ‘savings’ from not paying an agent.

Obviously, the #6F sellers were at least willing (and possibly happy) to make the deal they did. It doesn’t look so bad in relation to #9F on a net basis and (see that May 18 post about Chelsea House sales history) looks pretty good compared to the #4F sale in December 2010, a sale that involved a brokerage sales fee.

Interesting sale, indeed. Wish I knew more about it.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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