no-view loft at 120 West 18 Street sells at $905/ft, reveals what neighbor's roof is worth

fun with comps
I love that the “1767 sq ft” Manhattan loft #4B at 120 West 18 Street was marketed as “this is not a ‘view’ apartment” (except for that “apartment” thing, of course) because it so beautifully and simply manages expectations or buyers: if you can handle not having a view, this loft has a lot to offer…. And the photos back that up, with 3 exposures, all of which look at brick walls or (worse?) brick walls and windows.

The loft had some trouble in The Market, needing 4 prices and 8 months to find the contract that closed on January 6 at $1.6mm, 6% off the last price and 16% off from where they’d started in February 2011.

With the one notable exception mentioned below, there have been no sales in this small (9-unit) Chelsea loft building since 2005, so one would think that comping is challenging. However, the exception is the “1767 sq ft” loft #6B, which sold in October 2010 for $1.85mm, just 4 months before #4B came to market at $1.895mm. Neither the broker babble for #4B nor the babble for #6B does much bragging about the interior space or finishes (the closest is the “customized kitchen” in #6B).

Perhaps the #4B seller thought The Market was stronger in February 2011 than when #6B found its contract 6 months earlier, as justification for coming out $45,000 higher than the #6B clearing price. If so, they were (of course) wrong, finally selling at $1.6mm, a quarter million lower than the neighbors upstairs.

Keeping mind that neither listing focused on the quality of the finishes, the interior pix of #6B show a loft with clean lines, while the pix for #4B have that curved glass brick wall screaming 1980s. I’d bet money (my standard 25 cents, but still) that #6B shows better than #4B. Those interior pix of #6B show no better views (the same walls) than in #4B. (I originally thought this post might be about the better view from the 6th floor than the 4th floor accounting for $250,00 in value.)

Of course, the interior photos of #6B also show a circular stairway.

Department of D’oh!
Of course, that #6B stairway leads to a “1,300 sq ft” roof deck. Of course, I no longer wonder about why (or whether) #6B was worth more than #4B; instead I wonder what the #4B seller was thinking (smoking) by pricing higher than the #6B sales price to start.

The Miller tells us that in many cases the value of outdoor space is from 25% to 50% of the comparable interior space (see my May 6, 2010, riffing with The Miller on the value of Manhattan terraces, decks + balconies). Taking #4B and #6B as having essentially comparable interior spaces, that #4B at $1.6mm puts a value of the interior at $905/ft, and the “1,300 sq ft” roof deck premium for #6B of $250,000 converts to $192/ft, or 21% of the value of the interior. Voila!

It is nice when the real world fits neatly into a Miller rubric. It is weird when you see folks ask a higher price than a comparable unit with a 1,300 sq ft roof deck. Life is just like that…

© Sandy Mattingly 2012


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