O’Neill loft seller finally gives up, yet sells above ask at 655 Sixth Avenue

bizarre is in the eye of the beholder
I don’t think that the most unusual thing about the sale of the Manhattan loft #2M at 655 Sixth Avenue (The O’Neill Building) is the synchronicity in that it sold on February 17 for $1.2mm after having been offered first at $1.699mm, compared to it having been offered by the sponsor at $1.75mm but was purchased originally for $1,186,261 in 2007. Nor is it so unusual that the recent sale was within 4% of the (many) asking prices over 22 months before finding a contract 7 weeks ago, yet it took all of those 22 months to negotiate less than an 4% discount.

YMMV, but to me the most bizarre thing about this sale is that — when it eventually happened — the January 10 contract at $1.2mm exceeded the asking price that had been in place for 60 days. And the one that had been in place for a month before that.  And the one that had been in place for a month before that.

aphorisms ‘R us
One of the hoary chestnuts that sellers sometimes take too much comfort from is that it only takes one, as in you only need one buyer to agree with you about value to sell at your (inflated?) price. The general partner to this chestnut is … and two to get a bidding war. Until a more egregious example of an exception-proving-a-rule comes along, sellers everywhere will be pointing to this sale while roasting those chestnuts.

I assume that 2 buyers who were new to the market in December saw this listing at about the same time, both preferred #2M to anything else then available, both figured the loft could be had for yet another discount, and then both were surprised to find that there was competition. Probably not as surprised as the sellers were, but still….

did they ever live there?
The sellers owned #2M from January 3, 2007 until February 17, 2011, but they probably never intended to live there: they offered it for sale (at $1.75mm, as mentioned above) the very same day they bought it (at $1,186,261, as mentioned). They also tried to cover their bases by immediately offering the loft for rent; while they continued to maintain an active sales listing for all but six of the next 47 months, our database shows that they successfully rented it in September 2007 and in May 2010 (lengths unknown).

Try to keep that wrinkle in mind while looking at this listing history, and note the zig-zag price history:

Jan 3, 2007 sponsor sale $1,186,261
Jan 3, 2007 new listing $1.75mm
Mar 28   $1.699mm
May 11   $1.599mm
June 12 hiatus  

Nov 6 back on market $1.85mm
May 7, 2008   $1.795mm
May 13   $1.765mm
July 28   $1.699mm
Aug 18   $1.485mm
Jan 13, 2009   $1.399mm
Jan 27   $1.3mm
Feb 19   $1.25mm
July 2 hiatus  
Aug 1 back on market $1.25mm
Jan 26, 2010   $1.199mm
Sept 8    $1.15mm
Oct 6   $1.125mm
Nov 10   $1.175mm
Jan 10, 2011 contract  
Feb 17 sold $1.2mm

mondo bizarro
For fans of such things (like me!) that history is incredibly rich, and extremely weird. More so if you mentally annotate this history with general market milestones, such as The Peak (when #2M was offered for $1.85mm) and the Lehman bankruptcy etc (which did not provoke an asking price reduction for 4 months).

a market can be too thin
Isn’t it obvious that the two buyers needed to bid this thing up from $1.175mm by January 10, 2011 could not have been interested in this loft at any time during nearly a full year before making a play?? And that no one else was interested at its (now confirmed) market value?

In terms of appreciating weirdness, perhaps you have a different favorite from this history, but I am quite satisfied with mine.

© Sandy Mattingly 2011


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