29 East 22 Street loft sellers take the money and run (up 41% since 2010 purchase)

nice work, if you can get it
I can’t tell how the recent sellers of the “2,300 sq ft” Manhattan loft #5N at 29 East 22 Street bought the place in 2010, but I can see what they paid then, and what they just got. There’s quite a spread between $2.3mm on September 5 and $1.625mm on April 30, 2010. That old sale followed a long, unsuccessful chilly marketing campaign that started with a terrible mis-reading of the market:

May 22, 2008 new to market $2.75mm
July 9   $2.395mm
Aug 11 hiatus  
Sept 9 back on market  
Nov 4   $2.15mm
Feb 1, 2009 hiatus  
April 4   $1.95mm
May 7   $1.75mm
June 23   $1.699mm
Sept 3 off market  
April 30, 2010 sold $1.625mm

The sellers were on the right track in the Summer of 2009 but ran out of time, as this is what happened when those 2010 buyers turned into sellers just a few months ago:

Mar 21 new to market $2.395mm
June 7 contract  
Sept 5 sold $2.3mm

Same floor plan, then as now; with similarly modest broker babble. No doubt, the same loft that just sold for $2.3mm was purchased less than 2 ½ years earlier at $1.625mm.

one man’s country kitchen is another man’s modern kitchen
The usual kitchen modifiers in Manhattan loft broker babble range from (merely) “open” for needs-an-update kitchen to “chef’s” or “gourmet” or “top of the line” for, well, top of the line modern kitchens. What’s weird about the 2009 vs. 2012 broker babble is that the same kitchen that was described as “contemporary country kitchen” became a “Modern open kitchen” in 2012 (you can confirm this by comparing the main listing photo in 2012 to the second pic in 2009).

Someone must have borrowed my Dictionary Of Babble For Brokers, and I can’t recall what makes a “country” kitchen country; in this instance I assume the reference is to the inlays in the cabinetry, but that is a pretty thin basis. Nothing else ‘farmhouse’ or ‘rural’ that I see in the pix.

empathy, and its limits
Babble and potential aside, the main story remains the $675,000 that the recent sellers put in their pockets, less expenses, for their two+ years of ownership of this loft. I’d feel sorrier for the 2010 seller if that pain was not largely self-inflicted.

Having started trying to sell very near The End Of The Peak in the overall Manhattan residential real estate market, and one price drop too late to take advantage of what was (still) a pretty deep market, the 2009 owners stared the nuclear winter in the face, coming back to market one week before Lehman filed for bankruptcy, holding on in that new market for another 7 weeks without changing price, then holding firm (and cold) for yet another 3 months before dropping 3 more times as the rest of the market started to thaw, these folks gave up.

No shame in that sequence of unfortunate timing, though it is a rather spectacular example of disappointed sellers who made the wrong call about both fight and flight (see my November 15, 2010, flight or fight? the disappointed seller’s conundrum, 30 East 21 Street and 205 West 19 Street lofts edition). But why not test the full market again in 2010, when The Market was so clearly in rebound mode? Instead of doing that, it appears as though the sellers were persuaded to ‘save’ the sale fee by selling in a private at a discount to the very last of six public prices. Penny Wise, I’d like to introduce you to Pound Foolish.

It is a free country, of course. But  O. U. C. H.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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