Bull Moose loft is first post-thaw sale without outdoor space at 42 East 20 Street, up 54%??

it has been a long time
As my buddy Noah at Urban Digs is fond of pointing out, the ideal way to do comps is to use a recent sale in the same building of a loft of similar scale. That task is more difficult when the last sales in the building were in very different market conditions. The recently sold “1,704 sq ft” Manhattan loft #7C at 42 East 20 Street (the Bull Moose Condominium) should have posed a challenge for the sellers, because the last market sale of a loft in the building other than penthouses with outdoor space was way back in July 2009 (#6C), as the overall Manhattan residential real estate market was beginning to thaw out of the post-Lehman nuclear winter. But never fear! The sellers got it right: to market on May 15, a full price contract by June 1, closed on September 19 at $2.25mm.

Obviously, the sellers and their photogenic agents got it really right. But the prior sales would not have been much help, with that #6C sale as one of four that closed in the chilly part of 2009. As you can see through the StreetEasy building page, two Bull Moose lofts a good bit larger than #7C sold just under $1,000/ft in 2009, while #6C and #5C sold at $856/ft and $840/ft. Timing aside, #6C and #5C are very comparable units to #7C, though not identical to #7C.

These loft were sold by the sponsor in 2003 with high finishes, the proper proper names for materials and appliances that you see in the #7C broker babble. There is nothing in the #7C broker babble about views that might differentiate it from the views downstairs, and the evidence from the #7C listing photos is that there is nothing (special) to see out any windows of these 3 lofts.

The floor plans for the “1,607 sq ft” #5C and #6C should be identical to each other (#6C’s is here) but a little smaller than that of the “1,704 sq ft” #7C. Basically, the “C” line is the same 2-bedroom+2-bath utility in a (dare I say) cookie cutter array, with the line on the 7th floor being a little longer (and having that weird cut-in to the right of the front door). We could get into an interesting (if academic) discussion about whether the ‘extra’ 97 sq ft in #7C are worth the same as the rest of each space if #7C were offered for sale at the same time (in the same market conditions) as #5C or #6C. (I would provoke you by arguing the extra space is borderline worthless.) But that is not what happened, so let’s stick to the facts:

Sept 19, 2012 #7C $1,320/ft
July 20, 2009 #6C $856/ft
April 30, 2009 #5C $840/ft

good things come to those who are brave?
This tells me that those brave 2009 buyers each got a very good deal.
No way that the overall Manhattan residential real estate market is up 54% since The Trough, but these numbers say that these 3 “C”s are.

Just another reminder that trend lines are made up of disparate data points; the #5C and #6C data points would be pretty far from the (thin, yet oh so chilly) 2009 trend line.

Note to self … use this set as the jumping off point for a post about market bravery, mostly about buyer behavior in a frigid (possibly still falling) market such as early 2009. Hint: sideline sitters are reluctant to buy in markets with rapid appreciation and reluctant in markets that are very thin and/or declining. Discuss … (another time).

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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