failure to flip: over-pricing in 2008 leads to loss in 2012 over 2007 for 15 West 20 Street loft

memory lane tripping
I wrote the headline above based just on the rather extensive sales history of the “2,259 sq ft” Manhattan loft #8A at 15 West 20 Street (Altair 20) (details below), before discovering that I covered the key old history back in the day. In my February 18, 2008, 2 new on West 20 Street / building yin vs yang at 15 W 20 + 9 W 20, I dealt with this loft as a new listing (in those golden days of yore, when Manhattan Loft Guy talked about then-active listings), with updates bringing that history to the end of 2008. The problems the seller had in 2008 were similar to the problems the seller had in 2012, but at least this time the seller made enough moves in a deep market to catch a buyer (as you’ll see soon, 2008 did not work out):

Mar 27 new to market $2.775mm
Mar 28   $2.9mm
May 5   $2.795mm
July 31   $2.695mm
Aug 25 contract  
Nov 13 sold $2,562,500

If only he had been this reasonable and responsive, and had stayed available, in a still-deep market as the overall Manhattan residential real estate market was reaching its peak back in the day:

Feb 16, 2008 new to market $3.25mm
Mar 20   $3.095mm
April 11   $2.995mm
May 18 off the market  

I’ve said several times that I do not like to call sellers “greedy” for asking prices The Market is not willing to pay. It’s their loft and they are free to ask any price they like, no matter how ineffectual. Back in 2008, the #8A owner tried three different ‘wrong’ prices before giving up before trying a fourth price, or staying around long enough to attract a bid.

If anyone is inclined to call that owner names, the spread between the 2008 asking prices and the clearing price 6 weeks ago is its own reward, but here is another ‘reward’: the owner bought the place from the sponsor June 28, 2007 for $2,672,906. Instead of selling at a gain of 22% within a year, it took this seller until last month to sell at a 4% loss.

It’s a free country, and the seller made the choices he did in 2008, and in 2012. Bummer, that.

more memory lane, but this one’s fresh
If this loft #8A seems familiar, it is because loft #8A was The Party Of The Second Part in my post December 17, the stuff you can’t see earned 7th floor loft at 15 West 20 Street a 13% premium over 8th floor, which focused primarily on the premium loft #7A earned over #8A. In that one, it was #7A that was the outlier, compared to #8A and two other sales in the building this Summer. The suggestion from the two summer sales, #8A sold at a reasonable price last month, despite being at a loss to the 2007 purchase from the developer.

As I said, bummer, that.

I still can’t account for the premium that #7A got over these three neighboring loft sales. These lofts were sold brand new in 2007 and I see no indication that there was any difference between them that a buyer would pay a dollar for, unlike the same building loft sales I hit in my last post, December 19, 27 N. Moore Street loft at (the other) Ice House cracks $1,800/ft, where there were some differences in quality thogh not enough to account for those price differences, either. (Again, thx Reader U on that one.)

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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