into the way-back machine to close at 42 East 20 Street, down seven figures

not bullish at all
The bloom is definitely off the bull at 42 East 20 Street, a/k/a the Bullmoose Condominium, which was a huge success in the wave of Manhattan loft conversions in 2003. Another candidate for how the mighty have fallen…. (See some data at the Chelsea Mercantile, 252 Seventh Avenue from my May 5, is Chelsea Mercantile off 25% since 2007? ) Two recent sales suggest values here have fallen into the way back machine. (There’s a third very recent sale, with no number available yet.)

#5C at 42 East 20 Street (don’t know how long that Mercedes Berk link will work) closed on April 30 for $1.35mm, which is rather notable because the last sale in the "C" line here was $1.69mm in April 2005. It is also notable for a long and tortured history.

pain, followed by pain, then more pain
The sellers of this "1,607 sq ft" loft with 11 foot ceilings, 10 foot windows, "designer" kitchen, and "lavish spa" bathrooms thought they had quite a valuable loft when they offered it for sale in April 2008 (indeed, the height of The Market) for $2.395mm. They recognized that — although they were not at the market price — The Market changed, so they dropped the price to $1.995mm on September 22, 2008 (soon after the fall of the house of Lehman). But they still were not at The Market, so they dropped to $1.895mm when they changed firms in November.

When the ball dropped and the corks popped it appears that they realized that (a) they really needed to sell, and (b) they had no idea where The Market was, as this is what happened:

January 9 price drop $1.665mm
February 5 price drop  $1.595mm
March 5 price drop $1.5mm
March 13 price drop $1.395mm

Now THAT shows a whole lot of motivation! (And pain.) But it worked, and they signed a contract on April 13 and got the condo to waive quickly so that they closed two weeks later, April 30. The $1.35mm clearing price is:

  • 56% of the original asking price in April 2008
  • 80% of the price their upstairs neighbors got in April 2005
  • $840/ft

not nearly as much pain
#3B did relatively better than #5C when it closed on May 1 at $2.7mm. For starters, that clearing price was $987/ft for this "2,735 sq ft" "super contemporary" and "ultra stylist" loft (they didnice work in this 2003 conversion, they really did). Second, although they started down the path towards a sale just after the #5C neighbors, the path for #3B involved fewer bumps, and probably less pain. They started this campaign on May 20, 2008 with an original price of $3.55mm and on July 8 dropped to $3.295mm. In November it appears that they formally took it off the market (StreetEasy and our data-base agree on this), but negotiated with somebody to sign a contract on February 25. This contract took a lot longer to close than with the #5C contract signed on April 13, but it closed on May 1, the day after #5C.

That $2.7mm clearing price was only a 24% discount from their May 2008 asking price of $3.55mm. Yet it was a 31% discount from their original asking price of $3.95mm with a different firm in November 2007.

seven figure hits
That is two lofts in this lovely 2003 conversion that closed recently at least One Million Dollars (read it in that Lotto Guy’s voice) off their original asking prices. Yikes.

more data coming
I started looking at The Bullmoose today because #5A is on today’s inter-firm hot sheet as Sold and Closed. I will keep an eye out for that clearing price. This "2,222 sq ft" loft might close above $1,000/ft (unlike #3B and #5C), as the last asking price was $2.45mm. But it may also be a Seven Figure Hit, as it started in June 2008 at $3.395mm. Double yikes.

(The sales history of #3A [the last "A" line to close before #5A] is very interesting: sold in March 2006 at $3.495mm; sold in September 2008 at $3.025mm.)

That’s three neighbors who have learned that price discovery is very hard in a thin market.

© Sandy Mattingly 2009


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