one data point leads to another / net loss on sale at Altair 18


more flatness, more sideways
On a similar theme to my Wednesday post about a flat-market closing at 684 Broadway (one sobering data point / 684 Broadway loft sells slowly, reluctantly), I noted the sale of #2B at 32 West 18 Street (Altair 18) as it was reported in our system in June, but before the clearing price was available on line (June 11, data point in a sideways market / closing at 32 West 18 Street), so here is a little bit of old news.

Weird that Property Shark still does not have it from city records, but I found it on StreetEasy when I was looking for other information about Altair 18 — it closed with a deed filed on June 9 at $3.45mm. As you see in my June 11 price that is a huge discount from the original asking price (October 2007) of $4.6mm, which was followed by 4 price drops. Worse — for the seller  — the trading price in June 2008 was exactly the original purchase price in August 2007 (without considering any ‘net’ considerations, such as the August-2007-buyer-turned-June-2008-buyer [probably] paying two sets of transfer taxes).

Not to mention that the June 2008 seller apparently never moved in, so carried the unit for ten months without getting any benefit other than the opportunity to participate in any market increase. (Here, no market increase.)

net loss … huh?
I suspect part of the problem here was the second floor location. If I have the right unit in memory, the bedrooms overlooked a parking lot on 18th Street, with some kind of HVAC unit not too far outside at least one window. (I saw this unit in January, when I featured it with another nearby loft listing at a [then] similar price, size and level offinishes; January 18, dueling $4mm open houses at 217 West 19 Street + 32 West 18 St.) No light to speak of and little incentive (or reward) to keeping the windows uncovered back there. This unit could then have been peculiarly disfavored by the resale market. The seller may have been going (to use a technical real estate term here) nuts during this marketing. Each of the four price drops was more than a token: from $4.6mm to $4.2mm, to $3.95mm, to $3.75mm, to $3.5mm, in only seven months. Yes, they started way high (in retrospect), but they slashed rather than (merely) dripped the price changes.

not all Altair 18 flippers suffered so
I wondered in my June 11 post if #2B’s problem was #2B’s problem or a general problem for Altair 18 resales.

I don’t know if the sad history of #2B is because it is a second floor unit or if The Problem is more general for the Altair 18, which The Market loved enough to sell out last year. If #11A has a happy ending (for those flippers), it will look like a second floor problem only.

Looks like this does not seem to be a building problem. In contrast to the unfortunate #2B, the aforementioned #11A had a happier ending: it sold with a deed filed on July 31, 2008 for $4.6mm (off a last asking price of $4.95mm and an original April price of $5.8mm; that was one aggressive ask and one major price drop). There should be a gain here, even after netting two sets of transfer fees and other closing costs: that seller bought in the original offering at $4mm on August 16, 2007.

The very recent sale of #7A here should also confirm that this is not a building problem. (That is the one I was just looking for; it hit our data base as sold this week, with no trading price yet available.) I will keep an eye out for that one, which was first offered for resale on June 13 at $4.25mm and had a contract by July 28. That September 2008 seller was a September 2007 buyer at $3.525mm, so it looks as though they have some equity to take out of the resale. (They marketed as "close after September 22", likely because they wanted to hold for a year for capital gains treatment.)

Keep up with this building, as usual, on StreetEasy. The page for Altair 18 is here.
© Sandy Mattingly 2008


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