resale at The Cammeyer is up 5% over 2008, but at a cost

a long time flipping
The Manhattan residential loft conversion at 650 Sixth Avenue (on the Flatiron side of the old Ladies Mile) has been such a bumpy condominium that the sponsor is still selling units, 4 ½ years after the first sponsor sales. The “1,063 sq ft” unit #3G just sold as a resale, the first that I noticed (though there have been at least two others: #5E and #2J, for you anal, have-to-know-it-types … like me). That seller bought on May 6, 2008 at $1,333,907 and started to try to flip at a 20% premium within 3 months. That old listing history shows that the original owner missed the market, even by waiting those 2+ months, and then ran into the teeth of the post-Lehman nuclear winter, then (probably) was viewed as a tired listing, before finally pulling off the market in March 2010, long after the overall Manhattan residential real estate market had begun to thaw.

Two years later the wanna-be-flipper picked up again, again over-pricing the loft in search of that 20% premium, but this time was quicker to correct, and was working in a deep market rather than a deeply chilled market:

Mar 1 new to market $1.595mm
April 4   $1.499mm
June 13   $1.485mm
July 30 contract  
Sept 19 sold $1.4mm

In market terms, the loft is 5% more valuable than when the sponsor sold it 52 months earlier. In pocketbook terms, that ‘gain’ of $66,093 never made it to the bank, as the sales fee (5% of $1.4mm in this case) and New York City and State transfer fees (1.825%) cost the seller $95,550 before considering other miscellaneous transaction costs. It is a common story: the loft ‘made money’; the owner took a loss. That prospect is what separates the men from the boys the motivated sellers from the owners who will sell if they get their price.

high finishes, low floor, picturesque view, no competition (this time)
It has been a while since I have been in a position to hear just how noisy the former church building across 20th Street is in the wee small hours, but it has to be a better neighbor as a collection of shops than as a drug emporium / nightclub, as in the past. That building is a pleasant thing to look at, which is good for #3G, which faces across 20th Street from 25 feet up from the sidewalk.

This “1,063 sq ft” loft is a straight 1-bedroom, with no prospect of ever being anything else without extravagantly tearing up the footprint (to what end? to fit a study / guest room in behind the kitchen??), in a building that has a challenging footprint on which to fit residential lofts. (There are “studios” as large as “942 sq ft” and 1-bedrooms as large as “1,239 sq ft”.) The finishes are the high end proper proper name and materials standard in the building (Poggenpohl Kitchen with Miele, Sub-Zero and Thermador, Waterworks Chord deep soaking bathtub, all glass rain shower).

Loft #3G as a resale back in the day was competing against some of those larger 1-bedrooms that were very price-competitive to #3G (see, for example, the sponsor sale of #3A at $1.415mm finally accomplished in March 2011). Intentionally or through good fortune, the #3G flipper came back to market 6 months ago after each of the same-size-or-larger sponsor 1-bedrooms were in contract or had already closed. It can be hard to retail a loft in competition with someone in the wholesale business.

Note to self … look at whether there are flipping trends at The Cammeyer after one or two more resales.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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