surprise! strong price for a fixer-upper at 112 East 19 Street (Ruggles House)

much better than a month ago
The last time there was a Manhattan Loft Guy hit on the Ruggles House, 112 East 19 Street, the catch-phrase was price it right, sell it quickly. This time, there is no simple catch-phrase, but the story is that the Manhattan loft #8F at 112 East 12 Street closed on May 27 at $2.025mm after asking a pretty aggressive $2.5mm for "1,950 sq ft" marketed as a fixer-upper, and that the eventual clearing price is significantly better than the most recent sale in the building.

Real estate is not (proverbially) rocket science, but that doesn’t mean that it is easy…

The last time, the (quick, well-priced) sale was #4R on April 20 for $1.65mm ($846/ft), and I noted in my May 12 post, price right, sell quick at Ruggles House, 112 East 19 Street, that:

A well-priced loft sells (relatively) quickly in any market. Signing a contract in 21 days is a sign of a well-priced loft. So is pricing below building comps.

I read between the lines of the #4R listing description to conclude that #4R needed an upgrade (at least), and reviewed the most (but not very) recent sales history in that May 12 post:

It is not surprising that a building with only 24 lofts would not have had a sale since The Peak, but here are the last three sales at Ruggles:
Aug 4, 2008 #11R 1,950 sq ft $3.05mm $1,564/ft new renovation
Mar 24, 2008 #3F 1,800 sq ft $2.075mm $1,153/ft not a lot of bragging
Nov 30, 2007 #2F 1,800 sq ft $2.095mm $1,164/ft reno kitchen, granite + marble baths

Starting #4R at $1.7mm after these on-the-way-to-Peak prices was a concession to the changed marketplace and to the work that any buyer is likely to do. Remember: 21 days to contract at a 3% discount.

is someone laughing?

When that quick contract for #4R was signed on December 4, 2009, #8F was about a month on the market, and probably needed more work than #4R. (At least, more work was admitted in marketing #8F than marketing in #4R.) I have no idea why StreetEasy doesn’t see this (#8F shows up as a "no listing associated with this closing" deal), but the inter-firm data-base has this listing description for #8F:

Gramercy Fixer-Upper. … this spacious approx 1950 sq ft coop apartment … awaits the discerning buyer who … is willing to do some renovating. The apartment … needs 2 new baths and a new kitchen. Currently there are window AC units but the building allows central air. Configured as a 2 bedroom 2 bath, with an additional home office /maids and a gracious foyer.

(The agent website also has the listing up, still as "in contract",


, though at some point you will probably have to look for it under the "recent sales" button.)

Especially when #4R went into contract at $1.65mm ($846/ft), I would have said then asking $2.5mm ($1,282/ft) for #8F was … aggressive. I might even have used some colorful Anglo-Saxon terminology about how aggressive that asking price was, since that November 2009 asking price/ft exceeded the clearing prices (see table above) for 


in November 2007 and for 


in March 2008, especially since #2F had renovated the kitchen and baths.

That person you heard laughing last was the #8F seller, as the $2.5mm asking price generated a contract by February 12 at $2.025mm ($1,038/ft), a 23% premium over #4R.

heavy negotiating, successful asking

Clearly, negotiating to a nearly 20% discount suggests that $2.5mm was a significant stretch. But it did what every successful asking price does: it generated an offer that could be negotiated to a number that the seller would accept. Moreover, the $2.5mm did that in about 3 months.

I am mildly curious to know if the #8F seller knew in February what the (then pending) #4R contract price was. Only "mildly", because I have to assume that the #8F buyer used the #4R asking price of $1.7mm to beat up the #8F asking price of $2.5mm. And beat that hard. Yet, the #8F seller held (pretty) firm, getting 23% more than #4R got.

no Anglo-Saxon here

I believe that the real estate term for such seller fortitude is cojones. So, mucho felicidades to the #8F seller and agent Marie Evans. They just complicated everyone else’s life who want to comp at the


House, but that is not their problem. They should be smiling; they may be laughing.

© Sandy Mattingly 2010

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