a downtown Manhattan loft tale of markets and tides
In a flat market, or even in a slowly changing market, the listing history of the “2,800 sq ft” Manhattan loft on the 5th floor at 712 Broadway would be unusual. In the oh so exciting world in which we live, and in which civilian buyers try to buy, the fact that the loft sold at its asking price but too nearly 9 months to find that contract is remarkable only for the patience of the seller in sitting at the wrong price for enough months that it became the right price. Here’s the macro context, courtesy of the the “feel” you can get from the overall Manhattan residential real estate market, courtesy of the single number tool of the StreetEasy Manhattan Condo Index (a powerful but crude tool, alas). When the “meticulously renovated” 5th floor loft came out on September 28, 2012 at $2.995mm, the Index value was 1,990; it went to contract by July 10 and when it finally closed on November 7, the most recent Index value available was 2,188. That’s a 10% gain over the 12 months of Index-to-Index. The implication is that the loft was over-priced by 10% and that when the rising tide of the overall market brought market valuations up by that amount, the loft sold. Let’s play with that some more after visiting this beauty.
the wonderfulness of a One Bed Wonder loft, in pictures and one (2,800 sq ft!) floor plan
You don’t often see One Bed Wonders this big, but that what makes this one so wonderful. (I’ve not been consistent on this, but the collection of lofts ‘tagged’ One Bed Wonders can be found here; those in the category One Bed Wonder here; and that last set includes my [now ancient] February 24, 2007, what is a 1 bed wonder?, the post in which I coined the locution.) Take a classic Long-and-Narrow, in this case about 22 feet wide, and give an architect the responsibility of maximizing the utility of the space for however many people sleep in a single bedroom. The result is a floor plan with a 700 sq ft “master” bedroom, no other bedroom (or guest room, or interior office, or any other set of walls), a single bathroom (not en suite, obviously), leaving an open front room more than 70 feet long, pinched in places by the public stairwell, the kitchen, and the elevators. Obviously, owners wanting 2 bedrooms could easily fit them along the back wall, with as many as 3 additional interior rooms easily fitting into the floor plan, if desired. But not these folks. Don’t ask me to make the measurements work, but that huge (single) bedroom is bigger than many 1-bedroom apartments, and the rest of the wide open space is about twice that size. (“2,800 sq ft”??) Add the elements of 12 foot barrel vaulted ceilings and 4 knee-to-ceiling windows up front, and there is a dramatic ‘volume’. (And, likely, some echoes.) Within this space, you’ve got classic elements:
reclaimed wide-board flooring …. Venetian plaster walls … [,] original cast-iron radiators, authentic steel and bronze detailing, and a romantic brick fireplace
And the finishes and modern touches that can qualify as renovation as “meticulous”:
chef’s kitchen … features gorgeous Pietra Cardoza countertops, a wall of custom milled cabinetry, and state-of-the art Miele, Sub-Zero and Gaggenau appliances. Nearby, a flexible partition creates a cozy lounge area, while custom industrial steel and glass doors slide open to reveal a classic Prewar bathroom with vintage sink, subway-tiled walls, and an oversized glass-enclosed shower. … Master Bedroom … with separate sitting area, built-in Library, floor-to-ceiling custom fitted closets…. loft is centrally air-conditioned, wired for sound, has a washer-dryer, and offers custom lighting on dimmers throughout
This space is so big that (unless I am missing something) there is no door to the bedroom. Just a curtain, which is big and thick enough to drown out any light or sound getting way back to that bed, I suppose. Truly, a One Bed Wonder!
feets and dollars, so often in conflict in Manhattan lofts
If you take the maximal if fanciful position that the 5th floor is “2,800 sq ft” of loft (again, look at the “approximate” dimensions) the loft sold for $1,070/ft, hardly a princely sum for a meticulous renovation with the character of this one. My favorite loft in the building is the 2nd floor, which sold for $2.7mm in a very different market (also with a huge single bedroom across the rear, by the way), and has been marketed at various times as “2,825 sq ft“, “2,600 sq ft” and “2,400 sq ft“. Such … er … variety makes it difficult to compare lofts in this building to lofts elsewhere, as your per-foot values for the 5th floor might be $1,070/ft, or they might be $1,152/ft, or they might be $1,248/ft. That’s quite a lot of … er … variety. (Sigh.) But looking at the 5th floor a few weeks ago and the 2nd floor in July 2011 at $2.7mm is a straight-up comp. The 5th floor is (d’oh!) higher above Broadway, but the 2nd floor has higher ceilings (15 feet, not 12), so more ‘volume’. I have not seen the 5th floor, but it has features that sound like the 2nd floor (Venetian plaster walls, top kitchen, ‘industrial’ design). The 2nd floor has a second bath already, plus a study / guest room, so there’s no risk of a renovation ruining a now-coherent design. (To add a second bath on the 5th floor, you’d have to do that in the bedroom, where that built-in Library is. Oops.) But let’s assume the two interiors are equivalent in condition, and that the extra ceiling height on two offsets the extra floor height on five. (Humor me.) On an Index basis, the $2.7mm from July 2011 implies a current value around $3.075mm (the Index went from 1,920 to 2,188 in that time, up 14%). That’s tolerably close to the $2.995mm at which the 5th floor was valued on November 7.
please don’t quibble
You sharp-eyed StreetEasy users have already noted the yellow highlighting in the upper right of the 2011 listing for the 2nd floor sale. So you know the problem with this facile comp analysis is that there is a new (still open) data point, with a hard value not yet realized but implying that the 2nd floor is not being simply projected with a 14% premium over its last sale. I will leave that conundrum for another day (another post), once that shoe drops. For today, let’s stick with the interesting calendar within which the 5th floor sold: it came out at the right price but the wrong time, taking 9 months to get a full-price deal. Patience, rewarded.
Nicely played, sir; nicely played.