129 Lafayette Street loft beats 2008 price, caps B-line frenzy

(there’s a trick involved)
Yes, when the Manhattan loft #2B at 129 Lafayette Street sold on August 31 at $1.375mm, that price was an improvement of 18% over the last sale, in 2008. But that 2008 sale at $1.168mm was in the chilly part of that year; in fact, coming to market on September 16, 2008 (the day following Lehman’s bankruptcy filing), it is a wonder that it sold in that year at all.

Evidently, those 2008 sellers were pretty motivated, persevering at a time when transaction volume plummeted in the overall Manhattan residential real estate market:

Sept 16, 2008 new to market $1.395mm
Oct 22   $1.295mm
??? contract  
Dec 23 sold $1.168mm

Their LLC buyer in 2008 had a more favorable market trend to work with:

May 10, 2011 new to market $1.495mm
July 16 contract  
Aug 31 sold $1.375mm

The conclusion is pretty inescapable that had the 2008 sellers started just a few months earlier they’d have sold before Lehman very near (above?) their asking price. But then I would not be able to lead a post with a premium-over-2008 tease. (You know it is no great feat to have a 2011 sale exceed 2007; aftr all that happened about two-thirds of the time in my now-66 pairs in September 27, is the Manhattan loft market back to (up to) 2007? 61 repeat sales say “probably”, “a bit”. The trick is a 2011 sale beating 2008, but with a post-Lehman start this one is not a fair fight.)

an un-loft-y floor plan, the runt of the litter
The spare floor plan for loft #2B is decidedly cookie-cutter, more “apartment” than “loft”. But the 14 foot ceilings and huge windows provide a sense of volume that would be missing from an apartment with thee room dimensions yet 9.5 foot ceilings. Indeed, I suspect the space is a revelation on initial entry. With “1,212 sq ft”, loft #2B has a logical yet inflexible layout: the living room and bedroom both have relatively large dimensions, and putting the kitchen away form the door allows for that auxiliary (no window) space to serve as an office or occasional guest quarters.

The other two lines in this 2004 condo conversion from a light manufacturing building are both much larger than the “B” line, with the “A” at “2,363 sq ft” and a corner layout with two long walls of windows (like #4A) and the “C” at “2,017 sq ft” and one main exposure (west) and lesser exposures south and east (like #5C). The “B” is the only floor plan that is conspicuously ‘apartment’-like.

even those 2008 sellers did all right
Yes, those 2008 sellers of #2B sold in a weak market at the end of that year, but they only paid $763,687 to the sponsor on January 25, 2005. They seem to have benefited from having signed a relatively early contract in this new development, as some other “B” line sponsor sales were at much higher prices:

#4B Jan 3, 2005 $962,246
#8B Jan 18 $992,793
#9B Jan 5 $1,069,962
#3B Jan 26 $1,120,075

Buying #2B at $763,687 made all the difference when they needed to sell in late 2008, as they managed a 53% gain in 47 months. In contrast, the original #3B owners were in at $1,120,075 only a day after the #2B sponsor sale. That much higher staring point made them less amenable to market-dictates, as when they tried (briefly) to sell #3B in a beginning-to-thaw market:

April 16, 2009 new to market $1.295mm
July 30 off market  

$1.295mm as a B-line benchmark
It is probably a coincidence that the unsuccessful in 2009 asking price for #3B was the same as the selling price for the very first “B” to flip. The original #5B owners (who paid $789,143 on January 25, 2005) found willing buyers immediately, closing their flip on April 5, 2005 at $1.295mm. That was a gain of 64% in ten weeks, for those scoring at home.

Let’s just say that the second #5B owner was just slightly ahead of her time, at that $1.295mm. You already know that #2B sold for (only) $1.168mm in late 2008 and that #3B did not sell in mid-2009 at $1.295mm. The next “B” that did sell was #9B on April 24, 2009, at $1,272,812, not quite the benchmark level. #4B nudged above the benchmark on April 5, 2010 (five years to the day after the #5B sale), at $1.3mm.

That makes the recent #2B sale at $1.375mm the current record holder for the “B” line, even if only 6% above that way-back-when #5B flip.

Everything. (Of course.)

© Sandy Mattingly 2011


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