not a seller’s market at 100 Greene Street, as loft sells under 2007 and 2005


neighbors weep

I don’t get this one: the same “2,000 sq ft” Manhattan loft in very prime Soho on the 2nd floor of 100 Greene Street that sold for $2.5mm in May 2005 and for $2.633mm in November 2007 just sold again in the same well-dressed condition for $2.425mm. With just the last two data points, the narrative might be reasonable that this lovely loft got pushed high on the near-Peak sale, but the fall off of $208,000 from November 2007 to March 2013 seems rather dramatic. The 2005 sale, however, removes any reason; there’s no way that a prime Soho loft should show a drop (of even 3%) from May 2005 to March 2013. There is no law that The Market behave rationally, but this sequence is surreal.

can’t get much more mint-y than this

I usually excerpt listing descriptions, both because I try to focus on the facts of what is in the loft and because they get even longer with the atmospherics about life-style, charm and location. But this broker babble deserves full treatment, to easily show that we are talking about a wonderful Soho loft (I italicized some of the really good stuff and added the paragraph breaks because it is too hard to read without them):

History meets luxury in this mint & minimalist full-floor loft located on the most sought-after cobblestone block in Soho! Hidden behind a 19th-Century cast-iron facade, you’ll find this exquisitely renovated 2,000 square foot residence featuring grand proportions with a Zen-like tranquility throughout.

Enter to a dramatic Living/Dining room with
14-foot original tin-pressed ceilings, sleek epoxy resin floors, and striking views of the surrounding landmark district from a wall of enormous double-glazed windows. The John Pawson designed Obumex kitchen is open to the entertaining space and features a 10-foot center-island with cook-top, and a seamless wall of retractable doors which conceal endless custom cabinetry and top-of-the-line Miele and Subzero appliances. Nearby, magnificent floor-to-ceiling glass doors open to reveal two pin-drop quiet bedrooms, each with exposed brick walls and oversized windows affording bright morning light and charming views of the neighboring shuttered buildings.

The Master Bedroom Suite offers a large dressing room with
custom walnut shelving and a luxurious bathroom replete with steam shower and radiant heated floors. The guest bathroom is equally tasteful and features a custom walnut vanity and deep soaking tub with Hansgrohe fittings. The entire loft is centrally air-conditioned, has a mezzanine office, a washer-dryer, and offers custom Lutron lighting on dimmers throughout. All this, in a small boutique coop with private basement storage on arguably the best block in Soho putting you right in the heart of Downtown’s most celebrated neighborhood. Not to be missed…

Since the same agent represented the 2007 seller, it is no surprise that the 2007 listing description sounds much like the recent bit of babble. (I bet he forgot to mention the central sound wiring this time around.)

You can’t tell from StreetEasy but the loft had the same finishes, materials and layout when it sold in 2005. The 2004 description in our listing system includes details noted in the current babble and this lede: “masterful blending of the awe-inspiring old architecture & proportions with a truly avant garde design produced this beautiful, luminous living space”. The loft sold in May 2003 for $1.05mm, so it is obvious that the loft got that wonderful renovation between May 2003 and May 2004. (Whatever the truly avant garde design cost, it can’t have eaten much of the way through the gain from $1.05mm in 2003 to $2.5mm in 2005; the loft is only “2,000 sq ft”.)

The loft is a classic Long-and-Narrow, 23 feet across and classicly arrayed with the bedrooms across the back wall and plumbing on opposite sides of the long walls toward the rear (floor plan, here). The front 3 windows are huge, knee to those 14 foot ceilings, while the back 3 windows are not quite as wide. The funk in the layout is the mezzanine office space that wraps around the elevator, taking advantage of the high ceilings (14 feet in this listing, 15 and 17 feet in prior listings; sigh).

Any element that might turn off a 2013 buyer pool was there in 2007 (and in 2005): all that glass can feel cold; the kitchen is a too close to the bedrooms for anyone to sleep through a party easily; it is still on the second floor; and there’s no obvious place for an additional enclosed room, such as for a nursery or guest room.

stabbing at rationality (missing, mostly)

Even the first two sale data points in my opening sequence are difficult to rationalize within the overall Manhattan residential real estate market trends: $2.5mm in May 2005 to $2.633mm in November 2007 is too small a gain (5% if you can’t find the calculator on your phone). If pushed to “just give a theory”, I’d say that the avant garde design was more fresh, more unusual in 2005 than in 2007, when there were sleek and modern new condo developments in Soho and Tribeca. Still, that premium of (only) $133,000 for a closing 6 weeks before The Peak quarter opened bothers me.

Might this loft suffer for not being The Best in the avant garde category in 2013, given that others are newly built? I don’t know, and I don’t even think that the 40 Mercer-style lofts are as nice as this one. Something dragged this value down; damned it I could guess what.

The history in that oh-so-busy 2007 shows it was not easy to beat the 2005 sale at $2.5mm:

Mar 10, 2007 new to market $2.8mm
June 4   $2.65mm
Aug 21


Nov 20 sold $2.633mm

 The recent history shows not one, but two six-month periods at what look like reasonable prices (compared to 2007 at $2.633mm; the second asking price is ridiculously reasonable):

Dec 9, 2011 new to market $2.75mm
June 1, 2012   $2.6mm
Jan 15, 2013


Mar 27 sold $2.425mm


(That’s $1,213/ft if you round up from .5.)

The second floor “view” across Greene Street can’t compare to the open views and endless light in the “2,400 sq ft” loft that sold at $1,220/ft that I hit in my April 12,
a tricky $1,220/ft for a most lovely gut job of 451 Broome Street loft that took 50 weeks + 3 contracts to sell, but that one was in non-prime Soho and requires a complete gut job. This “2,600 sq ft” loft a block down Broadway from 451 Broome (again, non-prime Soho) just sold at $1,154/ft, but while that one had 4 exposures and “streaming” sunlight it also needed updating if not renovating.

paging David Byrne
I don’t understand why this loft did not sell close to ask in early 2012, or why it did not sell above ask in later 2012. For me, it is a matter of professionally second-guessing the clear market response. For the sellers, that is money out of their pockets. O. U. C. H.

The 2nd floor at 100 Greene Street is my reigning poster child for sales sequences that make me say “wha?”. Any ideas, gentle readers?

[UPDATE 5.28.13: thanks to the Anonymous reader who caught the change in maintenance (see Comments) but I am not sure that does it. The change was dramatic, from $2,025/mo to $3,200/mo, but not perhaps sufficient to explain the drop in value, 2007 to 2013. If that is the reason, it is one of the few rational market reactions to maintenance changes I can recall]

© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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