original owner finally sells 255 Hudson Street loft, plays nicely with StreetEasy Index

4 events in the life of a Soho loft, 2 non-sales, 2 are sales

The “1,174 sq ft” Manhattan loft #5E at 255 Hudson Street at the bottom of Soho has been around for less than 8 years, but it has already had an interesting career. The original owner paid $1,313,542 to pry it from the sponsor in September 2006, then missed The Peak in offering it for resale, not even getting out flat for $1.315mm in February 2009 (brrr). Trying again, starting in September last year, they were a bit early in asking too much. They took some time off the market (enough to re-set the clock on the Manhattan Loft Guy Master List of downtown loft sales from $500,000 to $5,000,000), then came back at $1.5mm again, at which they cashed out on August 2 (the deed wan’t filed until October 16). Adding a fourth column to represent the value of the StreetEasy Condo Index at selected points, we get an extended history that looks like this:

Sept 13, 2006 sold $1,313,542 1,960
Mar 31, 2008 new to market $1.64mm 2,190
May 28 $1.595mm
Aug 30 $1.495mm 2,160
Jan 28, 2009 $1.315mm
Feb 18 off the market 1,930
Sept 5, 2012 new to market $1.5mm 1,990
Jan 14, 2013 hiatus
April 19 back on market 2,060
June 18 contract
Aug 2 sold $1.5mm 2,180

The only two hard data points that reflect precise value at any time are the two deeds, in September 2006 and August 2013; the other data points reflect values above where the then-current markets valued the loft. With the eventual resale up 14%, these data points  are tolerably consistent with the StreetEasy Condo Index, up 11%. More interesting, perhaps, are the points at which the loft did not clear the market.

That cruel female dog, hindsight, tells us that they started trying to get out just after The Peak and even then were too high. Had they started with their second price but a few months earlier they might have gotten out around $1.5mm 4 years ago. As it played out, they were likely a tired listing in the summer of 2008, chasing a market that had already crested by cutting the price too little, too late. They were priced just about where they needed to be (per the Index, at least) in the last month of that effort, but they didn’t give that last price much of a chance before fleeing the market completely.

When they came back in September last year they were clear about the price they wanted; just a little premature. By the time the overall tide in the Manhattan residential real estate market rose nearly 10% from September 2012 into August 2013, they were still there at $1.5mm. And got it. In this case, at least, the StreetEasy Condo Index is a useful retrospective tool to explain two sales and two periods of not selling.

not your typical Long-and-Narrow loft layout, though it is kinda long, and narrow in places

The floor plan resembles a pistol, with the entry and pluming rooms in the ‘grip’ and the ‘barrel’ running from bedroom to dining room to living area, bracketed by curtain wall windows. At “1,174 sq ft” that is a pretty large 1-bedroom layout by “apartment” standards, in a shoe that can never include two real bedrooms. (I wonder if the sponsor put up the siding glass doors that make the bedroom a room, or if this was sold as an open loft.) At this height, the light must be good to the west and should be good to the east (the back of the loft), but the drapery in the listing photos tells you that there’s no ‘view’ to speak of.

price discovery is a challenge for this loft, and for neighbors

In the case of #5E, the two periods of non-sales were one of chasing the market down (but never catching it) and then sitting at the wrong price (until The Market caught up). I’m not saying there is a special bug afflicting people who bought at 255 Hudson Street but my other visit to this building told a similar tale of difficulty in figuring out where the market was. In my July 26, 255 Hudson Street loft sells 19% below 2007, after 15 months, 9 prices, that headline tells the sad story as briefly as you could wish. That one has some fun facts.

I canvassed in that post all the non-penthouse non-townhouse sales in the building for 12 months and found that the market did not punish that loft when it finally sold, in a review that suggests that #5E actually did sell a little low at $1,278/ft, compared to even 1-bedroom units and other sales in the building.

It is hard to conclude that The Market picked out loft #6B for punishment, as at $1,485/ft it dramatically out-performed the smaller (“1,407 sq ft”) 2-bedroom, 2-bath #6A next door, which sold at $1.71mm ($1,215/ft) after a very long time on the market. One-bedroom units have sold in the building at $1,476/ft on April 2 and at $1,432/ft on November 8, 2012; these are the only non-townhouse sales in the building in the last 12 months, with no evidence of #6B being punished here, either.

But the #5E sellers have the benefit of having sold above their purchase price. The unfortunate folks who bought #6B got creamed on resale, for one very simple (if unfathomable) reason:

Hard cold fact: the corporation that just sold #6A at a significant loss did so because it overpaid in 2007, not because the market punished it in 2013. O. U. C. H.

The facts are unassailable:

I have no way of knowing whether there was another buyer interested in #6A in late 2007, but I do have a way of knowing that the $2.925mm purchase on December 14, 2007 was an outlier for its time: a quick scan of the Streeteasy building page tells me that this was a building record on a dollar-per-foot basis for non-penthouse, non-townhouse properties, and there’s this: the identical loft upstairs at #7A sold on December 21, 2007 for $2.6mm. Or, take the identical loft above that: #8A did not sell in 2007 while asking $2.775mm and $2.695mm, or in early 2008 at $2.6mm.

Again: the #5E sellers eventually got their price, in line with the “feel” for the market you’s get from the StreetEasy Condo Index, and at a gain over their purchase. The #6A original owners? O. U. C. H.

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