psst! wanna see a picture of The Trough? look at 477 Broome Street loft sold in 2009 and 2012

(and 2005)
The most casual fans of the overall Manhattan residential real estate market understand the cycles of Froth-into-Peak-into-Freeze-into-Thaw; the rabid can probably draw a graph by hand. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words is one Manhattan loft worth, if its sale history shows that graph? (Well, shows it as much as any one loft reasonably can; after all, you are not likely to see a loft that sold at each of the turning points on that graph.) I submit for your consideration, ladies and Gentlemen, the authentic but sophisticated Manhattan loft #33 at 477 Broome Street, which sold as the overall Manhattan market was getting froth-y, again after Lehman’s bankruptcy filing sent the market into nuclear winter, and again last month, well past the thaw:

April 12, 2005 sold $950,000
     
Aug 30 new to market $1.295mm
Oct 9   $1.195mm
Jan 13, 2009   $1.095mm
Feb 27 contract  
April 29 sold $965,000
     
Mar 18, 2012 new to market $1.25mm
April 19   $1.115mm
May 24 contract  
Sept 27 sold $1,112,500

That 2005-buyer-turned-2009-seller missed the market by (only) a few months, as there was still a deep buyer pool active after the market had passed The Peak in the First Quarter of 2008. But coming to market less than 3 weeks before Lehman’s bankruptcy filing is a particularly sad indicator of having missed the market. That first price drop was not not enough, and the second was just enough to generate a discounted deal, as the seller chased the market down (to use that classic phrase), but caught up to it.

Obviously, the realized ‘gain’ from 2005 to 2009 of only $15,000 (before expenses, of course) obscures the fact that values in that period in the overall Manhattan market rose dramatically in the three years after that first purchase and then fell even more dramatically. And the gain realized from 2009 to 2012 is just a snapshot of current the current value of a single loft, with no indication of the upward slope of the line in the 3+ intervening years.

Is the overall market up about 15% since the Trough? More or less. And right in line with this loft selling at a 15% premium to the early Second Quarter of 2009.

a babble salad of old & new, classic & sophisticated
The broker babble is so enthusiastic that I was disappointed to finally click on the floor plan to see the small stage on which all that goodness performs. First, the good news:

authentic SoHo cast iron loft space combines the beauty and style of classic 1873 cast iron architecture with … sophistication and convenience …. fluted columns w/Corinthian capitals supporting soaring 12ft pressed tin ceilings, … preserved and bleached hardwood flrs and grand 10ft windows…. Fully renovated w/ tasteful upgrades including Bosch kitchen, oversized bath w/ stylish Duravit soaking tub and rain showerhead, and 9 built-in closets containing enough pull-out hanging space, shelving and drawers to accommodate the wardrobe of a fashion icon, the space is a triumph of modern sophistication and classic loft living. Other conveniences include a large overhead storage loft, washer/dryer in unit, alarm system, new video security system and separate utility area

The bad news is the floor plan, with more partitions than walls so as not to shrink the space even further. Obviously, 12 foot ceilings help the volume, though the “grand 10 ft windows” would help more if most did not look at nearby brick. Our listing system has this loft at “1,000 sq ft”, which is quite generous if the floor plan room dimensions are close to accurate. (Living room 263 + bedroom 153 + kitchen / dining 187 + entry / utility / bath 130 = 733 sq ft! Good thing the listing does not quote any figure.) With that “bedroom” fully open to the living room (not to mention, to the ceiling and [around that back corner] to the kitchen), this loft is more One Person Wonder, than a One Bed Wonder. Unless the person sleeping is a very deep sleeper, another person in the loft doing almost anything will risk disturbing the sleeper.

it gets worse, 2009 edition
Remember that $15,000 gain “before expenses” from April 2005 to April 2009? The accountant for that 2005-buyer-turned-2009-seller would also have deducted capital improvements, as the loft was improved significantly in the interim. You can’t tell from StreetEasy, but the listing description and photos in our listing data-base show a loft with white columns (not stripped), walnut floors (not bleached), a basic bathroom and a smaller kitchen. The built-ins also appear to be new, after 2005.

Even in a small loft, a new and bigger kitchen and a new bath would cost enough to put a big hole in the P&L for a loft that cost $950,000 and sold 4 years later at $965,000. Yikes and … O. U. C. H.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012
 

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