108 Reade Street loft goes to war, secretly, beats the heck out of 2011 market

for reasons unknown
Still groggy from a 4AM wake-up call on Wednesday in Buenos Aires and an overnight flight from Chile to JFK on (still) Wednesday night, but it is time to get out of the Manhattan Loft Guy archives and back into relatively current loft sales. I present for your consideration the odd history of the “1,305 sq ft” Manhattan loft
#3E at 108 Reade Street, which did not sell during a very brief marketing campaign in 2011 at $1.375mm but just sold at $1.95mm after a bidding war that is easy to miss on StreetEasy. Let’s start at the end, with that note on StreetEasy “Sold for 1.3% below asking price of $1,975,000”.

No, the loft did not sell below the last public asking price. I don’t know why listing systems permit this, nor am I accusing any agent of anything other than bad data entry, but the real history of the listing (from our data-base; it is a Corcoran sale) is this:

April 10 new to market $1.8mm
April 25 offer accepted  
May 1 contract signed  
June 4 sold $1.95mm

That nonsense about a public asking price change to $1.975mm on the day the contract was signed is … er … nonsense. The deal at $1.95mm was struck off the original and only public asking price of $1.8mm. In fact, the loft took 15 days to get an accepted offer at an 8% premium to the asking price, and less than another week for that deal to be reduced to contract. If I were in charge of our listing system (ha!) I would make it impossible for an agent to change the asking price after an accepted offer, unless the loft were really offered to the public for sale as back on the market. This kind of sloppiness distorts the market, for those of us who try to make a living understanding The Market, and for civilians who try to keep up. End of (that) rant.

more scary than it looks
Regular readers of this blog with decent short-term memories know that I have riffed on that now infamous New York Times article a couple of times (see my June 2,
not every buyer should panic: that scary New York Times article is right, to a degree, and my June 4, revisiting the NY Times “time to PANIC!!!” piece with more (contrary) Manhattan loft sales data) and have used that “Scary!” meme to identify particular loft sales that should give Buyers With Facts the creeps (as in my June 24, scary sale of small loft at 19 Hubert Street; that one was more scary, at $1,364/ft in a coop with a layout that is very challenging). With loft #3E looking like a discounted sale rather than the bidding war that it was, loft buyers might not be as scared as they should be, alas. (The Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 has this sale, like others above ask, in green, for those Buyers Who Want More Facts.)

Asking price muddling aside, this sale is scary enough: this bones-only, no-mint loft in a no-frills condo in a not-quite-prime-but-convenient Tribeca location just sold for $1,494/ft. These are words commonly associated with a bones-only, no-mint loft: “well configured space”, “expansive living space”, “original tin ceiling”, “excellent … sunlight”, “nicely proportioned bedrooms”; the only doff of the cap towards finishes is the vague “Chef’s kitchen”. No proper proper names or materials cited, just the claimed chef’s cap. (Does the glimpse of the kitchen in listing pic #3 look like a chef lives there? With a ¾ frig?) I happen to love very old wood flooring in lofts; the stuff in the photos looks not only very old but very beaten up.

Reading between the lines (and the photos), this is a well-configured 2-bedroom, 2 bath loft that needs updating, but there’s no reason to renovate. Still … $1,494/ft. S C A R Y.

not a fair fight in 2011
That 2011 effort was very short. I will try to get some background, but loft #3E actually got a quick deal off that $1.375mm asking price, but something happened to knock that sale out. Per our listing system:

Jan 31, 2011 new to market $1.375mm
Feb 13 offer accepted  
Mar 17 "temporarily” off the market  

If I find out where that deal was, or why it fell apart I will update this post. In the meantime, it is not hard to see where that $1.375mm ask came from. The loft upstairs was probably in “excellent” condition when it sold for
$1.48mm on February 2, 2007 (the very brief public marketing campaign at $1.7mm in 2009 does not claim a renovation). Yes, the 2007 sale does not seem to have been public, and yes, it was a full year before The Peak, but that was the last “E” line sale before #3E came to market in 2011, as it remains.

The most recent sale then (and now) in this small (9-unit) condo was the August 2010 sale of the larger (“2,160 sq ft”) loft
#3W next door, which provoked a bidding war before closing at $1,088/ft. Yes, 2010 was a different market, and yes, that loft was also (between the lines) somewhat primitive, but there’s a long way from $1,088/ft in 2010 to $1,494/ft in 2013.

S C A R Y, indeed.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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