142 Duane Street loft up 48% since 2005, 35% since 2008

another Manhattan loft that draws outside the lines

The lovely and classic Manhattan loft #4A at 142 Duane Street just off prime Tribeca has now sold 3 times going back to 2005, 4 times back to 2000. Continuing my recent infatuation with the StreetEasy Condo Index, the 2005 and 2008 sales are easily harmonized but the latest sale is off-index. The “feel” that the Index gives for the overall Manhattan residential real estate is that a resale in September 2008 since August 2005 should show a gain in the range of 9.74%; in real life at this one specific loft the gain was 9.97%. Cool. One could say that this loft in those two sales perfectly represented the overall market, at least to the best of the abilities of the secret sauce magicians at StreetEasy.

The next leap is out of bounds enough that I wonder if the secret sauce magicians would exclude it as an outlier. The Index proposes that the overall market gain in the five years from the sale in September 2008 to was only 1.6% but the reality for this loft was 35%. hmmmm …

Let’s look at the extended history-through-numbers, then at the loft, with the 4th column being the Index value:

Aug 23, 2005      sold $1.955mm 1,950
May 22, 2008 new to market $2.35mm
July 21 contract
Sept 16 sold $2.15mm 2,140
June 20, 2013 new to market $2.995mm
July 3 contract
Sept 12 sold $2.9mm 2,175*

(*Of course, 2,175 is the August 2013 Index value, the most recent so far.)

Sticking with numbers and dates, that 2008 marketing was just past The Peak of the overall Manhattan market, but was still in a market that showed strong pricing and deep volume. That closing date makes me wonder if the buyer immediately regretted the purchase, as the impact of Lehman’s bankruptcy filing on September 15 was pretty quickly felt. Of course, the punchline ($2.9mm!) shows that any regrets dissipated at least 3 months ago.

The 2013 numbers and dates show The Market had no problem snapping this loft up, even at the 35% premium. Two weeks to contract, at only a courtesy discount. If all you knew were the sale prices and Index values over time, you’d guess that the loft that just sold was an improved version of the loft the recent seller at $2.9mm paid $2.15mm for 5 years earlier. Careful …

two sets of babble, one story

This was the main part of the broker babble about the loft in 2008:

14ft pressed-tin ceilings and huge sunny windows with open skyline views. Cast Iron Beamed ceilings, Corinthian cast iron columns, exposed brick walls, and the very best original detail: Original Cast Iron interior shutters anchored with elegant limestone sills. … completely renovated to the highest standard …. Gallery lighting …[,] oversized limestone encased wood burning fireplace. Wide plank hardwood floors. The custom open kitchen design features luxury trademark appliances: Exterior vented Viking Range and oven, silent Bosch dishwasher. The master suite, accessible by a very dramatic floor-to-ceiling sliding wall, has huge pass through custom closets, a proper dressing area, and a full en-suite luxury master bath. Cast iron soaking tub, separate shower. The second sleeping area, which also makes a great home office, is again accessible by a floor-to-ceiling sliding wall. Washer/Dryer in apartment, central heating and air-conditioning.

There are only two photos from that listing on StreetEasy but our listings system has 8 interior shots. Trust me: the only evident changes are some light fixtures, paint, and a (built-in?) cabinet in the corner by the office and fireplace. The classic loft elements were fully resplendent then, as they are now. The money rooms (kitchen, bath) are the same but for some kitchen island pendents. Yet: $2.15mm then, $2.9mm now.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the 2005 broker babble in our listings system is at least as detailed and enthusiastic (“beyond XXX Mint!”) as that of 2008 and 2013. Hence: $1.955mm then, $2.15mm in 2008.

To recap: the secret sauce magicians at StreetEasy describe the Index as “giv[ing] you a feel for how the Manhattan Condo Real Estate market performed over the past 15 years”. It’s just a tool, folks. An unusually useful one, as it summarizes a complex market with one number per month, but anything that describes The Whole Market does not describe any specific property at any specific time. (This is obvious, right?) Real world behaviors like that of the unique seller in 2013 and his two unique buyers in 2013 are not accounted for by the Index, useful as it is.

I had a bit of a Twitter chat this week with one person responsible for the “assorted filtering and our trademarked magical unicorn dust” that sits behind the StreetEasy Index about how those filters might handle the non-sale sale in my October 21, 354 Broadway loft owners won’t freak out about recent sale. Short story: they are comfortable that “sale” would get filtered by an algorithm that checks for related party names. I will tweet her again to see if she thinks they would bounce (i.e., reject) the recent #4A sale as too high in comparison to 2005 based on the Index. (I understand this loft won’t be in the Index regardless, as it is a coop and not a condo, but I will ask anyway.)

meanwhile, back in this classic Tribeca loft…

What’s not to like about this loft? From high pressed tin ceilings (thought to be 14 feet in 2008, only 12 in 2013 and 2005), to Corinthian cast iron columns (painted white in 2008, now grey), to those original cast iron (!) shutters for the 8 foot windows, to the wide flooring, to the exposed brick, complemented by the steel and glass in the office and the sliding mahogany door to the bedroom, this is a loft lover’s loft.

But here’s one thing not to like: those 4 huge windows are all on the north wall, putting the lie to the babble that a buyer “[c]an easily add a Large 2nd Bedroom”. (Floor plan, here.) Of course, you “can” add a real bedroom in the northeast corner, but doing that leaves but 2 windows in the (then, not so) great room, and ruins its proportions. So there’s that. Of course, The Market hardly flinched over the limitation that this “2,000 sq ft” loft is and should always be a 1-bedroom+office: $2.9mm contract within 2 weeks.

meanwhile, back in 2000…

The StreetEasy Index says The Market changed by 65% from when this loft was first sold by the developer in November 2000 and the first resale in August 2005. The actual sales prices were $815,000 and $1.955mm, but there’s a reason the loft had twice the indexed appreciation: it appears as though a major renovation was done in between. The sponsor offered lofts here for sale in “basic” condition or as fully built out. We don’t have photos or a listing description that details this loft in 2000, but it certainly appears that the bedroom and office walls and doors are new, and probably the bathrooms were redone. The classic details had to have been there before, of course, though they may not all have been presented in their current refurbished states. The question of improvements aside, this is a pretty dramatic sequence:

  • $815,000 November 2000
  • $1.955mm August 2005
  • $2.15mm September 2008
  • $2.9mm September 2013

That is all.

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  1. […] loft directly above came to market. I hit that loft when it sold more quickly, in my October 25, 142 Duane Street loft up 48% since 2005, 35% since 2008. Those attentive readers already know the punchline: #4A sold very quickly for $2.9mm on September […]

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