161 Hudson Street closes off 2.5% since (late) 2007

crude measures are, well, crude
Regular readers of Manhattan Loft Guy know that I am enamored of the power (well, potential) of the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008, and that one of my favorite uses to date was to use paired resales to assess the relative strengths of the Manhattan loft market niche in 2007 and again 2011 (in my September 27, 2011, is the Manhattan loft market back to (up to) 2007? 61 repeat sales say “probably”, “a bit”). The very recent sale of the “2,317 sq ft” Manhattan loft #5B at 161 Hudson Street by folks who bought it in late 2007 is a needed reminder to me of how crude that paired resale analysis is. Useful? Yes. Interesting, even. But, like any data analysis, it has limited value and it is important to understand the nature of the limits.

In this case, a paired resale analysis of loft #5B shows why “the 2007 market” is hardly a unitary thing. The most salient point about “the 2007 market” is trajectory (and depth, if I can add a second most salient element): prices were generally increasing over the course of the year, heading (of course) to The Peak of the overall Manhattan residential real estate market for sales closed in the First Quarter of 2008. In other words, “the market” in January 2007 was different from “the market” in December that year, to a degree not true for 2011, which is widely discussed as a flat market year.

In this case, the fact that loft #5B sold for $3,411,137 on November 26, 2007 and then again on March 5 this year for $3.325mm is not so interesting because the resale was off 2.5% from 2007 so much as it is interesting that it was off only 2.5% from a near-Peak value. (I really hope this makes sense.) Not to mention that a 2.5% spread is within a reasonable range of market noise….

This, the headline should be that this is a rather strong resale, one data point suggesting that the current loft market in Tribeca might be at near-Peak levels (if other examples are found). That’s interesting! At least to Manhattan Loft Guy. If I had hundreds of paired 2007 – 2011 resales instead of 79 pairs (note to self: do a final year wrap-up post, now that nearly all 2011 deeds should have been filed by now) I could do a quarterly analysis within 2007, but my data are just too thin.

meanwhile, back above the former Wetlands…
The “2,317 sq ft” footprint for the “B” line is close to ideal: nearly square, with a long run of windows east (master suite and living room) and north (living room and other bedrooms), with plumbing stacks separated enough to have 1.5 baths on the west wall behind the kitchen and a master bath (and nearby washer-dryer) on the south wall. With but 4 columns, the space can be configured many ways, in this array with the two additional bedrooms in the corner opposite the master.

The broker babble claims “sun-drenched … 12′ beamed ceilings … unobstructed city views from oversized windows”, which undoubtedly enhance the sense of volume in the loft, with those “unobstructed” being only the eastern views (the north-facing windows bring more light than view, as the 6-story building across Laight Street, 165 Hudson Street, is visible in those windows). Of course, those unobstructed east views include the run of handsome and classic loft buildings on Laight Street east of Hudson and the spillways of the Holland Tunnel (to be fair, also the greenery of St. John’s Park, through which those spillways wind).

the value of square square feet
How valuable is that square footprint? I am glad you asked 😉 A lot! Roughly $238/ft, to be absurdly precise.

With its “2,317 sq ft” footprint set up as 3 bedrooms with north and east exposures, #5B just cleared at $1,435/ft. The “2,117 sq ft” #3C cleared at $1,097/ft just 3 months earlier, but that one had a classic Long-and-Narrow footprint with windows only front (east) and back (west), set up with 2 bedrooms in back and a media room without a window. The 2-bedroom+media+2-bath #3C footprint does not have the same utility or flexibility as the 3-bedroom-2.5-bath #5B footprint, and the very different market values reflect that there is quite a premium (from the “B” perspective) or penalty (from the “C” perspective) associated with that difference in layout. To be fair, the “B” line benefits from a longer run of east windows, but that is what happens when you have a square compared to a Long-and-Narrow.

Sharp-eyed Manhattan Loft Guy readers will remember that I hit that #3C sale in my January 11, 2012, loft lab at 161 Hudson Street, as loft takes 5 months to make a quick sale, which focused on comparing two “C” line sales, and 2011 vs. 2004 pricing.

Long-time Manhattan Loft Guy readers may remember that I have hit this relatively small building (24 units) a few times.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012


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