5 years later, small loft at 261 Broadway sells (angels rejoice)


I spoke too soon yesterday

One problem with doing daily blog posts about closed Manhattan loft sales is that one post can get eclipsed by another; what seems like an unusual specimen one day can diminish the next. If you remember that yesterday’s post was about a loft that took the better part of four years to sell (April 18, Lion’s Head loft at 121 West 19 Street takes a long time to lose 9% since 2007 resale), you can guess where this is going, and guess about how long it took to get there. Long story, short (it will get long again, but bear with me): the "754 sq ft" small Manhattan loft #4A at 261 Broadway just closed, after having been (essentially) continuously offered for sale since October 2007. (In this case, "[essentially] continuously offered for sale since October 2007" means every damn day for 59 months other than about 4 months off the market broken up into 3 pieces.)


Yesterday’s sad stubborn seller started when the market took a dramatic turn for the worst ("collapsed", said The Miller recently about that time); today’s contestant from teh City Hall corner of Tribeca started a full year earlier, just as the overall Manhattan residential real estate market was entering it’s most active period. This is a story that starts with a seller coming to market at exactly the right time, but (alas and alack) at an unavailable price, even for the Good Olde Days:

Oct 16, 2007 new to market $825,000
Feb 29, 2008   $795,000
Mar 4 hiatus  
May 1 back on market  
July 16   $750,000
Mar 12, 2009   $725,000
July 29 hiatus  
Sept 8 back on market  
Sept 16   $700,000
Dec 17 hiatus  
Jan 20, 2010 back on market $719,000
May 14   $699,000
Nov 7   $730,000
May 23 , 2012   $680,000
Sept 11 contract  
Feb 25, 2013 sold $670,000


Have I mentioned (recently) that The Market is not fair? Check this out: this loft sold within 8% of its asking price since March 2009. But the best market was between the first price (23% above the clearing price) and the first price drop (+19 %). Missed that opportunity, easily.


it can be easy to read between the lines

The real enthusiasm in the broker babble is directed at what is outside the loft:


Low market price plus beautiful new kitchen cabinets and corian counter tops and bathroom upgrades.


Large 1 bedroom lofty apartment flooded with sunlight from with four huge windows facing east. Beautiful protected direct park views from everywhere in the apt. High ceilings, hardwood floors, two walls of closets, very large kitchen with beautiful new cabinets.


Bathroom has merely been "upgraded" and the kitchen has "new" cabinets (not custom, or cherry, or Italian, or any bragging along those lines) and a (new?) corian counter. The good stuff is the protected view over City Hall Park. That, and the "low market price", which was repeatedly deemed by outsiders to be neither low nor market.


It is hard to say definitively without having seen it or without large format photos, but this has the feel of a "nothing special" loft (with special views), like the one I hit in my April 17, 161 West 15 Street is nothing special, other than priced right for the market. (Other than that that one was priced right and sold quickly, of course.)


competing with neighbors, but not well

At the beginning of the #4A campaign in 2007, this loft went head to head with loft #5A, immediately above in the same footprint (d’oh). That one claimed a "renovated" kitchen and bath, with a touch of Viking. It didn’t fly off the market, and needed a price drop to make a deal as the market crested: to market on September 12, 2007 at $825,000, a price drop on February 12, 2008 to $795,000, a contract on March 22, and a deed transferred on June 10 at $772,500.


A little later, #7A went head to head with #5A, not finding a buyer from September 2008 into June 2009 (no shame in that) at $795,000, but finding quick success in 2010 (to market April 20 at $775,000, in contract within 6 weeks and sold at $755,000 on August 30). That one was priced higher than #4A for a reason, or for several reasons:


Fully renovated kitchen with ample butcher-block counters, frosted glass cabinets and stainless GE appliances. … Fully renovated bathroom.


(I am not the only one who saw #4A as a "nothing special" loft.)


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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