50 Warren Street closes, off 45% from original ask + 14% off 2005 price

how do you spell O – U – C – H ?
It is fair to assume that the sellers of the Manhattan loft on the 3rd floor at 50 Warren Street were quite frustrated with how … realistic … they had to be to sell, considering that they started in February 2008 (the height of The Market, pretty much dead-on) but did not sell until June 2009. They were rather stubborn at first, holding firm at $5.5mm from February through October, but along the way they changed firms and started dropping the price.

You don’t need a poet’s license to imagine the frustration behind this price history (I have ignored some price changes shown in StreetEasy that were immediately changed again; the February 2008 listing is on StreetEasy, here):

  • $5.5mm February 2008
  • $4.9mm November (new firm)
  • $4.75mm December
  • $4mm January
  • $3.75mm February
A+ for effort
You can’t say they weren’t trying, with monthly price changes that lopped nearly $2mm of their starting point. Not can you say that they weren’t determined to sell at whatever The Market offered, as they negotiated to a contract in March that was a full 20% off their (fifth and) last asking price ($2.5mm from where they’d started). It turns out that they were very motivated, after all….

that O – U – C – H I mentioned …?
As if that torrent of price drops was not painful enough, these June 2009 sellers bought this loft in February 2005.

At $3.5mm.

Meaning that they sold in 2009 14% less than they paid 4+ years earlier. O – U – C – H, indeed.

not too narrow but a very long Long-and-Narrow
The footprint of this full-floor loft is classic Long-and-Narrow, with 2 windows on one long side (permitting the 2d and 3rd to be ‘real’ bedrooms). To look quickly at the floor plan, you’d think the loft is absurdly narrow, almost a bowling alley — but the building is 25 feet wide. And 176 feet long! That’s 7 times as long as narrow. It’s as if a 4-story 25 foot wide townhouse (a wide townhouse) that is 44 feet deep was laid end-to-end, rather than stacked. (The February 2008 listing billed this as an "Urban Mansion".) Indeed, it is a full city block from the master suite (on Warren) to the living room windows (over Chambers).

love the square feet!
For all the grief that agents get over square feet in listings (often deserving the grief), this one is interesting. The February 2008 listing had this as "4,200 sq ft" but the November listing pared it down to "3,700 sq ft". For a full-floor loft on a 25 x 176 foot lot and an interior width of 23 feet, each passes my smell test (25 x 176 = 4,400; 23 x 176 = 4,040), as there is very little public space on the footprint: the elevator and stairway. The November listing’s use of "3,700 sq ft" is downright admirable, in fact.

props are in order
To close on another note of appreciation …. Once the sellers realized they were way out of range at $5.5mm and changed firms, they were very active seekers-of-the-true-value, with serial drops of $600,000, $150,000, $750,000 and $250,00, followed up by the willingness to accept another $750,000 off the ask — a clearing price ($3mm) that was $500,000 less than they paid in 2005. Props to these oh-so-painfully-realistic sellers and their agent, Paula Allen of Sothebys.

© Sandy Mattingly 2009



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