53 N. Moore street loft sells up 17% over 2005, only 4% above unsuccessful 2011 price

ready for a quiz?
If it seems like only yesterday that I hit a sale at the North Moore, you need to slow down. It’s been almost a week since my October 4, massive combined loft sells $65,000 above ask at 53 N. Moore Street. The puzzle in that one was an oh-so-awkward floor plan. Today’s quiz category is value, and the question is a two-parter. Pencils ready? Is 17% a reasonable premium over 2005 for the “2,436 sq ft” Manhattan loft #3F at 53 N. Moore Street (when these sellers bought it), and why didn’t it sell in 2010 when it was asking 7% less than the recent clearing price?  Let’s start with a look at what we’re looking at.

one naked column, one closed kitchen
The footprint is classic Long-and-Narrow, with windows only front and back, “oversized” windows, and plumbing on both long walls in the middle. The yield is 2 rear bedrooms, 2 full baths and washer-dryer, a home office and a library. At nearly 27 feet wide with 11 foot ceilings, that nearly square front room with the “oversized” windows has great volume. The volume is not ruined by the column just off the center of the room, but I am surprised at how distracting I find that column, at least in the photos. Perhaps it plays better in real life.

That’s the only column visible in the space, but if you read the floor plan right you will see 4 others that appear to have been covered, extending from the southeast corner of the kitchen to the east corner of each bedroom. Judging from a distant photo of the one that is exposed, there may not be much to gain in aesthetics by exposing any of the others.

The ubiquity of open kitchens in Manhattan lofts makes the #3F kitchen somewhat unusual. But for the (2 foot high?) pass-through on half of the east wall, the kitchen would be completely closed off (though without a door, I assume). I wonder about that. Typical loft style is an open kitchen, often with island, sometimes on one wall, sometimes on a corner. But open. Were potential buyers put off by that, or plaesed to see a break in the tyranny (and cluttered counters)?

Perhaps it works in this loft (assuming it works; I’ve not seen it and the StreetEasy photos are thumbnails, with Halstead continuing to remove listings from the web once they’ve sold) because of the proportions in that front room. The east kitchen wall that ‘should’ be open lines up with the library wall opposite, creating that (very close to) square front room. Maybe.

try and try again
The folks who bought in 2005 tried to sell 3 years later. And 5 years later. And (finally, successfully) 7 years later. The first effort flew into the post-Lehman chill; it’s that second one that intrigues me.

Nov 7, 2008 new to market $3.25mm
Feb 3, 2009   $3.15mm
Mar 21   $2.995mm
May 30 off the market  
Mar 13, 2010 new to market $2.995mm
July 19 off the market  
Mar 17, 2012 new to market $3.35mm
May 31   $3.25mm
Aug 2 contract  
Sept 14 sold $3.15mm

It is tautology to say that the prices didn’t fit the markets, but there you are. The price that cleared the loft in 2012 was just a whisker below the price that was unavailable in the February-March 2009 market, and 4% above the price that was unavailable in the April-May 2009 market and in the March-July 2010 market. The nuclear winter months get a pass, as too-thin markets. But that 2010 market should have been receptive.

Anyone who has an explanation should hand in the quiz leave a comment. Bonus points for commenting on the spread from 2005.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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