73 Worth Street neighbors (almost) fought over one buyer, $84k (loser closes closes down 10% since 2005)

the $84k may be more painful than the 10%
The Manhattan loft #5B at 73 Worth Street closed on January 21 at $2.585mm, quite a step down from the $2,877,250 at which it was traded in September 2005. But the same-unit-different-year comp is less interesting than what happened in the building last Spring.

There is a relatively recent comp, just downstairs at #4B, which I hit when it sold in June 2009. That headline that told that tale, as of then:  73 Worth Street closes by biting a very large bullet in one bite, June 26, 2009. That tale focused on how motivated that seller was, but that comp has a fascinating timeline when set against what happened upstairs at #5B. Sometimes there is exactly one buyer for a given property type, so the neighbor who does not get that buyer waits and waits, and sells lower. Ouch.

The very comp-ish #4B (both are "2,571 sq ft", both use glowing adverbs and adjectives) closed at $2.69mm on June 12, 2009, which was a big gulp off the $3.2mm asking price and which suggests a brutal negotiation. But — as I said then — the #4B seller proved to be very motivated by taking that 16% hit and getting out of the building. (For some reason I failed to note then that the original price for #4B had been $3.5mm, so the clearing price was a hefty 23% off the original price; it was also 7.4% off what this July 2009 seller had paid to get into the building in August 2005.) In that June 26 post last year I wondered about #4B’s impact on the neighbors: "whether (how) any currently available listings are adjusting to this news".

early bird, meet worm
#5B was one of those neighbors, as they had been trying to sell since April 24 (starting at $2.75mm, way below the $3.5mm at which #4B had started in September 2008). While they were adept enough to drop to $2.675mm one week after #4B closed, it appears that #4B got the one buyer then interested in this line in this building (neighborly competition can be intense!). It took #5B until November 30 to drop again (to $2.595mm), from which there was a (relatively simple?) negotiation concluded with a January 4 contract (can that date be right?) and the January 21 closing just $10,000 off the last ask.

a thin market is a dangerous market
That one buyer was just not available to #5B, as they came to market at $2.75mm one week after #4B went into contract at $2.69mm. That small spread between #5B’s ask and #4B’s contract suggests that #5B should have attracted a #4B-like offer immediately, but The Market did not have such an offer available for another 8 months.

The $84,000 difference between these 73 Worth Street neighbors represents only 3.2% of the lower selling price. The last time I noted the same upstairs-downstairs-higher-sale-lower-sale phenomenon the gap was proportionately larger. Perhaps this is one more small indication that The Market is trending less negatively….

144 West 18 Street played the same theme
My June 11, 2009 post, neighborly competition / laggard at 144 West 18 Street closes off 15% since December, addressed two neighbors who were on the market at the same time, so they did fight over That One Buyer. Those neighbors started at exactly the same price but one wanted to sell first, while the other was (over)confident:

The #4N sellers challenged The Market to distinguish between the two units by starting at the same price as #3N 3 weeks after #3N had first been offered. After determining that The Market reaction to these two units at $19mm was "(yawn)", the #4N sellers then told The Market that they were serious sellers, by dropping $100k in 3 weeks and another $100k in another 4 weeks. They were rewarded with a contract in another month, for which they were able to hold very close to their last asking price.

The #3N sellers, in very stark contrast, were principled, or firm, or persistent, or stubborn, or hard-headed (add your favorite description here: ____). For which The Market hammered them. 


The neighbors in that building in that post were fighting in the immediate post-peak period (they came to market in July 2008), which was a very difficult market to decipher or to get ahead of. The prize to the winner of The Neighborly Competition sold for a $250,000 premium over the laggard, who took another 6 months to sell. Given the scale (that was

a 17% hit

to the lower selling neighbor!) there was more of a bloodbath at 144 West 18 Street (particularly as they were on the market at exactly the same time) than at 73 Worth. But be careful of your neighbors!


© Sandy Mattingly 2010


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