9 Murray Street loft takes 5 months, 3 prices to sell

alert the media!
My last 3 substantive (loft-y) posts involved lofts that sold quickly with strong prices. Of course, they fit the current conventional wisdom about the market. But not all lofts are above average, to go Keillor on ya. Since you’ve read the headline, you know that the top line story about the recent sale of the “2,652 sq ft” Manhattan loft
#8W at 9 Warren Murray Street is that it took two price cuts and from October to February to get a contract. A second story will be that the loft did not sell in 2011 (a different market), despite asking only 3% above the eventual clearing price. We will round things off down below with the angle that the loft was purchased in a near-Peak market for $200,000 less than the recent sale.

To the top:

October 4, 2012 new to market $3.65mm
Nov 28   $3.575mm
Jan 27, 2013   $3.495mm
Feb 24 contract  
April 29 sold $3.3mm


No need to reach for the calculator function on your smart phone: that’s a deal at a 6% discount to last ask, 10% to first ask.

For those of you who have forgotten how to scroll down, those three most recent substantive posts are:

May 23, Jade loft pod at 16 West 19 Street implies market is up 33% since 2010
May 28, you’d have to see 161 Hudson Street loft to hope to know why it sold 53% above 2009, 9% above ask, and
May 29, 112 Hudson
Street loft zooms through market above ask


an embarrassment o
f riches
The loft is one corner cut short of being a classic Long-and-Narrow, with the typical pair of bedrooms splitting the rear wall and plumbing in the middle, on both sides. The loft benefits from being a wide Long-and-Narrow, with “narrow” in this case being nearly 30 feet, as well as from 4 exposures and 15 windows. With that width, the 4 exposures, those windows, and 11 foot ceilings, there is a lot of ‘volume’ in
this floor plan, including a master suite of about 700 sq ft.  And utility: you get a third bedroom towards the back, a den opposite the kitchen, and an office tucked into the southwest corner in the front.

There was little bragging about finishes in the broker babble (“gourmet kitchen” is the extent of it), but this strikes me as (unusual) agent modesty. I saw it a couple of times at its high price point with buyers, and we were impressed with the quality. (One oddity I am just noticing: the listing says central air, but the photos show window units in the second and third bedrooms and in the den.)

yes, Virginia, 2011 was a different market
You know that the loft just sold for $3.3mm. They couldn’t get close to that two years ago:

June 3, 2011 new to market $3.595mm
June 22   $3.395mm
Oct 12 off the market  


Unless you just stumbled on to Manhattan Loft Guy for the first time, you’ve heard this before: 2011 was a different market than the current set of conditions. If there was a buyer willing to pay $3.3mm in 2011, they’d have struck a deal with these sellers sometime in the 4 months after June 22, 2011.

2008 was a (slightly) different loft
I noted up top that the loft was purchased by these recent sellers “in a near-Peak market for $200,000 less than the recent sale”. “Near-Peak” in this case means June 26, 2008, just one calendar quarter after the quarter in which the highest prices were recorded in the overall Manhattan residential market. That
marketing campaign was extensive and fascinating, but I first want to focus on the condition of the loft back then.

That babble was rather more enthusiastic than the recent, more modest, effort:

No detail has been left untouched in this massive,spectacular loft with eighteen large windows,four exposures,eleven foot ceilings, a separate windowed office and city views.Using highest quality materials, this pristine loft is a true family home with 3 or 4 bedrooms,a custom Poggenpohl kitchen and granite breakfast bar, a separate windowed office and a laundry area. The aparment [sic] has two and a half baths – an imported Italian Travertine Marble powder room,a natural stone master bath with oversized tub and separate shower and a second full bath with WaterWorks subway tile. The loft is wired for home theatre & highspeed [sic] internet.

Although some of the stated room dimensions vary by an inch or two, that
2008 floor plan matches the current arrangement, meaning that there is no evidence of renovation there. Nor is there evidence of renovation in the new babble. My mind is a terrible thing to waste, but I can’t remember what the listing agent said about upgrades when we visited the $3.65mm listing, other than something being done in the office. There are more listing photos for that era in our listing system than on StreetEasy, but the only possible difference evident in any photo is the flooring was much lighter in finish in 2008. The recent sellers might have replaced the floor, rather than simply refinished in walnut rather than oak, but that would make the 2012 babble even more modest than I first thought.

Bottom line: I asked the listing agent directly about changes, 2008 ($3.1mm) and 2012 (then asking $3.65mm) and I recall being unimpressed that much had been done.

Nostradamus, call your office
The buyers I visited with were also not impressed (enough) that enough had changed in the loft to justify that spread. Taking that 2008 sale at $1,169/ft into account, here’s what I told them at the time:

“building sales have topped out around $1,100/ft except for a penthouse + #8SE ($1,401/ft in 2008 for magazine-level finishes); #8W (really "2,652 sq ft") is asking $1,376/ft for no apparent reason; will they sell at $3.2mm or so??”

It took a while (and those two price drops) until the sellers took $3.3mm. I’m gonna call that price “$3.2mm or so” and call it a day.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013



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