Diamond Duane mini-loft sells above 2008 after adding space(!)

you don’t see that every day
The Manhattan loft #4C at 137 Duane Street that just sold for $949,000 was marketed with a floor plan that was billed as “approximately 825 square feet” (bless that babbled modifier!), but when it was sold by the sponsor just after The Peak at $743,322 that floor plan was only “725 sq ft”. It is obvious from the two floor plans that the loft is, in fact, now larger than when it was sold by the developer, with the addition of that walk-in closet space (said to be 8’7” x 8’0”). I don’t think I have ever seen a Manhattan loft grow like that before, except when two lofts have been combined and some (formerly) common hallway space has been annexed.

That growth does not entirely explain the price appreciation, as the loft was sold as a white box by the developer and has been rather nicely renovated since then. In fact, given the small scale, there scope of the renovation is impressively large: the kitchen was moved, the bathroom was both moved and stretched, and a part of the former bathroom is now a windowed office with built-ins.

babble speaks some truth, and some other
I love it when agents are explicit about a challenging feature of a loft. In this case, that

The interior building views afford good light and a quiet environment, however this is not a view apartment.

Indeed, it is so much not-a-view-apartment that the only window into the living space has been dressed at the bottom with a curtain — suggesting that the aesthetics are better the less you see. Props for setting expectations here.

numbers don’t add up
No props for math, however. The StreetEasy record of the 2008 deed notes the condo is “725 sq ft”, presumably because the offering plan uses that size figure for this loft. The new configuration, as noted, was marketed as “approximately 825 square feet”, which matches that StreetEasy deed record. But the recent babble claims that the loft has been “enlarged by 160 square feet”.

The spread between the old “725 sq ft” and the new “approximately 825 square feet” is so easy that even I can do that in my head. Let’s just say that it is well short of “160 square feet”. But let’s also say that the only floor plan change I see is that walk-in closet at “8’7”x8’0””. I can do that math in my head also: that is a fraction over 68 sq ft. Let’s just say that that is well short of “100 sq ft”. (Sigh.)

August 12 listing to August 25 contract, with a page turn
A very quick scan of the listing history reveals a new-to-market date of August 12 and an in-contract date of August 25, which would be a very quick contract. Alas, the first date was in 2010, the second in 2011:

Aug 12, 2010 new to market $1,100,000
Dec 28   $1,050,000
Jan 22, 2011 hiatus  
Mar 2 back $999,999
Mar 30   $989,000
July 26   $949,000
Aug 25 contract  
Sept 23 sold $949,000

You do hate to see a full calendar year turn over on an active listing.

But people who think that the Manhattan residential real estate market is rational (let alone, efficient) have to stumble over the fact that this loft was offered within 5% of its eventual contract price for nearly 7 months before finding a contract. Any rational market would have found a buyer at the eventually established market value much sooner than that.

one last marketing quibble
Did you see the live dog in the listing photos? Of course you did, in pic #6. I believe that people love to see pictures of dogs in listing pix, as a pet tends to make a loft feel more warm and inviting.

But I do not think that people like to be confronted with a picture of a dog’s butt, such as the one on the wall above the breakfast bar / auxiliary work station in pic #1. Maybe it is just me, but that generates a stronger “ewww” reaction than the positive “awww” reaction to seeing the actual dog. I ma not saying it cost the owner any money or that it made the loft harder to sell, but I would have had the owner put that picture away.

a new theme is not (really) emerging
Yes, this is the second day in a row with a post that includes a kitchen renovation that the seller valued more highly than The Market did. Yesterday’s kitchen at The Broadmoor was changed in more subtle ways than this former white-box-kitchen at Diamond Duane (October 4, motivated (proud?) seller picked the wrong price at 315 West 23 Street loft, again + again), but that seller also took 13 months to close a sale. And that seller found it more difficult to settle on a price that The Market would accept.

I do not expect to come across another example of extended unsuccessful marketing campaigns with new kitchens any time soon, but if I do I will point back to this pair.

© Sandy Mattingly 2011

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