flip city: 99 Reade Street loft sold in 2011 sells again, up 4%

so many questions
Some people might look at the September 4 sale of the “1,576 sq ft” Manhattan loft #5W at 99 Reade Street (Reade Court) for $2mm and see that the big news is that it sold at that round number 15 months after being purchased for $1.925mm; really close readers of Manhattan Loft Guy would recognize that there is still a discount for low ceilings on this no-longer-top-floor loft; but I am distracted, wondering why someone who bought and moved to a lovely loft in April 2011 from a small loft rental around the corner would decide to move within 12 months. Where is she going? Has the Manhattan loft world lost a fan?

Let’s unpack these questions in order.

From a market perspective, this September 2012 transaction either shows a slight improvement in value over the market value of the same loft in April 2011, or it is simply market noise. I hit that earlier sale in my April 26, 2011, 99 Reade Street loft sales show sound and fury in market, but it’s no tragedy, wondering if a rather larger spread between #5W in April 2011 and #3W four months earlier ($1.925mm v. $2.075mm) was STRIKE sound and fury, indicating nothing market noise. If it is a single data point in a coming trend of a strengthening market for Manhattan loft sales, time (and the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 will tell); if it is mere market noise, the explanation is likely to be that a stubborn seller, having paid $1.925mm on the way in, would not take less than her purchase price plus her sales fee on the way out, and held successfully to that in negotiations with her buyers.

I am inclined to the market noise conclusion, subject to finding other evidence of a strengthening sales market.

If you stopped to read that April 26, 2011 post you already know from my update that there is a potentially significant difference between loft #3W and loft #5W: the higher floor has lower ceilings. That fact is a non-trivial reason that #3W would have been valued 8% higher than #5W in (essentially) the same market.

That difference was pointed out to me by someone on Twitter (do you follow @ManhattnLoftGuy yet?), and was the basis for my April 30, 2011, 99 Reade Street and the value of low-ceilinged lofts in Manhattan. Not to go all meta on ya, but this post makes my third about the same loft, with only two sales. For reasons I would love an architect or engineer to explain, when they added two floors on top of this building to convert to condos 15 years ago they dropped the ceilings of the 5ht floor (formerly, top floor) lofts to support the additions, rather than supporting the new 6th and 7th floors on top of the old roof.

My source says the difference in ceiling height between the 5th and other floors is 3 feet; definitely a non-trivial difference, in this case perhaps enhanced by the footprint, as I said in that April 30, 2011 post:

The impact of the low ceilings is probably enhanced by the footprint of the “W” line: not Long-and-Narrow because of the irregular shape, but long enough that standing in the middle of the unit you are a long way from the windows, with a long run of ceiling running away from you.

where is she going?
Voyeur that I am, I of course wonder why someone puts a loft on the market within a year of having purchased it. (You know, that paragraph usually sub-headed eight million stories in the naked city….)  There is no (sensible) economic play, as the dollars are all but eaten up by the sales fee after buying for $1.925mm and selling for $2mm, and the left over pennies are consumed by the transfer fees on exit.

In this case, her notice address on the deed record is her (now sold) loft, so there is no hint of where she’s going, as there sometimes is. But I know where she came from, and her record is as a loft lover in a fairly small part of Tribeca. When she bought the “1,576 sq ft” #5W at 99 Reade Street between Church and West Broadway, her notice address on that deed was this “1,000 sq ft” rental loft around the corner and up a block. That trajectory was good, from a $5,500/mo rental with 1,00 sq ft to a $1.975mm purchase of a loft half again as large. Perhaps her luck holds and she is moving to a 2,500+ sq ft loft within a short walk of the subway stop at Chambers and Hudson….

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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