hyper-local (6th floor) Tribeca loft market at 44 Laight Street up 17% in 17 months

not much of an outlier from overall Manhattan residential real estate market, however

An index is one thing, but real (individual) data points are another. It should no longer be headline news that a particular downtown Manhattan loft resells in the current market at a premium like 17% to a 2012 sale, except that it seems (to many, to me … at times) shocking in its scale. The headline set your expectations about the recently sold “1,581 sq ft” Manhattan loft #6C at 44 Laight Street (the Grabler Building, overlooking the Holland Tunnel spillways in upper Tribeca). The folks who sold it a month ago for $2.55mm owned it only 17 months, having paid $2.175mm in May 2012. This is the kind of thing that makes buyers in the current market recoil, some in disbelief, yet the reality (or, the ‘feel’ for the reality) of the overall Manhattan market from the StreetEasy Manhattan Condo Index is that the Index was 1,940 when they bought and 2,184 when they sold. Their specific (gross) gain of 17% is not so radically different from the Index at plus 13%.

It used to be that when I would see a gain of this magnitude over such a short time frame I would assume an intervening upgrade in condition. No longer.

(I will pause here as buyers cringe. And re-count their dollars. Or recalibrate their expectations.)

different paint, same loft in same location

For a loft that sold over $1,600/ft, this is pretty modest broker babbling, isn’t it?

condo loft with protected Southern light and views from every room. Truly a sublime oasis…gracious living/dining room with fireplace, substantial tasteful chef’s kitchen. Oversized master bedroom with dressing room and spa bath. Second bedroom winged for privacy. Additional features include: maple floors, 10-foot ceilings, washer/dryer and abundant storage. Further, there are One World Trade Center, Woolworth building and tree views.

Sublime, gracious, tasteful, oversized, abundant … not a lot of bragging going on here.

In 2012 they were a little more specific, but the idea is the same:

perfect move-in condition with a wonderful layout. The comfortable square living room is perfect for entertaining and includes a gas fireplace. The kitchen is outfitted with high-end appliances, poured concrete countertops, and lots of cabinets for storage. The master bedroom is huge and includes an oversized walk-in closet and beautiful en-suite bath. The second bedroom is at the opposite end of the loft maximizing privacy.

I am not going to repeat the 2008 babbling, as there is too much SHOUTING, but it is the same, more or less.

No one said “triple mint”, no one said “meticulously renovated”, no one said “stunning”. Even the “perfect” was a modifier (only) for move-in condition. And, trust me, the floor plan is unchanged over all these years. You’ve got two widely separated (“winged”, in the new vernacular) bedrooms sharing the same single exposure with the living room, with the plumbing rooms at the open end of the inverted “U”. A principal feature is that (single) southern exposure, over treetops and auto traffic. (“Protected” views until someone decides to develop in the middle of the Holland Tunnel spillways; hardly an unthinkable event.)

I see no differences at all, apart from coloring, from 2013 to 2012, to 2008.

sometimes you can get a bad feeling from the Index

I’ve mentioned 2008 a few times in connection with loft #6C. The same loft in the same condition sold for an even $1.9mm in a near-Peak sale in July 2008. That is not a happy number for fans of the StreetEasy Index, or for those sellers. While the May 2012 sale number and the October 2013 sale number can be fit into the Index shifts, July 2008 breaks the wrong way. Badly. The Index value then (2,180) is essentially flat to the current value, and dramatically higher than the May 2012 value. Bummer.

No other loft in the building has sold as many times in the recent past as loft #6C, and no “C” line loft has resold since … ever, if you can believe StreetEasy. (The Grabler Building is a 2004 condo conversion into residential lofts.) The “A” line is where the action has been, with results that differ from the value-over-time line of loft #6C.

I will put aside “stunningly renovated” sale of the “4,021 sq ft” loft #2A in May 2011 at $4.97mm ($1,236/ft) as being different from its peers because of its stunning renovation. That aside, the “A” line sales include the “4,052 sq ft” loft #5A at $4.505mm ($1,118/ft) in May 2012, compared to the “4,021 sq ft” loft #4A at $4.06mm in August 2011 ($1,010/ft), and the “3,735 sq ft” #3A in June 2010 at $4.2mm ($1,124/ft). StreetEasy Index values at those times were 1,940, 1,900, and 1,880, so they are tolerably within range of the Index trend lines.

The day before #5A sold at $1,118/ft last year, #6C sold at $1,376/ft. Smaller seems to be better (or, more highly valued) here. By a lot. With #6C up 17% since then, I imagine the gap has increased.

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