should 80 Chambers Street loft be embarrassed? (resells over ask, but only 6% over 2006)

no reason to anthropomorphize Manhattan lofts

Silly me: no, the “1,056 sq ft” Manhattan loft #11B at 80 Chambers Street should not be embarrassed because it sold for only 6.3% more last month than it sold for in May 2006, even though the StreetEasy Condo Index says that you ‘get a feel’ for the overall Manhattan residential real estate market by knowing that the Index was up 11% in that period. First, lofts don’t have feelings (only values). More importantly, the October 2013 and May 2006 sales are just two data points that comprise one paired resale set, in a large number of such sets that, in their aggregation, comprise the Index. Plus, this paired resale set is hardly much of an outlier: it trends in the right direction, just not as dramatically as the Index value, just as there are similar paired resale sets that trend ‘too high’ than the Index. Yes, Virginia, the Index is just a single number per month that gives you a feel for how the overall Manhattan market is doing.

modesty is also not a virtue for Tribeca lofts, though it can be for sellers

Given that the recent seller paid $940,000 on  May 1, 2006 (not on StreetEasy, but in our data-base; trust me), asking $995,000 to resell on March 15, 2013 strikes me as a more modest suggestion than many sellers would make. That modesty worked, as the closing price of $999,000 reflects either a bidding skirmish or a purchaser concerned that another would emerge, so she had to offer a Make My Day price.

I will spare you the details, but will note that the listing history is equivocal about when the contract was signed, both in StreetEasy and in our listing system (it was a Corcoran listing). Long story, short: our system shows an offer accepted by May 2, at which point open houses stopped being scheduled and after which the listing officially expired and was revived. (It is a sad world in which I cannot even rely on the Corcoran listing system for complete and accurate information about Corcoran listings.) Having a deal by May 2 makes sense for a sale above ask, even if that deal took some (unknown number of ) days to get into contract, and then didn’t close until October 17.

a small loft with many charms, proportion not among them

Loft #11B is a 1-bedroom loft for people who want a fair amount of space with nice finishes. The loft is outfitted with the appliances and materials with which it was first sold by the developer in 2004, a high-middle range fitting the condo’s status as planned as rentals, updated to condo in a multi-stage development. (The StreetEasy building page has the story: a single office building was converted with three parts and three entrances into an office portion on bottom, planned rentals turned into condos in the middle, and [more] deluxe condos in the top.) But loft #11B was shaped with a (shudder) cookie cutter, so is not a favorite of loft snobs.

The loft is shaped like the front end of a classic Long-and-Narrow Manhattan loft, about 23 feet wide, but only one exposure. (Floor plan, here.) The result is a very decent sized (single) bedroom and a main space that is 40 x 12 feet, not quite a bowling alley but likely to lack the sense of volume the gross square footage might imply. (See listing pic #2 for a lack of volume.) I wonder if it echoes.

The problem with adapting large footprint office buildings to residential use is that there is so much space far from the windows. Hence, three unit lines in the 80 Chambers part of the building are 1-bedrooms with more than 1,000 sq feet (B, C, E other than on the 15th floor) because they have only one exposure. Not very loft-y. (Says loft snob, clutching loft pearls.)

But it is what it is, and there’s a market for that. At $946/ft, most recently.

a curiously strong loft sale in this bottom-right corner of Tribeca, after all

You’d think that if anyone should feel embarrassed in the building, it should be loft #15B, which sold in January for (only) $870,000 in identical condition and layout as #10B. But then you realize lofts don’t have feelings the overall market was up 10% in that period so the adjusted same-month-price (a term I think I just made up) for #15B last month was $957,000, only 4% below #10B. So maybe that’s within the range of market noise. And that sale was the highest for a 1-bedroom loft in the building since #10B sold for $940,000 on September 29, 2008 in a bit of a miracle of good timing. (That contract was signed August 30, just 2 weeks before Samson Lehman pulled the house down.)

And that sale of #10B matched that of #11B in May 2006, oddly enough. Not get too deeply into the weeds, but that May 2006 that set the first leg of the paired sale set for #11B seems, in retrospect, to be too high; meaning, the recent seller paid too much back then. StreetEasy doesn’t have the closed sales data before #10B in September 2008, but our listing system does.

No 1-bedroom loft in the building has yet cracked 7-figures, though there were several sales in the upper $990s in 2007 and 2008. The record on an absolute dollar level is the $999,000 that #11B just sold at, matched twice before. The record on a dollar per foot basis is the $946/ft at which #11B just sold, matched once before at The Peak (the “1,056 sq ft” #11C also sold at $999,000 on January 22, 2008, per our system).

Putting all that together to attempt a graceful exit, the recent sale of #11B at $999,000 looks (a little) low in comparison to its prior value of $940,000 in May 2006. But it is still a building record for a 1-bedroom, matching the record set at The Peak. In retrospect, the #11B seller should not be offended (sellers can react that way) because it is not personal, but she overpaid back in the day. No longer breaking news, but that’s where recent data lead: backwards.

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