The Market has its way with “above ask” Tribeca Space loft sale, as is its wont

who was responsible for pricing strategy of loft at 25 Murray Street?

Uncharacteristically, let me cut to the chase: yes, the “1,395 sq ft” Manhattan loft #4K at 25 Murray Street (Tribeca Space) earned the coveted green cell background on my Master List of downtown Manhattan loft sales between $500,000 and $5,000,000 because its sale price ($2mm) exceeded its asking price ($1.898mm). D’oh. (So far.) But here’s the punchline: it took 397 days, three brokerage firms, and three prices to get that ‘premium’ price. You never know how these pricing decisions are made (unless you are one of the decision makers or advisors), but someone was much too enthusiastic about this loft, repeatedly. Until they weren’t, at which point The Market corrected a too-low asking price, as it will do when the buyer pool is deep enough for such things.

This long history has a deceptively short table (with some short breaks omitted):

Aug 12, 2013 new to market $2.345mm
Feb 19 change firms
May 23 $2.145mm
July 7 hiatus
Aug 16 change firms $1.898mm
Sept 13 contract
Oct 22 sold $2mm

If I had to guess (I don’t, but I enjoy the exercise), I’d blame the seller rather than either of the first two firms. Agent #2 was (apparently) unable to persuade the seller that six months was not long enough to prove that The Market did not want the loft at $2.345mm. Nine months was sufficient to make that so-seemingly-obvious point, but then look what happened: six weeks at $2.145mm turned out not to be long enough to generate a buyer at $2mm, but four weeks below that did the trick.

Representing loft sellers in Manhattan can be a cruel business. That second firm got the loft to what might well have been the right price (assuming the seller was negotiable to a reasonable degree) but they couldn’t close the deal. Only when The Market thought that loft #4K was a bargain did enough potential buyers emerge to drive the clearing price back up to within 7% of the May 23 – July 7 asking price. The seller had better be happy with that; the last agents are quite happy; the second agents are … frustrated. But it’s business, so they move on….

this kind of thing comes from loving a Manhattan loft not wisely, but too well

The Market had some trouble with this 2006 new development back in the day and it has never been a favorite of mine. The size and footprint of loft #4K give some indication why. First, the ceilings are not very high and the windows not very large.

not very loft-y, is it? (Elliman pics here)

that dropped kitchen ceiling almost makes you duck your head, doesn’t it?

There’s no particular charm or character evident in the listing photos or the broker babble, and none in the real life experience of this loft. What you get is a level of finishes that were standard for new development condo conversions of its day (2006), a set of amenities to match (concierge, gym, sauna, billiards [!]), and the opportunity to break the loft up further, efficiently if not (to use a horrid term from The Broker babble Bible) ‘expansively’.

The recent seller traded open space for a third sleeping area:

the (new) nursery can’t be a legal “bedroom” for two reasons: no window + too narrow

(The original listing shows that the original floor plan did not have that nursery, and featured a different configuration for the closet [love the locution “small Office / Large WIC”, even if it is awkward].)

That thing called a “converted bedroom” can’t be a “bedroom”, of course: no window. But it is likely that many owners in this line use this place as the ‘master’, given the en suite bath, even if the dimensions are modest. Those not-so-masterful dimensions at the back of the loft are barely exceeded by the one true (and original) bedroom in the space. Note that putting that bedroom in that corner ‘steals’ half the windows from what would otherwise be a large open space. Oh well.

Haters gonna hate on this footprint (Manhattan Loft Guy, guilty as charged), but the benefits here are three sleeping areas in a loft that is only “1,395 sq ft”. However awkward, cramped, or dark these rooms may be, three bedrooms sleeping areas around $2mm in Tribeca is nothing to sneeze at.

asking for a building record, and nearly getting it

The StreetEasy building page (Activity Tab, of course) gives you an idea of quite how audacious the early asking prices were. At the time the #4K asking price was dropped to $2.145mm ($1,538/ft), no higher price had been paid in the building for a loft without huge outdoor space (on a dollar-per-foot basis). The neighboring “1,842 sq ft” loft #4E was then asking (only) $1,409/ft; that much more felicitous floor plan got  a contract at $1,452/ft (above ask!), which may well have been the data point that (finally) drove home to the #4K seller that her ask was beyond what The Market would bear.

Loft #4E has a classic Long-and-Narrow footprint, with no cut-away for a common stairwell because it is part of a huge building footprint instead of a full-floor or half-floor floor-through loft.

real bedrooms! grand proportions! (Elliman, again)

This may be the best floor plan in the building, optimized with two bedrooms in back, just like a classic loft, and wide enough to be (truly) ‘spacious’. It’s no wonder it got a building record, in the no-outdoor-space dollar-per-foot category.

As noted, coincidence or not, the #4E contract preceded the last #4K price drop by two months (the #4E closing preceded that #4K price drop by three short days, so maybe that was what the hiatus and change in firms was about). That last ask was (only) $1,390/ft, which still looks like a building record, other than #4E and lofts with outdoor space. We know that the #4K buyer pool woke up with that ask, very likely primed by the #4E sale, driving the price up the clearing price of $1,434/ft, well within spitting distance of #4E at $1,452/ft.

This pair shows the limits of the dollar-per-foot comparative metric. Two lofts in the same building that The Market valued within about 1% of each other on a dollar-per-foot basis, that (to my eye) present floor plans of very different quality. In this case, I wonder if this (to me, illogical if not irrational) small gap is due to the recent #4K seller having squeezed that ‘nursery’ into the otherwise open space of the (now, to my eye) cramped footprint. For the Tribeca buyer pool that really really really needed three sleeping areas, loft #4K could have been seen as a value play, so long as the space compromises were palatable. For at least two buyers, that compromise was apparently palatable, with at least one such buyer provoking another such buyer to $1,434/ft.

It’s a funny business, inn’t?

a marvelous main listing photo that can’t be matched onto the floor plan (bummer, that)

I can’t remember the rules, but I think agents get to sequence the photos as they appear on StreetEasy. In the case of loft #4K the photos are in a different order on the Elliman and StreetEasy, with this very inviting photo leading the presentation on StreetEasy:

this is NOT a photo of a very spacious loft, though there are wonderful classic elements

Rube that I sometimes am, this photo caught me short when I first considered the #4K sale. Wow, I thought, I didn’t think Triebca Space had lofts as nice as this photo. Do’h, it doesn’t. Obviously, if you take a second to reconsider, or if you try to find this room (with that far wall of glass) on the #4K floor plan, you realize this is the lobby. Damn. This is one beautiful loft lobby. (Note To Self … find other Manhattan residential loft buildings that have nicer lobbies than lofts, in contrast to the very many buildings with pedestrian [or gritty] lobbies and lovely spaces upstairs.)

It’s a funny business, inn’t?

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2 comments on “The Market has its way with “above ask” Tribeca Space loft sale, as is its wont
  1. lowphat says:

    Noticed 4B just went up yesterday… asking $3.2, roughly $1800 sq ft. Thoughts?

    • Sandy Mattingly says:

      Sorry for the delayed reply, but you might have noticed that the blog was off-line most of yesterday. (THAT was distracting!) Long-time readers will know that I don’t comment on active listings, and why (that was so 2006 – 2007). I suspect you can guess my general thoughts, but I will send you a private email, LowPhat. Thanks for stopping by.

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