why did The Market put the hate on 2nd floor loft at 69 Murray Street?

$824/ft = hate
The mis-placed ‘master bedroom’ cannot be the only reason that The Market treated the Manhattan loft #2 at 69 Murray Street so shabbily; after all, that should just be a small demo job to fix. But there must be some reason that a “quiet” “1,850 sq ft” loft with “approximately 11” foot ceilings and “nearly floor-to-ceiling … windows … providing beautiful daylight”, 3 bedrooms, a “gourmet open kitchen”, and a “custom Aardvark hallway bookshelf system” came to market at only $1,000/ft and left it at $824/ft.

This history says “hate” to me:

Mar 23 new to market $1.85mm
July 5   $1.795mm
Sept 13   $1.7mm
Oct 21 contract  
Dec 8 sold $1.525mm

adjusting for a Peak comp, but not (really) for an older one
This market response is especially hateful in comparison to how The Market reacted to the 8th floor approaching The Peak:

Sept 4, 2007 new to market $2.35mm
Nov 16 contract  
Jan 31, 2008 sold $2.275mm

The 8th floor is babbled as being in similar condition to the 2nd, though without the “gourmet” claim about the kitchen or the Aardvark, and with much better light from 7 windows on the long east side at this height.

To be conservative, take 10% off of Peak pricing for the current market and another $150,000 off the 8th floor for having better light and views, and you are left with an adjusted value for the 8th floor as a current comp of $1.9mm — a full 25% higher than the 2nd floor sale. Take another $100,000 off for the view and light, and you are still at an unexplained 18% premium for the 8th floor over the 2nd floor.

Here is one other data point, lacking detail: the 7th floor was beloved by The Market way back 6 years ago, clearing for $1.875mm on July 13, 2005. That looks like it would also have eastern windows, so would require an adjustment for light and views, but the 2005 market should have yielded lower values than the current market. Yet the 7th floor sold six years ago nearly a quarter higher than the 2nd floor this month.

floor plan has its quirks, but not enough…
As I mentioned up top, the “master” bedroom is in a weird place on the 2nd floor — up front in the sunny end of the loft, and a long walk in PJs past the foyer to get to the nearer bathroom. Presumably, it is where it is because the sellers really needed 3 bedrooms plus and an office / den (with no windows). A significant part of the buyer pool for a Tribeca loft of this size would make a full-width living room and make do with 2 bedrooms in back and that other (dark) room.

But that is hardly a six-figure deficit.

I wonder if the rest of the loft, beyond the camera’s reach and the babble’s description, might be a bit more primitive than the “gourmet” kitchen. Mostly, I wonder because of the market’s value, but I also wonder about a floor plan that has a sink in a den / office. Was that room previously a hard work space, like a darkroom or studio? It is not very large, but I cannot conceive of a purely residential reason for having a sink in a room like that, especially with a bathroom on the other side of that wall. That suggests that the sink was there a long time ago, and that the rear of the loft may be in a different state than the front.

But I am grasping here, trying to reason backwards from the fact that this not-prime Tribeca loft sold for $824/ft when other (high floor and airy) lofts in the building have sold for a good deal more.

other lofts in the $800s seem much more challenged
At $824/ft with a reasonable maintenance, the 2nd floor loft at 69 Murray Street was treated on a par with the challenging payout of the “1,910 sq ft” loft in not-prime “Chelsea” that I hit in my December 10, funny business, as 22 West 26 Street loft sells at 17% discount to first ask, which eventually and recently cleared at $832/ft.

The low-floor “2,700 sq ft” #2F at 16 Crosby Street cleared at $880/ft as recounted in my December 1, primitive loft at 16 Crosby Street sells above ask under $900/ft, but that non-prime Soho loft is not an easy or comfortable comp for 69 Murray Street because that condition was clearly primitive (if you read between the lines as I do) but had ridiculously low maintenance.

This 69 Murray Street sale is as hard to fit into prior sales in the building as the “2,554 sq ft” also not-prime Tribeca loft at 270 Broadway that I hit in my November 1, 270 Broadway loft sellers prove to be quite flexible, after it cleared at (only) $809/ft.

I had to go all the way back to mid-August to find as many as ten downtown Manhattan lofts on the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 that closed as much as 10% lower than the 2nd floor at 69 Murray Street on a $/ft basis. Though not all of the 160+ lofts on that spreadsheet have $/ft values, it is fair to say that this sale is at an uncommonly low price.

I mean, even the very challenging “1,644 sq ft” mezzanined loft that I hit in my October 25, under $900/ft for a loft at the other (first) Ice House, 354 Broome Street, and the “1,800 sq ft” non-prime Flatiron loft I hit in my November 18, high floor low ceiling loft at 25 West 15 Street closes on 2nd contract, 2nd price, cleared near (or above) 10% higher than 69 Murray Street #2.

I wish I knew why.

[UPDATE Dec 31: over on The Twitter, JammySod @JammyPup thinks it may be because of noise issues from the "v noisy bar" next door, but I am not sure that accounts for the in-building differential, especially with the BRs in back; @TribecaCitizen adds simply "tough block" ].

© Sandy Mattingly 2011


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