you'd have to see 161 Hudson Street loft to hope to know why it sold 53% above 2009, 9% above ask

redesigned, not renovated
You only have to toggle back and forth between the
2013 floor plan and the 2009 floor plan for the “2,314 sq ft” Manhattan loft #2B at 161 Hudson Street a few times before you are confident that the structure of the loft has been little changed in the nearly four years since the folks who bought it for $2.41mm sold it for $3.7mm. (I count one closet added in one bedroom and built-in shelves on the other side of that wall; otherwise, walls and closets are the same, kitchen and baths with same shapes and features.)

This is from the new broker babble:

Design details include exquisite custom mahogany built-ins throughout, stunning walnut floors and open dining room. The chef’s kitchen has been completely customized and features Poggenpohl cabinetry, with SubZero and Miele appliances.
laundry room, central air with heat and Crestron home automation system complete this impeccable home

Back in the day, they put it this way:

Brazilian walnut floors. …a chef’s kitchen with black granite countertops, cherry wood cabinets, a SubZero refrigerator, a Fisher Paykel dishwasher and many more custom details. The 2 large baths are finished with honed marble, double Duravit sinks fitted in maple wood cabinetry and Jado faucets. A separate dining area, w/d, central air with heat and built-in humidifier

The pictures do not permit side-by-side comparisons, as there is no large format available for the 2009 listing and little symmetry. I see new some mahogany built-ins, and take their word for that element being “throughout”; I see new kitchen cabinets and backsplash, and note that what was a Fisher Paykal dishwasher might now be one of the Miele appliances. I have no idea whether the “completely customized” (new) kitchen is otherwise different from the (old) kitchen “with many more custom details”, except that the pictures suggest “no” and I actually have no idea what “completely customized” means in a world that already includes Poggenpohl cabinetry and fancy tile work.

I bet that the 2013 babble omitted mention of the built-in dehumidifier, just as I would guess that the Creston home automation system was present in 2009, but kept a secret (at least, in the babble). There’s no mention of the baths (other than that the master is “beautiful [and] ensuite”, so they probably did not improve on the honed marble, Duravit doubles, and Jado faucets.

In other words, if the loft has been dramatically improved since 2009 (apart from the mahogany built-ins and kitchen changes) you’d have to be in the loft to notice. This dramatic improvement since 2009 can’t be missed: $3.7mm. That’s an
improvement of $557/ft, or 53%.

Neither custom Poggenpohl nor forests of mahogany could cost 7-figures, but that is the difference in market value. Holy. Moley.

The brave 2009 sellers came out before The Thaw was much in evidence in the overall Manhattan residential real estate market, made the adjustments they felt they needed to, and got a deal done when there were not many deals being done:

Mar 13, 2009 new to market $2.7mm
April 1   $2.595mm
April 17   $2.5mm
June 30 sold $2.41mm

Of course, those buyers in 2009 were also brave, buying into a market in which others were frozen to inaction. They were rewarded handsomely for their fortitude (less so, I have to believe, for their Poggenpohl and mahogany), as this time was quick, with hot buyer-on-buyer action:

Jan 18, 2013 new to market $3.395mm
Feb 14 contract  
April 24 sold $3.7mm


Let’s do this one more time: three point seven million dollars over two point four one million dollars equals one million one hundred twenty-nine million dollars, or fifty-three per cent.

Holy. Crap.

just for fun …
The 2009 sellers at $2.41mm were buyers at $1.825mm in November 2004, so they did not make out badly. (That was a premium of 32%.) You can’t find it on the internet, but our listing system has a 2004 floor plan that is identical to the 2009 version, and a listing description that sounds like the 2009 version, without the details (“gourmet” kitchen, central air, “stone finishes”, among them). So the loft has doubled in value in 9 years. And the "Architect’s residence" is little changed since 2004, in any architectural (structural) sense.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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