225 Lafayette Street loft sale tells me private seller did a great job in 2012

sometimes the most interesting thing about a Manhattan loft sale is insight about the past

On its own merits, the recent sale of the “1,498 sq ft” Manhattan loft #9C at 225 Lafayette Street just past the edge of Soho into Nolita shows the strength of the current market: it took exactly 30 days to find a contract $56,000 over the ask. But of course you want to know (and I want to know) how this sale figures into the past sales history in this 38-unit 2005 condominium loft conversion of a Cass Gilbert (!) bank building. Alas, the last two sales here (the only sales in more than 3 years in this building) were private affairs, with a small unit selling to the next door neighbor last month at $1,789/ft, and the unit below #9C selling 18 months ago for $2.4mm. What does #9C tell us about the #8C seller’s choice in 2012?

Here’s what we know about the interior of #8C:

Stunning, sun-drenched loft residence in the heart of Soho [oops]. 2 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths, Open Layout, in the recently converted 1924 Beaux Arts former Bank Building, Interiors designed by renowned architectural firm Tsao & McKown, West and Northwest Exposures, Walk-in Custom Closets, …. Stunning design details such as Brazilian Walnut Camaru Plank Floors, Oversized Tilt and Turn Picture Windows, Sub Zero Refrigerator and Freezer, Bosch Gas Cook Top and Oven, Miele Dishwasher, Elkay Stainless Steel Sink with Garbage Disposal, and Brazilian Walnut Camaru Custom Bathroom Vanities.

No disrespect intended, but the owner’s #8C photos are pretty horrible. Reading between the decor and poor lighting, though, the space is the same as the space in #9C.

StreetEasy shows that the #8C started marketing on December 9, 2010, asking $2.45mm, and that it “sold” 3 months later. Given that the deed that was eventually filed reflects a transaction on May 25, 2012, that February 9, 2011 “sold” date is wrong, and probably does not even reflect a contract date (as sometimes happens with StreetEasy’s “sold” dates). There’s a tiny chance that the owner made a deal in February 2011 that did not close for 15 months, but if that is the case the margins were even more in his favor than I thought. More likely, the seller did not sell 2009 into 2010 and was approached by someone renting on the 3rd floor in 2012 and was persuaded to sell at a discount to the last asking price. (Note the notice address for the #8C buyer on the May 2012 deed record.)

Was the #8C seller desperate to sell in 2012, and desperate to ‘save’ a sales fee? Maybe. (After all, he didn’t even restart a FSBO campaign.) But it looks like he made a pretty good deal.

The seller knew that $2.45mm was too high a price for the market to accept from December 2009 into February 2010 (at least the way the seller was marketing on his own). The seller would have known ‘had a feel’ for the market (had he consulted the StreetEasy Manhattan Condo Index) that overall values were up 8% from January 2010 to May 2012, but still would not have known what the actual value was in early 2010 for loft #8C.

We now know that the actual value of the identical loft one flight up is $2,806,000, 17% higher than the #8C private sales price in May 2012. To get a more apt net comparison, we should deduct the 6% sales fee that our system notes the #9C sale involved, to compare #8C at $2.4mm in May 2012 to #9C at about $2.638mm, or a (net) 10% premium. In that time the StreetEasy Index was up from 1,940 in May 2012 to 2,188 as of last month. That’s a 13% gain … a 3% greater gain for the overall market than the #9C seller got over the #8C (after deducting the #9C sales fee).

Nicely played, 2012 owner-seller; nicely played.

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