67 East 11 Street loft sale and the utility of old media

when “news” isn’t new, to whom is it worthwhile?
The January 11 sale of the Manhattan loft #704 at 67 East 11 Street (Cast Iron Building) is featured in today’s Residential Sales Around The Region feature in the the New York Times real estate section. It did not take a ridiculously long time to be recorded (February 19, in this case), so how is a January 11 sale “news” on April 3? Or, perhaps, to whom is it news on April 3?

There is nothing especially interesting about this sale, nothing that ordinarily would have gotten my attention. The sale was duly recorded on the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008, probably within a week or so of the deed being filed in February, so any Manhattan Loft Guy fans who are also fans of the Cast Iron Building, or of small lofts, would have noted it at the time. Here we are, 6 weeks after filing the deed, and the Times deems it ‘news’.

I understand how this works; I assume that the Times does not comb the deed filings, but that it waits for something to bring a particular filing to its attention, and that the ‘something’ is often the Public Relations operations of the major real estate brokerages. This approach has the benefit of being cheap inexpensive content for the newspaper. And it fills the spot, for readers interested in seeing something about some sale that they may find interesting: in their neighborhood, perhaps. Perhaps the typical lay reader has no idea of when this sale occurred, or cares.

I suppose that the Times realizes they have already lost any reader who really follows the market because (unlike even 3 years ago, when most real estate fans still had few options other than the Times) lots of people follow StreetEasy systematically. Back in the day, very interested readers had nowhere else to go; now they can go to StreetEasy (the listing was saved by 42 people on StreetEasy), or even to Manhattan Loft Guy.

a tidbit, nonetheless
As long as we are here, this sale is interesting as an indication that The Market is not (yet?) very deep. This mini-loft came to market on March 26, 2010 at $775,000 and took until October 20 to get into a contract that would stick at only a 10% discount from the original ask. In other words, it did not fly off the shelf, but it sold at a reasonable discount, taking a relatively long time to do so.

On this weekend after the major firm quarterly market reports for Manhattan residential real estate sales came out, that is an interestingaside , but one that you would never get looking at the spare data reported in the Times.

I wonder if they will give up using valuable space in the Sunday real estate section for this feature, or if the space is not so valuable and this filler-with-photos is there to bulk up a section that is still designed to support advertising.

© Sandy Mattingly 2011

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply