the puzzle of pop-up contracts, signed long after Off The Market at 144 West 27 Street and 24 East 21 Street lofts

odd sequence
What is missing from these sequences?

144 West 27 Street #9R:

June 26, 2009 new $2.2mm
Sept 17    $2.295mm
Nov 10 off  
May 20, 2010 contract  
July 22 sold $2,428,700

24 East 21 Street #5 (Infinity Flats):

Feb 12, 2008 new $5.5mm
May 6   $5.125mm
Sept 2   $4.85mm
Sept 4
Jan 27, 2009   $4.5mm
May 14 off  
April 13, 2010 contract  
July 29 sold $3.975mm

Hint: “back on the market”.

In both cases, these lofts had been marketed, then taken off the market (when exclusive listing agreements expired?), then revived as an active listing already in contract. (In both cases, the information on StreetEasy corresponds to the inter-firm data-base, so this is not a situation in which StreetEasy failed to scrape some data.) Two data points do not make a trend, but these situations are off enough that they caught my eye (it helped that they closed a week apart). They remind me of something I should keep in mind, especially when working with realistic buyers with very specific criteria about the Manhattan loft they want.

what is going on?
I have actually have noted about a half dozen recent Manhattan loft sales in which there is little or no listing history; some are “no listing associated with this transaction on StreetEasy”; others have something like this bifurcated history as with #9F at 144 West 27 Street and #5 at 24 East 21 Street. These are the only two that I could conclusively establish as sales involving the same listing agent as when the loft had been taken off the market; the others
may be successful For Sale By Owner transactions.

in one of these cases I have confirmed that a buyer re-emerged during the “off the market” period and the seller negotiated through the ‘former’ agent; in the other case I assume this is what happened. In one case, the seller was firm enough to achieve a 6% premium over the last asking price; in the other case, the seller took a further 12% discount off the last asking price, which itself had been a discount of 18% off the original (nearly year old) ask. In one case, the contract was signed 6 months after the loft had been taken off the market; in the other case, the gap was 11 months.

a silent market
These two Manhattan loft transactions caught my eye precisely because they are unusual; I don’t mean to suggest that this phenomenon is common. Not that it could ever be tracked, but it is nothing like the so-called ‘shadow inventory’ of new development condos that have not yet been released for sale.

note to self, when working with buyers
These two odd transactions remind that when working with so-far-unrequited Manhattan loft buyers with very specific criteria, I should include in a search Off The Market lofts. You never know if they might really be available, without asking.

© Sandy Mattingly 2010

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