a good time to go for pricing records, or are flippin' owners just pushing it?

bullish on sex appeal
There’s a pretty new listing in one of those veddy veddy architecturally significant new Manhattan loft developments that has me scratching my head. Then another one popped up in a less significant but still pretty new new development. Then yet another flip popped up in one of the more successful new loft developments. Followed by a fourth flip, this one in a not so architecturally significant building (though it is spectacularly sited) in a very new new development.

In Manhattan Loft Guy parlance, they are today’s candidates for the too pushy … or not pushy enough?? thread.

one developer was hard pressed
Brand spanking new in the not too distant past, the veddy significant loft was bought (at a discount from the developer’s price) above $1,200/ft. Now that it has been broken in, it is offered for sale at nearly $1,500/ft. It is one of the larger units in the building, and the only things that have sold for more money are one penthouse sold in the original offering (about which I have no information; no size, no outdoor space info, no nothing) and one unit that is 10% larger that traded as a resale at 3% higher than the new asking price.

Granted, one much smaller unit sold in pre-Lehman 2008 above $1,400/ft, but (at least many of) the original sales in the building — though it was much touted in the popular and architectural press — were at pretty significant discounts from the asking prices: in the range of 6% to 7% (one sold at 21% off).

I get it that the new sellers are banking on the sex appeal of this well publicized building (which seems to have attracted some celebrity owners), but …. But indeed. Banking on such ephemeral elements in a harsh market for sellers, in which buyers have access to the past historical value of such ephemera, is a risky proposition these days if the sellers really have to sell. (Remember that thought, about ephemera, as we will use it again soon.)

other developer was on the money
The second developer seems to have gotten the asking prices when this new building sold out a few years ago; indeed, in a couple of instances they seem to have pulled a unit back from the market and later sold above what they had been asking. The building is big enough that they priced by floor, with this particular unit having closed for $25,457 mire than the floor below and $56,003 less than the loft immediately above. (Per foot, this unit sold under $1,050/ft.)

limited + schizo resale history leads to what kind of marketing?
I see exactly two flips in 2007 in this building, one at over $1,400/ft, one around $1,150/ft. The only 2008 flip was around $1,300/ft. Given this history and The (current) Market, where would a prudent seller price a loft to sell? If you are the seller of this loft, you go for it by pricing above $1,250/ft, at a price that you should know does not work: the price is (essentially) pennies above a higher floor identical unit that has had 3 prices in 3 months, the last just below the new price of the new to market loft.

3rd developer did darn well, flipper’s boat is still sailing
The third new development with a recently offered flip sold a significant number of units with "0" days on market — meaning they had a buyer ready to sign a contract (and eventually, to close) before the unit has been released officially for sale. The new flip was no tone of those units; indeed, the developer took a 5% haircut to do the deal, which closed in late 2008. I wonder if the flipping owner (how’s that for an epithet: "that FLIPPIN‘ owner!!!") ever moved in, as it is now for sale. I also wonder if that flippin‘ owner really wants (needs?) to sell. Unless s/he is counting on the cachet of the building, going for a record price is a risky proposition. (The new price is more than 25% higher than the late purchase; insert ephemera remark here.)

4th developer is sitting pretty, flipper hopes to climb
The fourth new development I noticed in January with a recent offer to flip is in a building that has gotten a huge amount of press. This one closed weeks ago under $1,800/ft but is now offered for resale above $2,000/ft. Yikes! (Cue the ephemera….)

As these marketing campaigns develop, they will be very fine grist for the too pushy …? mill. Sex sells, sex appeal sells, successful sales can breed additional (even, more successful) sales. These babies are swimming upstream.


© Sandy Mattingly 2009 



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