the deed is done at 135 Watts, finally / following a falling market

little corner of Tribeca as microcosm
I have found the single Manhattan loft that (so far) best illustrates the change in The Market over the last year — with a gloss of unique-lofts-are-hard-to-value. The cold perspective of time is quite the teacher.

No question (in retrospect) that this seller started too high. Although she* adjusted extremely often, the structural deficit of her too-high-start was a huge handicap. Given what we now know has gone on in 2008, the price history simply screams out Following A Falling Market. There’s no way to know what would have happened had she gotten out in front of The Market, of course, but one can reasonably guess she’d have gotten more dollars in fewer months.

Enough pontificating … on to the facts (but because this is Manhattan Loft Guy, we start with the back-story) ….

measuring pain in months + dollars
I restored yesterday to MLG one of the first posts I had to take down back in April (end of an era for Manhattan Loft Guy / a new day dawns? from April 9), as the Manhattan loft I hit in that post has just had a deed filed completing the sale (so there is no active listing from another firm extant). What a long painful trip that sale of #2A at 135 Watts Street was.

The closing price is not yet available on-line, but check out this listing history, then consider how pain can be measured in months and dollars (I have actually smoothed out some of the bumps [price increases reversed in a matter of days], as likely errors):


new to market Dec 4, 2007 $3.695mm
price drop January 9 $3.595mm
price drop February 19 $3.395mm
price drop March 11 $3.295mm
price drop March 26 $3.195mm
contract March 28  
back on market +    
price drop April 7 $3.05mm
price drop April 7  
price drop June 4 $2.895mm
price drop August 15 $2.795mm
price drop September 8 $2.695mm
price drop September 19 $2.595mm
contract October 18  
closing! December 9?  


That’s 12 months, 9 price drops (totalling $1.1mm, nearly 30%), and 2 contracts. And we don’t (yet) know how far the clearing price discounts from the last asking price.

exemplification of The (evolving) Market?
Putting aside for the moment the (interesting) question of whether the seller would have done better with a larger price drop somewhere along the way (this does look like death-by-small-price-cuts doesn’t it?), in retrospect this loft sale history may exemplify the changing market as well as any that I have seen. The "2,700 sq ft" loft is in a beautiful and architecturally significant building (the StreetEasy listing page has some of the text, the floor plan, and pix, but not all of the listing history, here). It is in a (formerly?) quiet corner of northwest Tribeca, a micro-nabe that has had more than its share of new condo development lately.

hard to comp
I see no sales in the building that could have been used as direct comps to price this loft a year ago, with high priced new neighbors coming in to several new condos nearby (Zinc,Tribeca Summit, 497 Greenwich Street [across the border into Soho] [update: and Washington Street neighbors such as River Lofts at #424, Pearline Soap at #414] among them). In retrospect, the top of the market was not very old when this loft came to market a year ago, with aggressive price drops (at least in terms of frequency) from the original ask of $3.695mm December 4, 2007 until a contract was signed (so they report) off of $3.195mm (I wonder what that number was).

tumbling from the top
When that contract failed (quickly), the new price on April 7 was $3.05mm, and the seller embarked on another similarly aggressive series of price drops to attract a contract that would stick, dropping by six figures in June, August and (twice) September.

My own inclination about this loft and The Market was wrong, as we see from that April 7 post (in retrospect of course!):

I don’t see any prior sales in the building, so ti it is hard to say that the price history (18% off the original asking price) is indicative more of the difficulty in pricing some lofts or of a weaker market. I am inclined to favor the former, as this corner of Tribeca is not the cup of tea for all….


*I know this seller and this agent, so I know that she is a ‘she’ and I will drop my usual convention of simply referring to ‘the sellers’ or ‘they’, or ‘s/he’.

© Sandy Mattingly 2008  

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