nothing says

$1.75mm to $1.65mm to $1.499mm in 8 weeks
I am not privy to the internal owner-agent discussions for the 2d floor loft at 36 West 15 Street, of course, but they must have been fascinating.
when is a loft a little like a bowling alley?
This 1,480 sq ft floor-through loft has that classic and limited Manhattan loft layout – long and narrow (in this case, 17 ft 8 inches wide), with windows only on the narrow ends and plumbing stacks limited to one bathroom – so it is set up as a 1 bedroom.
Sara Waisman at PruDE describes it as both “stunning” and “magnificent”, and it may well be. What caught my eye is a price history that I can only describe as “breathtaking”. New to market on December 5 asking $1.75mm, with a price drop to $1.65mm on January 4, followed by another reduction to $1.499mm today.
For those without a calculator handy, that’s $251,000 off in 8 weeks, or 14% less than the original asking price.
giving it a shot
The classic explanation for this kind of trajectory and history is that the owner and agent decided to ‘give it a shot’, with the original intention of recalibrating if the market did not bite. (I don’t know anything about the actual decision-making for this listing, obviously.)
There is more art than science to this approach, which requires the agent to provide a lot of feedback about market interest, or the lack thereof. Sometimes the feedback is simple and eloquent silence: no calls, no visits to open houses. Other times the feedback is a great deal of interest (phone calls and/or open houses visits and/or web hits) but nobody who is interested enough to return a second time, let alone interested enough to bid.
When done right, the owner fully understands that The Market sets the price the loft can be sold at, and the owner has the stomach to adjust quickly.
sometimes, listings are bought by agents
Sometimes the dynamic is a little different: the agent is rather too … errr … bullish about the market, which one might say results in the agent buying the listing at an aggressive price fully expecting it not to sell unless and until the price is dropped significantly. But that approach usually takes more time for the dynamic to play out than this price history indicates.
big closed-sale prices at 36 W 15 St
Past sales in this building should support a healthy price, with adjustments for the low floor and little view of the 2d floor.
The 11th floor closed at $2mm in November, about a week before the 2d floor came to market. That has four exposures (the adjoining buildings are six stories each), with views to the midtown jewels (Empire State, Chrysler, NY Life) and downtown (World Financial Center).
The 9th floor and the 5th floor sold in November 2004 for $1.815mm and $1.610mm, respectively. The 9th floor had the killer views (I saw it when it was being marketed) and four exposures, but the 5th floor probably did not.
Especially with the two year old sale of the 5th floor, one might have expected to do better than $1.6mm for even the 2d floor. But the 2d floor owner is not counting on that, it seems.
curious data + layout variety at 36 W 15 St
The 2d floor is marketed as 1,460 sq ft. All the units in the building are floor-through units, but the 9th floor was described as 2,000 sq ft, while the 11th floor was described as 2,200 sq ft. I have not seen the offering plan, so don’t know if the offering plan has any “official” measurement, but it may be that Ms. Waisman is being (unusually?) conservative in marketing the 2d floor.
The 2d floor layout on the PruDE website shows the dimensions as just under 18 feet wide and the length at about 90 ft. Subtracting the long elevator bank and common stairway probably resulted in the 1,460 sq ft measurement.
In contrast, Property Shark shows the outside building dimensions as 25 ft wide and 103 ft long. Using those measurements can result in a 2,000 sq ft total, so long as one allocates some common space to the individual unit.
But the conundrum of coop measurement is best left for another day….
© Sandy Mattingly 2007
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