raise the price to get the price, as Lion's Head loft sells after oddly successful campaign

up 7.5% since 2007
This is one of those days on which I see Manhattan Loft Guy as a collector of curios, a collection of just one damn Bright Shiny Object after another. Today’s BSO is the “1,990 sq ft” Manhattan loft #2C at 121 West 19 Street (Manhattan Loft Guy fave, the Lion’s Head), which sold on July 14 at $2.15mm. What makes this object bright is not that it had previously sold for (only) $2mm on February 13, 2007 (although it did), nor even that it sold at the full asking price (although it did), earning a Yellow box on the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008. (See the bonus loft discussion below, of another loft that sold the same day, at the same price, also at the ask.) 

Nope, this loft is such a bright object because it did not sell from November 2, 2010 to February 2 when offered at $2mm.

Look at that again, in reverse: it did not sell for 90 days straddling New Year’s 2011 when offered at $2mm but sold at an asking price of $2.15mm 6 weeks ago. Voila! A Bright Shiny Object is observed!

Details, for the anal among you (you know who you are):

Feb 13, 2007 sold $2mm
Nov 2, 2010 new to market $2mm
Feb 2, 2011   $2.15mm
May 27* contract  
July 14 sold $2.15mm

(* Contract date is from our data-base; StreetEasy has an obviously incorrect July 12)

Conventional Wisdom takes another hit
The Conventional Wisdom is, of course, that a listing that does not sell in a few months is mis-priced. (90 days is generally thought to be enough time to test a price.) In the case of this Manhattan loft, however, The Fifth Dentist (see the footnote on the bottom of this April 21 post to see the derivation and my usage of this famous dentist) saw that the correct seller response to 90 days of not selling at $2mm was to (a) raise the asking price 7.5% and (b) wait another 115 days for a contract.

That is one smart dentist, no?

nice finishes, circa 2005, with 2011 snark
Wading through the distracting broker babble (full of extra words) (and full of parentheticals) (I happen to love parentheticals in a blog post but in a listing description they can be over-used) (a lot), the bottom line on this “convertible 3 bedroom home in mint condition” is that it is a 2-bedroom+office that (a) has the original finishes as sold by the developer in 2006, and (b) can never be a 3 “bedroom” without stealing a window or two from the living room (and why would anyone want to do that?).

(Hmmm … you can’t see the floor plan, because there is none on StreetEasy that survives. Why would you do that??)

The floor plan is in our data-base, which shows what the 2007 flipped sale listing description says (“2 bedroom, 2 marble bathroom plus large home office/guest room”). The floor plan also makes plain what is implied by the pix: that this “corner unit” has only one exposure (which is, in fact, south, across 19th Street). The babble forces me to ask this question: what is there about a “corner unit” and a hallway (“apartment is a corner unit and hence entered via a gallery-like hallway leading to a dramatic great room”)? I have seen many a loft that is a corner unit (with two exposures even!) that have no gallery-like hallway at the entry. (But I quibble!)

(One more quibble, then I will try to avoid parentheticals for the duration.) To keep on the snark channel for a moment, I have never before seen someone take pains to point out this highlighted feature, “generous lighted closets throughout the residence”, not when there are nice details and proper proper names also bandied about. Given that it is also specified that there is  “a separate deeded lighted 70 square foot storage unit”, I probably should be thankful not see the Lion’s Head described as “one of the best run and most [well lighted and] well maintained properties in Chelsea”. Thankful, I am.

sometimes flippers have (nearly) all the fun
The 2007-buyers-turned-2011-sellers did make a 7.5% profit, but look what their sellers made after buying from the sponsor:

June 12, 2006 sponsor sale $1,369,546
Oct 26 new to market $2,199,000
Dec 27 contract  
Feb 13, 2007 sold $2,000,000

I know I have seen this pattern before, but I can’t put my finger (keyboard) on it right now: a second seller who held for a long time and made a little gain, compared to the gain the person from whom that recent (second) seller generated by holding for a short time. (Note to self: when I stumble across the prior post that is in my memory but not at hand, update this post.)

bonus loft is a neighborhood comp
As promised (in an early parenthetical; sorry ;-), there was another loft that also sold on July 14 at $2.15mm (like #2C at the Lion’s Head), that is just under 2,000 sq ft (like #2C at the Lion’s Head), that was a full-ask deal (like #2C at the Lion’s Head). That bonus Manhattan loft is in a very different kind of condo than the Lion’s Head and in a very different neighborhood than prime Chelsea.

That other Manhattan loft that also earned a Yellow box on the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 is the 4th floor at 58 Walker Street. The 4th floor is essentially the same size as #2C at the Lion’s Head (“1,927 sq ft” vs. “1,990 sq ft”) but is much more of a classic loft, a Long-and-Narrow with windows only front and back and 12 foot ceilings, and is in a classic no-frills, no-amenities small Tribeca condo. #2C, of course, has only the one exposure, and has a floor plan that is to cookie cutter what the Long-and-Narrow footprint is to classic lofts. I can’t find the ceiling height for the second floor lofts at the Lion’s Head, but they don’t look higher than 10 feet in the pics.

I read the respective babble as presenting essentially similar level of finishes, even though 58 Walker Street was converted in 2003, the Lion’s Head in 2005. Interesting that The Market valued these two lofts at an identical price, in my opinion trading the ‘better’ neighborhood of Tribeca (even far northeast Tribeca) for prime Chelsea for the amenities of the Lion’s Head (doorman, live-in super, 5,000 sq ft landscaped roof deck). Different properties, same price.

On that note, I need a holiday Friday beer. Enjoy the long weekend, faithful readers!

© Sandy Mattingly 2011


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