strong loft resale at Lion's Head is +8% over 2007 resale

hello, old friend
I will note below at least some of my posts about the Lion’s Head Condominium lofts at 121 West 19 Street in Chelsea, which has long been a Manhattan Loft Guy favorite. Manhattan residential real estate fans will remember the lines around the block when the sales office opened here in 2005 (how frothy!) and long-time readers remember my inability to avoid a certain literary (Masterpiece Theatre-ish) reference. The building is still engaging, but I will resist the temptation, just this once.

I last hit the Lion’s Head in my December 23, 2011, Lion’s Head loft resale up a tad since 2006 at 121 West 19 Street, in which the title told that story. Today’s story is even better, for potential sellers there, at least, as the “1,134 sq ft” Manhattan loft #9D at 121 West 19 Street recently sold at $1.41mm and a 8.5% premium to its prior resale in April 2007. That is not to say that the April-2007-buyers-turned-March-2012-sellers made much money (the sales fee would have eaten the [ahem] lion’s share of that ‘gain’ and the custom work they did might take the rest), but the loft was valued $110,000 more in 2012 than in the year preceding The Peak in the overall Manhattan residential real estate market. That’s not nothing.

This sale was pretty quick, with the sellers taking a shot at bigger game but recognizing that The Market was not that enthusiastic:

Oct 7 2011 new to market $1.595mm
Nov 17   $1.495mm
Dec 6 contract  
Mar 12, 2012 sold $1.41mm

custom cabinets will cost ya (perhaps double)
As hinted above, the recent sellers made some improvements in the luxe-for-2005 interior. As the broker babble puts it:

The most outstanding element included in this home is the custom cabinetry in both living and bedroom. The wall unit in the living room is French Walnut with Travertine marble countertop. It offers great storage space and adjustable shelves. The 2 armoires in the bedroom are Holly veneer in a herringbone pattern on the body and side tables, with the front faces in Imbuya.

The babble is (for once) under-stated: the listing photos show that the French Walnut with Travertine marble countertop wall unit is about 20 feet long! Seeing that, I have to believe that these April-2007-buyers-turned-March-2012-sellers netted very little (no?) gain on the sale, between the sales fee and the custom woodwork in the living room and bedroom. (Agents do not generally babble about furniture that  does not stay in the loft, so I assume those armoires are affixed to the wall.)

I have to wonder how potential buyers reacted to this beautiful woodwork. Even people who appreciate the custom work might not want to keep it if they have their own furniture already; and people who do not love the cabinetry will certainly not be enthusiastic about reimbursing sellers for it. Indeed, for some buyers, the fact that beautiful but unwanted woodwork is stuck to walls in both rooms would be a negative, representing an expense for disassembly and removal.

building context
That December 23 post put the then-recent sale of loft #5G in the context of other 2011 Lion’s Head sales and linked to five other Manhattan Loft Guy posts about this building in that same year. (Old friend, indeed.) On a dollar per foot basis, loft #9D at $1,243/ft zooms to the head of the class:

  • #9D $1,243/ft
  • #8D $1,109/ft
  • #4F $1,099/ft
  • #9F $1,081/ft
  • #2C $1,080/ft
  • #5G $1,044/ft
  • #2B $920/ft

I had asterisked that #8D sale to include this note about a prior blog post: “I fit that #8D sale into the 2006 v. 2011 in my June 1, flipped early, Lion’s Head loft later gains only 4.8% since 2006, in which the interesting thing was that the immediate flipper soaked up most of that gain”. With #9D there is a similar pattern: the 2007 buyers sold at ‘only’ an 8.5% premium, but the flipper (in this case, not so immediate, but they tried) took most of the gain:

June 9, 2006 sponsor sale $1,103,158
Sept 26 new to market $1.35mm
April 20, 2007 resold $1.3mm

That was a sponsor-to-flip gain of 18%, compared to a sponsor to 2012 gain of 39%. I computed sponsor-to-2011 gains in that December 23 post, finding a range of 57% to 6%, with intermediate values of 49% and 26%.

The other 2011 Manhattan Loft Guy posts hitting sales at 121 West 19 Street linked in that December 23 post were:

But, trust me, there are many other Lion’s Head posts tagged here, though I may have not tagged some very early posts. See you soon, pal.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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