modesty (again) rewarded / 5 weeks to contract at 55 Hudson Street

pricing like it’s 2006
The Manhattan loft 55 Hudson Street #3A was marketed modestly: the broker babble is plain about its limitations (“open loft plan”, “perfect home for the person with his/her own design in mind”, “needs a little TLC”, only 1 bath); the ask of $968/ft is closer to 2006 sales than to 2007 sales.

The Manhattan loft 55 Hudson Street #3A was marketed successfully: to market on July 28 at $1.249mm; in contract by September 7; sold November 29 at $1.211mm. It is nice to see modesty rewarded by success.

It certainly looks as though #3A has not changed much over the years and that the same guy lived there for at least 24 years. The floor plan looks to me as though it was bought without interior walls in the original conversion to residential (1981) and since then has had about 30 feet of walls put up (that bedroom and “den”), along with two closets. That’s it. Pretty primitive stuff. (Note how the quickest route to the sole bathroom from the the sole bedroom is through the den.)

What I love about the babble is that no one should have been surprised to see the space after reading the listing description. Potential buyers were warned about everything relevant, even the (implied) lack of light … note this subtle phrasing: “Windows look over Historic Staple Street”. (if you’ve seen “Historic Staple Street”, even in a movie [and you have!], you know that it is more an alley than a street.)

That modest babble about a modest loft generated a contract at only a modest discount from the asking price, in a modest 5 weeks. Sweet stuff.

into the way back (err … WABAC) machine with Mr. Peabody
This building was something of a Manhattan Loft Guy fixation long ago, back when I commented on current listings, and there were three lofts in the same line here for sale at the same time. My February 9, 2007, two Ds down / only one of 55 Hudson’s fraternal triplets remains, was the last of three posts about these competing neighbors over the course of several months. It is interesting to see in the building history on StreetEasy that all three “D” line fraternal triplets closed within 8 weeks and within $50,000 of each other in early 2007.

Note that these three 2007 sales were nearly $300/ft higher than the recent #3A sale, in part due to better condition and better light. When #7A sold later in 2007 it was probably in a similar condition to #3A and it had a very similar floor plan (not available on StreetEasy, but trust me that it has the plumbing in the same places as #3A, a single bedroom, a second [no window] room, a single bath, and the same over-sized laundry room. That sale at $1,092/ft (a 16% premium over #3A) was nearly 3 years to the day before the #3A sale. That is more modesty.

After that #7A sale three years ago, the only sale in the building before this year was when the #7A owners privately bought out their neighbor in #7B for $1.6mm ($1,039/ft) right at The Peak, on February 27, 2008.

not even the quickest deal in the building this year
The next sale in the building after The Peak was in some ways even more modest than the recent #3A sale. The asking price when the #7EF combination hit the market in February was $886/ft, for a “2,200 sq ft” loft that was done: “Innovative, architect-designed moveable walls, pivoting doors and built-in bookshelves” and a custom kitchen with proper proper names. It took only nine days to find a contract at a small discount ($1.9mm, $864/ft).

Considering that #7A sold at $1,092/ft in November 2007 and the “D” triplets sold at or above $1,200/ft earlier in 2007, pricing #7EF at $1.95mm certainly appears to be modest. I don’t mean to argue with success (contract in nine days), but the #7EF sellers might be those rare folks who left money on the table to strike a deal.

Why did they start so low, then negotiate (if only slightly) so quickly? They probably felt they had been burned by The Market already, having tried to sell into the teeth of the nuclear winter by asking $2.25mm for 4 months in the first half of 2009.

That 2009 asking price seems even now to have been modest, at $1,023/ft compared to the light-challenged and more primitive #7A sale towards The Peak and compared to the “D” sales earlier in 2007. In retrospect, they were just in an extremely thin market in those chilly months. They probably could have done better than $1.9mm ($864/ft) had they come back to market in February this year at the old listing price. (My December 21, ground floor loft at 7 Worth St proves how bad 2009 was, is just the latest example of clearing prices that were better in 2010 than in 2009.)

Without digressing too much in this #3A post, the light-challenged and primitive recent (quick!) sale of #3A at $938/ft certainly supports the view that #7EF was sold too cheaply at $864/ft 7 months ago. Sometimes, real estate is a female dog.

© Sandy Mattingly 2010


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