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Playing Lowball – part 2

Earlier in the week I wrote a post that began to express my thoughts on a recent WaPo article that outlined an accepted “lowball” offer at Madrigal Lofts. That posting focused on how I wanted to use MRIS to get recent sales information but instead merely got an education on how scarce MRIS information is for new construction sales.

Shifting to Plan B I’ve elected to use the DC Recorder of Deeds (ROD). This public data source clearly has lag time in play, but I haven’t figured out the rhyme or reason to it. The site has sales as recent as May 27th yet is still missing some sales from earlier months. To use the ROD tool you also either need to know the name of the deed holder or the Square and Lot Number for the land. Madrigal Lofts is Square 0528 Lot 0031. Additionally, for a condo building, you need to translate the sublot number to a condo unit number. I got a good tip from Gus on the sublot to condo unit translation. My condo docs enabled the mapping of unit #s to floorplans. With all this information collected there is enough to conduct a simple yet focused analysis.

Anerio floorplan

I think a useful place to start is by looking at the sales of the same floorplan (Anerio) mentioned in the Washington Post article. I’d personally consider the Anerio more of a Junior 1-Bedroom. It’s the smallest floorplan in the building and hovers somewhere in that 575-650 sqft range (I don’t know the exact figure). Sort of a studio with bedroom walls rather than an enclosure. The unit does not have a balcony and the bedroom does not feature the elevated loft aspect. All things considered a downtown condo with parking for ~$283,000 is a great price. But did the buyer, as the WaPo article reported, really shave $60,000 off the price through a combination of a lowball offer and persistence? While the sales team says all the Anerio units are sold or under contract only four of these units were in the ROD data. The sales prices were registered as $280K, $283K, $295K and $310K. The highest of those sales prices was for the 12th floor which is the penthouse level. The $280K and $295K sale are dated January and February respectively and demonstrate that the sub $300K prices aren’t due to a very recent dramatic price drop or a deal unique to the WaPo buyer.

Allison floorplan

Moving on, let’s look at the prevailing one bedroom floorplan at Madrigal Lofts. For simplicity’s sake I’m going to consider Carlton units as part of the Allison stock since they are simply the mirror images of each other. Thus there are 30 Allison sales in the ROD data affording us an adequate apples-to-apples sample to make some conclusions on.

I saw 3 Allison sales in the $430-$440K range. These might have been from individuals who signed contracts back in 2006. I’m going to throw those 3 out of my analysis because they muddle the data and wouldn’t be useful to current sales trends. The other Allison sales all span the $365-390K except one unit that I believe didn’t get a parking space.

AVG Sales price by month, big font numbers are the # of sales in the given month

Average Sales price has decreased since November. The decreases have been in line with the prices quoted by the sales agents. It’s a tight band that hovers around the low $370s. I don’t see any points in the data that suggest buyers are finessing their way into dramatic 15% price drops on Allison units through negotiations as the WaPo article sensationalizes.

Update: Similar analysis for The Sonata is available at DCHousingPrices.

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