Top Floor Unit at 1521 Sells for 27% Off 2009 Price

A foggy portrait of 1521 2nd Ave by The TimThe crazy-luxury condo building at 1521 2nd Avenue—where the starting price is $1 million—is described on their website as follows:

It is the West Coast’s most successful condominium high-rise community with established market values.

In light of the “established market values” comment, I find it interesting to note (hat tip to WestSideBilly) that Unit 3802, the second-largest unit on the 38th floor (the tower’s top level), sold on Friday for $3.6 million.

That would be an “established market value” 27% below where it sold just three years ago in May 2009, for just shy of a cool $5.0 million.

The previous buyer only financed $2.5 million at purchase, followed by another $500k loan a few months later, so that entire $1.4 million loss is on them.

  • $1,362,820 loss on the sale
  • $386,778 in interest payments
  • $180,000 agent fees (assuming 2.5% commission)
  • $92,831 in property taxes
  • $60,660 in HOA dues
  • Total Cost for 3 years: $2,083,089

$57,864 a month has got to be the most expensive rental in town, hands down.

[Update: Oops, I originally forgot to include the interest payments on the $3 million in loans. We’ll assume that they were short term ARMs with rates 1.1 points below the 30-year average. I have now added the total interest payments to the above accounting.]

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.


  1. 1
    toad37 says:

    Wow, that is insane.

  2. 2
    Feedback says:

    That’s a lot of money to lose, Tim! I hope you land on your own two feet.

  3. 3
    ; says:

    the bulls tell me 2009 was the absolute bottom.

    i must then surmise these losses are made-up, tom foolery perpetrated by the bears.

  4. 4
    Macro Investor says:

    Over $5000 per month just for the taxes and HOA. This may be even more nuts than Mike D, the guy who’s way too proud of the bathroom fixtures in his remodel.

  5. 5
    WannaBuy2012 says:

    I suddenly feel better about paying $5,300 for those new granite counter tops in 2010. Thanks.

  6. 6
    Ray pepper says:

    But as millionaire Mike would say…. It doesn’t matter I’m not going to sell.

    Millionaire Mike is far worse off because he had to do all the organizational labor and countless hours of diligent documentation only to be upside down easily more then 1 mill.

    Btw…. Wonder if his condo ever sold? Let me guess….NOT

  7. 7
    Scotsman says:

    Well, you know what they say about guys who buy $5M condos and drive fancy cars, etc- they do it because they can. We can’t. While we ooh and aah this buyer has probably already forgotten about it and is on to the next adventure. At least he got out while he could.

  8. 8
    David Losh says:

    This sale happened at a time when more inventory of new condos were coming on the market.

    The owner could have held out, but was bleeding $40K per month, judging by this sale. There are other places to live for that kind of money, maybe nicer.

  9. 9
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 4

    The interest alone is a whopping $12k a month ($3.6m@4%). If you include insurance and other maintenance costs, the monthly cost for the new owner is about $20k. There is still room for the price to drop!

  10. 10
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray pepper @ 6

    You’re right, Mr. Big Spender, let’s insult everybody, just couldn’t let that prime piece of property go for a few thousand less than he paid for it.

    What a maroon.

  11. 11

    RE: Eastsider @ 9 – I don’t know yet what the buyer financed, but it’s unlikely they financed anywhere near that amount.

    I’ll also note this sale wasn’t a short sale, so the seller didn’t either.

  12. 12
    wreckingbull says:

    Did anyone look at the testimonials page?

    If Almost Live were still on the air today, they would have some rich material there.

  13. 13

    RE: wreckingbull @ 12 – That’s sort of creepy.

  14. 14
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 11 – It does not matter if the buyer gets financing. The cost of money is there in every case.

  15. 15

    RE: Eastsider @ 14 – Usually there’s the rental value of the property which counters the lost investment income. I’m not really familiar with the rental value of $3M+ condos, but I sort of doubt that rental value is that great. So in this instance, you’re probably right!

  16. 16
    Blurtman says:

    What, no principal reduction? Someone contact Rob McKenna; I hear the sham Wall Street fraud mortgage settlement will be his flagship achievement, or perhaps, his Waterloo.

  17. 17
    Dave0 says:

    RE: ; @ 3 – 2009 was the bottom in stock market prices, which is highly based on investor’s outlook on the future. Thus, it is fair to conclude that 2009 was the peak of the “world is coming to an end” mentality that happens during recessions. People have generally become more optimistic about the economy since then. I don’t think anybody has tried to argue that 2009 was the bottom of the real estate market. That is a totally different metric.

  18. 18
    The Tim says:

    By Dave0 @ 17:

    I don’t think anybody has tried to argue that 2009 was the bottom of the real estate market.

    At least one person did. February 2009: “We’re at bottom

  19. 19
    Dave0 says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 15 – The income potential of a condo like this in my opinion would be short-term lodging for corporate executives in town for a few months or less. Something more private than a hotel…

  20. 20

    RE: Dave0 @ 19 – Possibly (probably) not allowed by the condo declaration.

  21. 21
    hoary says:

    A quick records search shows the seller is the COO of the 2nd largest money-manager in the state. Yep, he’s taking a bath, but I imagine filet mignon will still be on the menu most nights…

  22. 22
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 15 – This condo can never make sense for a rental investment. In any case, 4% is a conservative number. I don’t think any bank will lend that amount of money with that kind of risk at 4% interest rate. If I were the bank, I would demand 50% LTV and an interest rate of 7%.

  23. 23

    By Eastsider @ 22:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 15 – This condo can never make sense for a rental investment. .

    That’s what I tried to say in post 15.

  24. 24

    […] Seattle Bubble’s eagle eyes spotted this monster loss on a re-sale at 1521, Top Floor Unit at 1521 Sells for 27% Off 2009 Price. […]

  25. 25

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