THE TRUMP EFFECT
By Ali Ebrahimi
Whether you’re on the Trump train or in the Clinton camp, it’s undeniable that this groundbreaking Presidential campaign is having a direct impact on Trump’s brand and real estate holdings – as a real estate agent, its impact on luxury condos and buildings in New York City that bear his name is of particular interest to me.
Regardless of your opinion of Donald Trump, the fact is, his properties in NYC have seen a drop-off in sales. Could the current campaign be the culprit, or is a general shift in the luxury market responsible for the decline? It will certainly be interesting to see whether Trump’s real estate brand will prove to be resilient after this very heated political season ends.
Here’s a look at the actual numbers since the start of his campaign. Last year at Trump Park Avenue, originally a hotel which was converted to condos in 2002, 10 apartments sold, and eight were delisted. In 2016, six apartments sold and 18 were delisted. Seeing a trend?
Trump’s Upper West Side buildings along Riverside Boulevard and Trump International Hotel condominium at Columbus Circle also had fewer sales this year, with…you got it, more properties delisted. At Trump Soho, a hotel condominium development, properties have been sitting on the market for some time and prices have been slashed. But we may be jumping the gun here; at Trump Soho and Trump International, the issue may not be the election alone. Many major banks simply prefer not to lend in hotel/condo buildings.
Residents at three Riverside Boulevard buildings, which are primary rentals, decided to take things into their own hands – attempting to remove the Trump name from EVERYTHING, from the properties themselves down to the lobby mats and staff uniforms. It was a no-go as far as removing Trump’s name from the buildings, as the petition did not meet the two-third majority vote required; but they did manage to remove the name from the mats and uniforms!
As for me personally, I’ve had international buyers tell me specifically that they do not want to purchase Trump properties; not because of their political view of Trump and his campaign, but due to their concern about investment value, price drops, and low demand for these properties post-election.
Is the election bringing attention to the Trump brand? Yes. Is it increasing the good will toward his brand? No. It’s having the reverse effect.
So the question now is, should buyers and sellers of Trump properties really be concerned? When this bitterly divisive presidential race is over, there is no doubt many investors and entrepreneurs will have second thoughts about the Trump brand; but history has shown that consumer perceptions can be drastically changeable over time, and Trump always seems to endure.
Many New York City real estate brokers and owners of Trump properties feel strongly that demand and value will improve for the real estate mogul (or dare I say President????) in the coming year after the election. This could be the reason why so many Trump apartments have been delisted – to relist at a later time and sell at higher prices.
One owner of a $35 million apartment at Trump Park Avenue took his property off the market last December after not being able to find a buyer. That owner was the Donald himself. Maybe he too is waiting for the dust to settle.