President-elect Donald Trump may be moving into the First Residence in January, but when it comes to his luxury condos, buyers in New York aren’t as enthused to move into homes with the Trump name on them as they used to be.
According to the latest figures from CityRealty, a New York real-estate research firm, which among other topics, tracks Trump’s real estate holdings, the president-elect’s flagship properties in Manhattan now sell for about $1,915 a square foot, compared with $1,883 a square foot for other luxury properties in the city — just a 2% premium.
During the summer, with the presidential campaign in full swing, per-square-foot prices for Trump-branded condos in Manhattan still eked out a premium, averaging $1,974 a square foot, compared with $1,873 a square foot for all other units, a 5% premium advantage, CityRealty said. Trump enjoyed a similar 5% edge in Manhattan in 2015, said Gabby Warshawer, CityRealty’s director of research.
The declines may not seem dramatic, but on a per-unit basis the result is about a $566,000 drop per transaction, according to CityRealty. Trump brand sales (there are only 150 to 200 a year, on average, compared with about 5,000 city-wide) lagged behind dramatically behind on a per-unit basis in 2016 , the research firm said.
Trump-brand condos have sold this year on average for about $2.6 million, compared with an average of $3.1 million for other luxury condos in the city, a 22% decline. (Or a loss of about $113 million in value assuming 200 sales per year). In 2015, Trump brands still commanded a premium, with an average sales price of $2.8 million compared with $2.6 million for the rest of the city, a 9% premium, CityRealty said.
To be fair, there’s more competition from new luxury buildings, like One57 on so-called Billionaires’ Row, where a penthouse apartment was sold in December 2014 for over $100 million, and a nearly $88 million penthouse sale at 432 Park Ave. in September, but overall in 2016, Trump’s Manhattan holdings no longer hold the luster they once did, CityRealty said.
“Trump condos aren’t an extra level of luxury now, they’re just standard,” said Warshawer.
While the decline in Trump’s condo pricing might not be directly attributable to Trump’s upset victory in the presidential race over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, three rental properties in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, including Trump Place at 180 Riverside Boulevard, are removing Trump’s name from their property.
“We’re assuming a more neutral building identity that will appeal to all current and future residents,” said Chicago-based Equity Residential, owned by the real estate mogul Sam Zell.
Amanda Miller, vice president of the Trump Organization, which oversees the president-elect’s business holdings, says the name change was due to a previously-negotiated provision. “It was mutually agreed upon,” Miller told Mansion Global (which is owned by Dow Jones).
Chicago’s Trump Tower, which has been the site of many anti-Trump protests but is a condominium and hotel property, is however likely to retain its name.
The decline in the New York premium follows a similar decline in the so-called “Trump premium” that occurred earlier this year outside of Manhattan, according to Seattle-based Redfin, a real-estate brokerage site.
Redfin noted that in the early months of 2015, units in Trump condominium buildings were typically listed 1.6% higher than comparable listings. In early 2016, the Trump brand, at least outside of the red-hot Manhattan market, did not command that same level of respect in terms of price.
“Trump condos have lost the price advantage they enjoyed before the campaign and are starting to sell similarly to comparable condos,” said Redfin’s chief economist, Nela Richardson, whose firm looked at more than 160 Trump unit sales in nine markets, including big-city markets like Chicago and popular vacation spots like Hollywood Beach, Fla.; Las Vegas; and Honolulu.
A representative of Trump Hotels took issue with the Redfin conclusion, telling MarketWatch that a one-bedroom unit at the Trump Tower in Chicago “sold this year at a record-breaking price. The building is very hot, and units are in high demand.…There is clear evidence that the premium placed on Trump properties is as strong as ever.”
Whether or not pricing power overall has been affected, Trump’s incendiary remarks during the presidential campaign have cost his developments amenities and big-name stars.
Earlier this year, former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann announced via Twitter that he had sold his 1,750 square foot two-bedroom apartment at Trump Palace at 200 East 69th Street in New York for $3.9 million, after putting it on the market in April; he absorbed a loss from his 2007 purchase price of $4.2 million.
“I got out with 90% of my money and 100% of my soul!” Olbermann, who now hosts a webshow on GQ’s magazine site, tweeted. “Now that I’ve escaped, I can report to you that the market in NYC @RealDonaldTrump apartments is in a free fall.”
Olbermann wasn’t alone in having been inspired to break ties with Trump properties over Trump politics. Last summer, Trump, who before the election opened a five-star, 263 room Trump International Hotel along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., suffered a public-relations black eye when his two high-profile restaurant partners for the hotel, celebrity chefs Jose Andres and Geoffrey Zakarian, backed out, citing the presidential candidate’s remarks in June 2015 about illegal immigrants from Mexico bringing crime and being “rapists.”
Indeed, the Hollywood Reporter noted in March that about 10% of Trump Tower’s units were for sale or rent and that numerous prices had been reduced from their initial listings.
Despite Olbermann’s headline-seeking, politically-inspired sale, the billionaire developer’s charged rhetoric likely has had little to do with the apparent decline in the price premiums afforded units in Trump-branded properties, Redfin’s Richardson said.
“While it’s tempting to blame politics, it’s likely that market conditions have changed, making it harder for uber-luxurious condos to fetch top dollar,” she said. “The luxury market has been fighting a chill since late last year, and even the gold-plated faucets in Trump’s bathrooms can’t overcome a slowdown in demand from wealthy buyers caused by the rocky global markets in 2016.”
Prices for U.S. luxury-category homes — while rising 1.4% in the third quarter of 2016 compared with last year, to an average of $1.6 million, have been much softer of late. Redfin noted that for seven consecutive quarters, price growth in the high-end segment has lagged the bottom 95% of the market, which has seen steady year-over-year price growth of around 5% for the past two years.
“The super high-end homes are particularly out of sync with the rest of the market and seem to be bending toward a price correction given the tepid sales growth and double-digit pop in inventory at price points over $5 million,” Richardson said.
Moreover, buyers outside Gotham haven’t shied away from the Trump brand, despite the rancorous political race and Trump’s controversial statements.
In May, a unit at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago sold for the highest per-square-foot price on record in Chicago. The 1,450-square-foot apartment on the 41st floor of Trump’s the hotel and condominium tower sold for $1.64 million, or $1,127 a square foot, outpacing similar units like those at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, one which sold for about $1,096 a square foot in 2014.
The Trump unit also saw rapid price appreciation, having been purchased for $1.22 million in September 2014, or $837 a square foot. Redfin, though, noted that five other units in the same Trump building had sold for a more modest $750 a square-foot in the past year.
In April, Trump Hotels announced that the 63-story Trump International Hotel & Tower in Vancouver had sold all 214 units at “a higher price a square foot than any other property in Canada,” Donald Trump Jr. said in a statement.