Condominium prices are faltering at Trump Tower, President Donald Trump’s property on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, more than at similar buildings across the city.
The median sale price and average price per square foot both are down sharply since 2015, when Mr. Trump launched his campaign for president, and now are plumbing depths last visited during the financial crisis.
Brokers aren’t sure whether the weakness is due more to Trump Tower-specific issues, such as tightened security, demonstrations and antipathy toward Mr. Trump or to a slowing luxury condo market in general across Midtown Manhattan.
Boaz Mashiach, a principal of the Mashiach Real Estate Group, who is listing two adjacent apartments on the 42nd floor of Trump Tower for $7.8 million, said the overall market was “very soft right now” but that Mr. Trump’s presidency also could be a factor.
“Some people don’t like to live in his building—and there are some people who want to live only in his building,” he said. “Because of the presidency, some people see it as an honor. When you are in the building, it is peaceful and beautiful.”
Trump Tower is now a bargain because prices since 2015 have fallen to levels that are “not indicative of the building’s relative value,” said Gabby Warshawer, director of research at CityRealty.
She added: “There is no way of knowing whether prices have taken a nose dive because of the restrictions that are now associated with living in the building—such as the Secret Service and police presence—or because the Trump brand so closely aligned with the building is having a depressing effect on prices.”
Trump Tower’s public atrium.Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
During and after the election, many observers noted price reductions on listings at Trump Tower, but now, a year after Mr. Trump’s election, hard sales data are becoming available.
In five transactions so far this year, the average price per square foot in Trump Tower of about $2,100 was down 13% from 2016 and 23% from 2015, according to sales data compiled by real estate website CityRealty.com. That was the lowest figure since 2009. The median sale price of $2.2 million so far in 2017 was the lowest since 2007.
In contrast, prices per square foot across Midtown Manhattan, excluding new developments, have risen 0.3% since 2015, while the median price has increased 5.6%, after rocketing higher in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, according to figures from Brown Harris Stevens.
Prices per square foot rose at older midtown towers such as CitySpire on West 56th Street, up 5.4% since 2015, and Metropolitan Tower on West 57th Street, up 0.4%. Price per square foot has declined 17% at Olympic Tower, a 51-story high rise on Fifth Avenue near East 52nd Street, a building that brokers often compare with Trump Tower a few blocks away.
Trump Tower isn’t the only Trump-branded property that is slumping.
At Trump International Hotel and Tower, a glass building Mr. Trump redeveloped in the 1990s on Columbus Circle, the average price per square foot of just over $3,600 is down 24% from 2015 and more than 11% since last year, as sales have slowed. Metal police barricades are stacked on sidewalks around the building, where there are occasional protests, and there is a regular police presence nearby, one broker said.
Trump Organization, which manages the condo at Trump Tower, attributed price shifts at major Trump properties to year-over-year price declines in “the entire luxury market.”
“Despite that, Trump buildings have continue to be a leader in average [price per square foot] against competitors,” a Trump Organization spokeswoman said. “We cater to the most discerning buyers in the world, and while we can’t control the ebbs and flows of the market, we are incredibly proud of the overall performance that Trump properties continue to achieve.”
Trump Tower, a 664-foot-high glass tower, is 58 stories tall, with offices on the lower levels along with a marble public atrium. It is the headquarters for Trump Organization and was the site of large protests after Mr. Trump was elected. Even now, East 56th Street, where the condo entrance is located, is barricaded and closed to through traffic.
Yet the Trump effect on prices isn’t clear-cut because sales of larger, more expensive apartments have stalled in the building, making overall comparisons tricky. All but one of the five sales this year were for one-bedroom units, though six larger units are on the market.
Jonathan Miller, an appraiser and president of Miller Samuel Inc., said so far appraisals in the building that closely compare an apartment with past sales at similar units in the building haven’t confirmed a slide in values.
A line of sanitation trucks in front of Trump Tower before the start of the United Nations General Assembly in September.Photo: stephanie keith/Reuters
Still, many sellers have cut asking prices there.
Byron Allen, a comedian and television producer, cut the asking price on his one-bedroom at Trump Tower to $2.5 million in January 2016, after listing on the market for as much as $3 million in 2014.
He sold the unit that August for $2 million. It was purchased by an investor who put it back on the market a few months later with Mr. Mashiach for $2.75 million. Mr. Allen didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Another one-bedroom listed for $2.75 million earlier this year sold for $2 million last month.
Richard Tayar, a broker at Keller Williams NYC, who has two listings at Trump Tower, said many New Yorkers and Americans were avoiding the building while international buyers were looking to buy there.
“They don’t have a very strong problem with the presidency,” he said. “They believe in the building. It is an iconic address. You have cachet that other buildings might not have.”
Write to Josh Barbanel at email@example.com