Election Aftermath: Are Trump Tower Residents Fleeing?

NOVEMBER 10 Protest at Trump Tower 2 - Getty - H - 2016
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The president-elect doesn’t want to leave the building but it appears more tenants are joining the exodus as an analysis reveals that nearly 15 percent of the units are for sale or rent — and prices are falling.

While Donald Trump would like to spend the next four years living in Trump Tower, it appears that many of his neighbors are electing to leave.

The real estate magnate has made no secret that he prefers the gold-plated skyscraper to the White House. The building has become the epicenter of the nation’s political conversation. Since his victory in the Nov. 8 election, Trump and his inner circle have been interviewing Cabinet hopefuls and making transition plans in his penthouse suite, while protests and the media have been parked outside on Fifth Avenue.

Yet a quieter protest might be brewing inside the building. While midtown Manhattan’s luxury market remains red hot, with prices rising and days on market shrinking, an examination of sales and rental listings in Trump Tower suggest that people who live in the building are trying to escape.

No fewer than 31 units in the iconic tower are for sale or rent. If the list is expanded to include apartments that were very recently pulled off the market, more than 14 percent of the units in the 58-story high-rise at 721 Fifth Avenue are up for grabs, changing hands or unsold.

While it’s impossible to know how many of the existing owners or tenants are looking to escape the tower — renowned for its liberal use of brass, mirrors and Italian pink marble — for political reasons, The Hollywood Reporter’s analysis reveals that pricing appears increasingly soft at Trump Tower. Roughly 39 percent of the sales and rental listings in the building have been reduced this year. THR conducted a similar analysis this past March. Since that time, the number of units for sale and rent has risen significantly.

The apparent softness at Trump Tower, a 58-story structure owned by GMAC Commercial Mortgage, is at odds with the luxury market in midtown Manhattan. According to the most recent Elliman report, the average sales price of luxury units climbed 30.8 percent year over year. The average unit for sale in Trump Tower has been on the market for 188 days, almost 50 percent longer than the average luxury unit measured in that same Elliman report.

Take unit 37/38D, a two-bedroom duplex with 2,184 square feet and a sweeping view of Central Park, which has been on the market for 460 days. In October, the listing price was reduced for the third time in 2016 — the unit began the year listed for $6.9 million and is now at $5.995 million.

In early September, the listing price for unit 57C, a “rare” high-floor one-bedroom apartment with 1,139 square feet and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the park, was slashed by 9 percent, from $3.5 million to $3.195 million. Likewise, the price for unit 32H was slashed more than 25 percent during 2016 — now a motivated buyer can grab the 2,086-square-foot, one-bedroom condo with southern and western exposures for $2.195 million.

Two units in the building that had been for sale were pulled from the market in the days right before and after the presidential election. Unit 35E, a two-bedroom apartment that had been listed for a year and reduced in price by $200,000 in late September, was unlisted the day before the election. And unit PH63L, a $23 million penthouse unit that had been listed for 389 days was reclassified as “temporarily off-market” on Nov. 11.

On the rental side, prices are falling, too. The rent for unit 45J, a bright one-bedroom, 1,923-square-foot apartment with a new kitchen, park views and three different exposures, was cut from $20,000 to $18,000 in October. If that seems too pricey, the rent for unit 35H, a bright one-bedroom, 1,052-square-foot corner apartment, has seen six price reductions since June, most recently getting cut to $5,250 just last week. A total of five rental units in the building saw drops in pricing in the week after election day.

Units currently listed for rental at Trump Tower has been on the market for an average of 119 days; by contrast, an October 2016 Elliman report concludes that the average Manhattan rental is on the market for 46 days. While rental prices in Trump Tower appear flat or down, the average luxury rental price is up roughly 3 percent in the past year.

Of course, not all the units in the building have seen a drop in listing price. Unit 58CD, an open-concept, 2,250-square- foot, two-bedroom unit with modern style and a sweeping park view, has not seen a reduction in its $11 million listing price. The unit has been on the market for 255 days.

Rana Williams, a broker with Keller Williams who is the listing agent for 13 units in the building that are for sale or rent, says that she’s seen an uptick in interest since Trump was elected. “We are definitely experiencing strong interest,” says Williams.