Since the beginning of this year, real-estates agents have been having a hard time selling listings in Trump Tower—the number of which escalated significantly since President Trump's election. Now sales data show that even the units that have sold did so at below-market prices.
There are currently 21 apartments for sale or rent in the building, according to StreetEasy, and only five condos have sold since Trump took office. The five transactions show that the "average price per square foot in Trump Tower of about $2,100 was down 13 percent from 2016 and 23 percent from 2015, according to sales data compiled by real estate website CityRealty.com" and first cited by the Wall Street Journal. The median sales price—$2.2 million—was the lowest since 2007.
For comparison, the median sales price for residential units in all of Midtown Manhattan has increased by 5.6 percent since 2015, according to Brown Harris Stevens data. Prices per square foot have also risen, by .3 percent.
"This is clearly a remarkable situation and obviously spurred by one resident being the president of the United States," Kirk Henckels, the vice chairman of Stribling & Associates, said earlier this year.
Now, residents and guests arriving at the 664-foot tower in midtown Manhattan are required to submit to airport-style security screening by the Secret Service. Even those who just want a coffee from the Starbucks on the tower's second floor have to put their bags through an x-ray machine. And outside the residents' entrance, on 56th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues, black SUVs are a constant presence. The block is closed to vehicular traffic, and pedestrians not visiting the tower are relegated to the southern side of the street.
The average price per square foot is also down at Trump International Hotel and Tower on New York's Columbus Circle. A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization, which manages the condos at Trump Tower, told the Wall Street Journal that the price shifts could be attributed 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," the 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."
Brown Harris Stevens broker Wendy Maitland told the New York Post that "a Trump building has always been a turn-off for some people and a turn-on for others. She and fellow BHS broker Jason Karadus previously listed a three-bedroom apartment on the 39th floor for $7.5 million. (The residence is now off the market.)
Henckels points out that "saying that the Secret Service is a positive is a double-edged sword. There is no doubt that security is greatly improved, but it wasn't a problem before the Secret Service. When you have lemons, make lemonade. The flip side is that—my guess is—the Secret Service and resulting disruptions in the other tenants' quality of life is why there are so many new listings."
In addition, Henckels says, although Trump Tower "is a very luxurious, beautiful building in a prime location and is beautifully run," it's competing with "brand-new developments with tons of amenities" and the current trend for a downtown location."