Shortly after Donald Trump first announced his candidacy for the presidency, he unveiled a number that was central to that effort: $8.7 billion. This, he said, was how much he was worth, a figure he’d tallied that included both the concrete value of his real estate investments and the more nebulous value of his licensing deals and his “brand.” The name “Trump” alone, he indicated, helped contribute to about $3.3 billion of that total.
This immediately raised some eyebrows. That’s a pretty big number to simply mark down to indicate how much your name is worth — especially given that Trump had once said his net worth could fluctuate depending on “my own feelings, as to where the world is, where the world is going, and that can change rapidly from day to day.”
It’s certainly true that the value of properties can fluctuate from day to day, particularly in the Manhattan real estate market where much of Trump’s business is done. In fact, recent analyses of his net worth from outside parties — which put his total net worth below that $3.3 billion in brand and marketing value Trump identified in 2015 — indicate he’s taken a hit from a slide in commercial rental prices in New York City. Trump Tower alone lost $41 million in 2017, Forbes estimated, thanks to low demand for large retail space in the city.
There’s another factor, too, it seems: Trump’s name actually may not be worth what it once was. Forbes notes that in places that voted for Trump, revenue at his golf courses is up. In places that didn’t, they’re down.
The team at Factba.se decided to try to determine how the value of Trump’s brand in real estate might have changed more directly. On Tuesday, it unveiled a sweeping analysis of more than 33,000 real estate transactions in six states, including both condominium sales at Trump properties and sales at properties in the same Zip code as a Trump building. Not every building made the cut: Some Trump properties like his hotel in Lower Manhattan have changed their names since Trump declared his candidacy in a likely effort to either goose sales or distance themselves from the president.
Since 2010, here’s the average quarterly price-per-foot for real estate in Zip codes in New York state where there’s a Trump building. There are two sets of data: Overall sales figures and figures for the upper-mid-range market into which most Trump properties fall. (It’s the third of four quartiles.) There’s a lot of volatility, according to Factba.se’s analysis, and a decline in overall prices from late 2014 to today.
At seven Trump properties in the state, Factba.se tallied 572 sales since 2010. How did they fare? Between 2010 and 2015, those sale prices generally tracked with the rest of the quartile with similar prices. Then they fell.
Nationally — including 14 properties in New York, Illinois, Hawaii, Connecticut, New Jersey and Florida — the decline in Trump property sales prices is more subtle.
It’s also not clear how that national decline might relate to Trump’s announced candidacy.
There’s another way to look at the change in Trump property prices. Instead of comparing dollar amounts, we can compare how Trump’s properties have done relative to the overall market and the upper-middle quartile in each year. In other words, if the overall average price was $1,000 in a quarter and Trump properties sold for an average of $1,200, we can assign that quarter a value of 1.2. If we compare that number to the first quarter for which Factba.se collected data, we can track the fluctuation of Trump prices against the market over time.
Looking at that number (which Factba.se calls the Trump Brand Index) nationally, we can see a decline in Trump sales vs. both the overall market and properties in the same quartile relative to 2010. It’s a drop, though, which precedes his announced candidacy.
In New York, the picture is more stark. More volatility — but a clear drop after Trump’s candidacy was declared.
Many of the states saw too few transactions to be significant. In Florida, though, looking at annual data gives a sense of how Trump’s properties have fared, with a different conclusion than in New York.
Since he announced his candidacy, there’s been no downturn in Trump property prices in the state relative to the overall market or similarly priced sales. Since Trump’s inauguration, in fact, things are looking up. This is one reason the figures nationally are less bleak than the numbers in New York.
Again: This isn’t simply a function of Trump properties riding along with the market in a state. It’s a measure of how Trump properties have done relative to other properties in the same Zip codes (since in Manhattan in particular, block-to-block price changes can be significant). In Florida, properties bearing the name “Trump” are doing better than the overall market or similarly priced properties. In New York, Factba.se’s analysis shows they’re doing much worse.
This may not come as much of a surprise. There are a string of Trump-branded condominium buildings that sit near the West Side Highway in upper Manhattan. Shortly after the campaign began, residents in several buildings voted to remove Trump’s name from the facade. That is certainly a political statement in a place where Trump did particularly poorly in 2016. But it also reinforces that the market in New York for Donald Trump is lower than it used to be — both politically and in real estate.