By Keat Foong, Executive Editor
To some fanfare—indeed, on the same day he addressed a proposal to President Obama—Donald Trump recently launched Trump International Realty, the residential brokerage division of The Trump Organization.
Kevin Sneddon, senior vice president and managing director of the division, says The Trump Organization created the new business venture in part because the company felt this was an opportune time to take advantage of the prominence of the Trump name. “Real estate is a global asset class. The Trump brand enjoys global recognition, and that supplies us with the ability to compete at the highest levels in the residential brokerage business,” he says.
Trump International Realty will specialize in the marketing and brokerage of luxury residential properties, both for-sale and for-rent residences—in both Trump and non-Trump properties. For Trump residential properties—condominiums, condominium hotels, golf club residences—the brokerage will serve individual buyers in helping them resell or rent out their properties. However, the brokerage will also cater to the larger residential community and thereby compete with other brokerage houses in the market at large.
The company currently has not more than 50 employees nationally, Sneddon says. The brokers are all independent contractors. On the website, 10 agents were featured. Sneddon suggests Trump International Realty models itself on a private bank, offering specialized, high-performing, boutique service. And although it addresses the full range of luxury properties, he says, the brokerage will be skewed to the higher end of the price spectrum. The average condo sale price in Manhattan is $1.4 million, compared to $3 million for Trump properties, Sneddon points out.
Trump International Realty made its debut in the market with offices in New York, Las Vegas and Chicago, and it may be planning to open a new office in Miami next. The Trump Organization has 70 properties in its portfolio, according to the company’s website. Besides New York City, Chicago and Las Vegas, Trump properties are located in Los Angeles; Charlottesville, Va.; Florida ; Stamford, Conn.; Waikiki, Hawaii; and Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. The company’s international holdings are located in cities including Istanbul, Turkey; Panama City, Panama; Seoul, Korea; Makati, Philippines; and Toronto, Canada.
Sneddon reports that the luxury Manhattan residential real estate market is showing strength across the board. Prices and sales volume have held steady as of the second quarter, according to Commercial Property Executive magazine. However, sales are picking up, while rentals may be leveling off somewhat, Sneddon suggests. A recent condo in a Trump tower was listed at $70 million for sale and $25,000 for rent. Ninety-five percent of the interest on the offering fell on the sales, as opposed to rental, side, he says.
“The Manhattan market remains one of the strongest in the world,” says Sneddon. “The foreign buyers in Manhattan are prevalent at all price points.” Trump International Realty brokers, he says, have “the largest brand in the world behind [them]. People are drawn to Trump.”