Trump in Trouble Again

Trump in Trouble Again

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condo_towers_tokyo_roppongi.jpgWe seem to have been spending more and more time recently looking at the various condo markets around the world. This was an organic occurrence, mainly because the luxury condominium market seems to be providing much of the fuel for property growth in some countries. London’s condo market for instance is shoring up almost the entire U.K.’s market with new developments such as One Hyde Park, looking to generate more profit than the entire West Midlands. This applies to the US market also, with record breaking prices for condos in New York despite the current housing crash, with prices on all but luxury properties falling at an alarming rate and record foreclosures.
We expect a few medium sized building contractors to bite the dust in this one, but not at Trump’s level. Panama seems hell bent on catching up price wise with the rest of the world. But, once again, only on the luxury condo sector and there are mutterings around the world that the Panamanian market is ready to pop. Tokyo’s bubble looks like it has come to a grinding halt, although we feel it’s unlikely to burst, the Japanese government would never allow that to happen. Expect some sort of governmental help package to be handed out soon. Kuala Lumpur seems a slightly more buoyant and stable market than Panama’s, with some massive high-end developments planned. Dubai also seems to have no end in sight with record breaking prices being reached for record breaking building heights. Asia’s luxury condo market hit a new high recently with the sale of the most expensive apartment in Hong Kong out-pricing everything that had gone before.

But these are all extremely high-priced, high-profile developments, and the American subprime crisis, along with other factors is seriously disrupting some planned developments further down the market.

Issues with financing and foundation stresses mean that construction has stopped on The Trump Tower in Tampa, and buyers who placed deposits of $200,000 to $1.2 million on units in the 52-story Trump Tower are incensed.

Trump’s Fort Lauderdale tower was put on hold indefinitely last month, and a West Palm Beach project could be joining these soon. Construction on a Trump Tower in Toronto is just beginning after years of delays and a reduction in height. And at Trump Tower Chicago, a hotel and condo project set to be the second tallest building in the city after the Sears Tower, 30 percent of the 825 units remain unsold as the condo market begins to slow.

In Atlanta, two condo towers with the Trump name are about to be launched at a time when 5.8 percent of the homes there are for sale, the second-highest inventory of unsold homes in the country, according to Zelman & Associates, a housing-research firm.

Trump himself seems unperturbed by the problems and, as always, focuses on the positive aspects of the developments.

Trump says Atlanta is “a beautiful job going well.” And when asked about Atlanta’s poor housing market, said, “You know I can’t be everywhere. It’s like somebody says, ‘why didn’t you build here or there?’ Who’s done better deals than me?”

“All of my stuff has been a great success,” he said in an interview last week. “Nobody has even come close to the track record that I have.” He points to many other projects he is involved in that he considers outsized successes, including ones in Las Vegas, Hollywood, Fla., Miami, New York, Hawaii and the Dominican Republic. “Somebody says ‘how’s the market?’ I say not good except for Trump,” he said, going on to claim that, if he himself had been in control of the Tampa Tower rather than just selling the developers his name,”I could have pulled the Tampa job off easily. Other people can’t pull it off easily.” Now, Trump says, the Tampa project has become a victim of the deteriorating financing and sales climate. “If there was a job today that was going to start…I would most likely say let’s wait a little while.”