Editor's note: Can the Trump bounce last?

Feb.February 01, 2017 07:00 AM

Stuart Elliott

Markets crave stability, but you’d be hard pressed to call the first days of the Trump presidency stable.

Trump’s core populist appeal — his promises to reverse economic hardship in the working-class heartland — seems to have been lost amid debates over inaugural crowd sizes, thousand-mile border walls and blanket immigrant bans.

As the outcry over a travel ban targeting Muslim countries continues, and spawns nationwide protests, more business leaders — including some in real estate — have spoken out against Trump’s immigration policies. Of course, some of real estate’s biggest players are staunch supporters and have roles in the administration as well (see page 60).

But the question remains, can Trump TRData LogoTINY deliver on economic growth and boost real estate, which is seeing a slowdown on both the commercial and residential fronts?

There would be a huge irony if our first billionaire president and “developer-in-chief” turns out to be bad for New York real estate.

Trump started off strong for investors: The Dow Jones industrial average broke 20,000 for the first time late last month, and confidence seemed relatively high. In addition, real estate players have been salivating at the prospect of lower taxes, the rollback of Dodd-Frank and a massive infrastructure building program, all of which seem like good ideas to boost business. (Trump has already signed an executive order instructing federal agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new one they add, a kind of 2-for-1 special).

But the devil is in the details. And the seemingly bungled rollout of Trump’s first executive orders has cast doubt on the White House’s competency and appears to have shaken investor confidence, with stock prices dropping afterwards.

In our cover story this month, we look at the impact Trump could have on Wall Street, an industry that has major repercussions for NYC real estate. Will Wall Street deregulation fuel the luxury residential market, office leasing, commercial lending and more — or hamper them? See page 40.

In order to deal with the torrent of Trump news, we’ve stationed one of our top reporters, Will Parker, in Washington, D.C.  He’s already breaking national news and is welcoming your tips. You can reach him at [email protected].

Elsewhere in the issue, we have a profile of developer Charles Kushner, who is regaining his stature thanks to his son Jared’s meteoric rise to the White House. With Jared in Trump’s innermost circle, the elder Kushner is now becoming more visible at Kushner Companies, where he has long played a behind-the-scenes role following a stint in prison for tax evasion more than 10 years ago.

As reporter Kathy Clarke writes, “Jared’s unlikely rise to the White House is not only a source of immense pride for Charlie, it’s also opened up a new phase for his own business and social redemption.” See page 34.

Meanwhile, on the market front, we looked at which brokerages closed the most investment sales deals in 2016 — a year that saw a sales volume drop of 25 percent, to $58 billion. Brokers say there are few trophy deals in the pipeline at the start of 2017, which could drive transaction numbers down further. We’ve also got a story on the biggest deal breakers in today’s residential market (page 24); a look at price cuts in the luxury home segment (page 26); and predictions for 2017 (page 82).

For a deeper dive into the numbers, check out our annual Data Book, now in its 12th edition, with a new look and a greater focus on industry players and rankings. At 140 pages, it’s our biggest and most comprehensive Data Book yet. And it comes at a critical juncture for the industry — a time when indisputable facts and figures are more important than ever. Also on the data front, stay tuned for the official launch of our new research site and data services division at TheRealDeal.com/Research.

Enjoy the issue.

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