Donald Trump: What’s in a Name?

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Earlier this year, Redfin looked at the price premium for Trump condos and whether it had been adversely affected by the polarizing political campaign. The results were mixed. Yes, the premium for condos sold in Trump-branded buildings had gone down slightly in 2016, but it wasn’t clear if it was the result of his new-found role as the Republican nominee or sluggishness in the luxury real estate market in general.

But what about how real estate agents market homes in Trump-branded buildings? Are agents altering their marketing techniques to either draw more or less attention to the Trump brand associated with the listing?

It’s not that hard to find out. Hundreds of Trump condos go up for sale every year. Every time a condo goes up for sale, the listing agent and home seller write up a description of the property in an attempt to entice potential buyers. We were curious. After Trump entered the political arena would agents and homeowners view the Trump brand as a selling feature to highlight, or would they opt to leave Trump out of the listing description entirely?  

Also, it’s worth mentioning that stating the name of the building is a brief and accurate way to describe a condo’s location, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many listings would mention the brand. However, we wanted to see if the rate of those mentions has changed over time in any significant way.

Trump Mentions by Year Sold

From 2012 through 2015, agents mentioned the Trump brand between 69.7 percent and 71.5 percent of the time. That remarkably consistent level of mentions was upended this year, when 75.5 percent of sold listings mentioned Trump’s brand.

However, sold homes are no longer currently on the market — in many cases, they were listed and under contract months ago. What are agents and home sellers doing right now? Only 67.1 percent of listings mention his name, lower than any other sample period.

How do currently-on-the-market Trump properties vary? Look at several listings in a Trump building in your city and you can see. Some listing agents pointedly don’t include building images that have TRUMP lettering and don’t mention his name in the notes, even when it would make sense to do so.

Others agents make the enormous TRUMP that is plastered across many of his buildings the listing’s main image and have no problem at all touting the fact that it’s a Trump-branded property.  

Yes, different agents have different strategies, but why the recent drop-off in Trump mentions? Branding is a complicated thing — Trump himself last month started a new hotel brand, Scion, that breaks from his tradition of using his own name on his buildings. Was it connected to how his name is now perceived? Or did it have to do with another, unrelated marketing strategy? It’s unclear.

Similarly, it’s unclear whether the drop in Trump mentions is meaningful. But, what we do know is that Trump condos that are currently listed for sale are less likely to have the word “Trump” in the listing remarks than were Trump condos that sold in the past five years.

— With Taylor Marr


Using data from real estate multiple listings service, Redfin examined condo listings from January 1, 2012 through October 22, 2016. We pulled the listing descriptions for every property listed in a Trump Tower, then searched for mentions of “Trump” within each description. After excluding listings containing no description, we counted the number of listings containing at least one mention of “Trump” and divided that by the total listings sold in that year.

Redfin’s analysis was limited to sales in Hollywood Beach, FL; Sunny Isles Beach, FL; Honolulu, HI; Chicago, IL; Jersey City, NJ; Las Vegas, NV; New Rochelle, NY; Shrub Oak, NY and White Plains, NY. Multiple-listing data was unavailable for transactions of Trump properties in Manhattan, Stamford, CT and outside of the U.S.

Trump’s real-estate portfolio is listed here.

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Alex provides journalists with the information they need for their stories. Prior to joining Redfin, he was a freelance writer who wrote extensively on the ins and outs of condo purchasing. He also covered luxury goods, with a minor in book reviews. He lives in Chicago and is lucky enough to be able to walk to work. Redfin is a full-service real estate brokerage that uses modern technology to make clients smarter and faster. For more information about working with a Redfin real estate agent to buy or sell a home, visit our "Why Redfin?," page.

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