Donald Trump's Former Estate Relists For A Deep Discount
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Donald Trump’s Former Estate Relists For A Deep Discount

Once asking $78 million, the Greenwich property is now listing for $43 million

By E.B. Solomont
Tue, Aug 23, 2022 9:54amGrey Clock 3 min

After going on and off the market for more than a decade, former President Donald Trump’s onetime Connecticut estate is relisting for roughly half its 2014 asking price.

Once asking $78.5 million, the roughly 6-acre waterfront estate in Greenwich is now listing for $43.4 million, according to listing agent Rob Johnson of Brown Harris Stevens. The roughly 1858sqm Georgian mansion has panoramic views of Long Island Sound.

Mr. Trump and his ex-wife the late Ivana Trump owned the property in the 1980s and Ms. Trump kept the home after they divorced. The current owners, financier Robert Steinberg and his wife, Suzanne Steinberg, bought it for US$15 million in 1998, records show.

The Steinbergs were drawn to the home’s location and the fact that it was big enough for their large family, said Mr. Steinberg, adding that they wanted to be in the Greenwich public school system. “The prior owner is known for picking world-class properties, and this fits that category,” he said. “There was plenty of land to do what we wanted.”

The Trump family didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Steinberg said they spent about two years renovating. They removed gilded finishes, he said, and added about 464.5sqm to the home, including an indoor lap pool and two guest apartments for extended family. The house has eight bedrooms plus staff quarters, as well as a movie theatre and a soaring entryway with twin curved staircases.

On the grounds, the couple added a tennis court and putting green, Mr. Steinberg said. They also repaired the sea wall and rebuilt the outdoor pool. Over the years, he said the family has hosted graduation parties and weddings on the property. “The house was livable for a lot of children and pets,” said Mr. Steinberg, who said his wife rescues dogs and they have had up to 14 at a time.

The Steinbergs now spend most of their time in Florida, where they built a home in Delray Beach. The Greenwich estate has been on and off the market since 2009, when the Steinbergs listed it for $72 million, according to Realtor.com. News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, also operates Realtor.com under license from the National Association of Realtors. It was relisted for $78 million in 2014, and most recently was asking $46 million.

“I had priced it at a very high price initially with the concept that if someone really wants it, I guess I’ll sell it,” Mr. Steinberg said. “But I mispriced it.”

Over the years, he said buyers expressed interest but none made serious offers. “I had one Chinese buyer [who] was seriously interested, but his feng shui adviser told him it wasn’t right,” he said. He has also rejected offers to sell the property in pieces. “It’s too special,” he said.

Mr. Johnson said because the property comprises multiple lots, a buyer could keep the existing structure or redevelop the site into several waterfront homes.

He said the Steinbergs are being “very pragmatic” about selling now, and he said he thinks the combination of a lower price and strong luxury market since Covid will result in a sale. Recently, they “edited and simplified” the Greenwich property with a bit of decluttering, fresh paint and staging, Mr. Johnson said.

The luxury market in Greenwich was soft before the pandemic, but it has benefited from a wave of buyers from the city, as well as those relocating from California, Mr. Johnson said.

“The market has definitely appreciated in the last couple of years,” he said, adding that there is limited waterfront inventory available. “There’s likely nothing else on the water that’s got 6 acres.”

Last year, financier Brett Barakett and his wife, Meaghan Barakett, sold a waterfront estate in Greenwich for approx. $72 million, records show. And designer Tommy Hilfiger and his wife, Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger, sold their property for $65.4 million.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: August 22



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Hong Kong Takes Drastic Action to Avert Property Slump

The city’s real-estate market has been hurt by high interest rates and mainland China’s economic slowdown

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Hong Kong has taken a bold step to ease a real-estate slump, scrapping a series of property taxes in an effort to turn around a market that is often seen as a proxy for the city’s beleaguered economy.

The government has removed longstanding property taxes that were imposed on nonpermanent residents, those buying a second home, or people reselling a property within two years after buying, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said in his annual budget speech on Wednesday.

The move is an attempt to revive a property market that is still one of the most expensive in the world, but that has been badly shaken by social unrest, the fallout of the government’s strict approach to containing Covid-19 and the slowdown of China’s economy . Hong Kong’s high interest rates, which track U.S. rates due to its currency peg,  have increased the pressure .

The decision to ease the tax burden could encourage more buying from people in mainland China, who have been a driving force in Hong Kong’s property market for years. Chinese tycoons, squeezed by problems at home, have  in some cases become forced sellers  of Hong Kong real estate—dealing major damage to the luxury segment.

Hong Kong’s super luxury homes  have lost more than a quarter of their value  since the middle of 2022.

The additional taxes were introduced in a series of announcements starting in 2010, when the government was focused on cooling down soaring home prices that had made Hong Kong one of the world’s least affordable property markets. They are all in the form of stamp duty, a tax imposed on property sales.

“The relevant measures are no longer necessary amidst the current economic and market conditions,” Chan said.

The tax cuts will lead to more buying and support prices in the coming months, said Eddie Kwok, senior director of valuation and advisory services at CBRE Hong Kong, a property consultant. But in the longer term, the market will remain sensitive to the level of interest rates and developers may still need to lower their prices to attract demand thanks to a stockpile of new homes, he said.

Hong Kong’s authorities had already relaxed rules last year to help revive the market, allowing home buyers to pay less upfront when buying certain properties, and cutting by half the taxes for those buying a second property and for home purchases by foreigners. By the end of 2023, the price index for private homes reached a seven-year low, according to Hong Kong’s Rating and Valuation Department.

The city’s monetary authority relaxed mortgage rules further on Wednesday, allowing potential buyers to borrow more for homes valued at around $4 million.

The shares of Hong Kong’s property developers jumped after the announcement, defying a selloff in the wider market. New World Development , Sun Hung Kai Properties and Henderson Land Development were higher in afternoon trading, clawing back some of their losses from a slide in their stock prices this year.

The city’s budget deficit will widen to about $13 billion in the coming fiscal year, which starts on April 1. That is larger than expected, Chan said. Revenues from land sales and leases, an important source of government income, will fall to about $2.5 billion, about $8.4 billion lower than the original estimate and far lower than the previous year, according to Chan.

The sweeping property measures are part of broader plans by Hong Kong’s government to prop up the city amid competition from Singapore and elsewhere. Stringent pandemic controls and anxieties about Beijing’s political crackdown led to  an exodus of local residents and foreigners  from the Asian financial centre.

But tens of thousands of Chinese nationals have arrived in the past year, the result of Hong Kong  rolling out new visa rules aimed at luring talent in 2022.

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