North America

The battle for the White House

How will the outcome of the US presidential race impact real estate?

Against the odds, Donald Trump has swept his way to the Republican Party nomination. When the property tycoon announced his intention to enter the presidential race back in 2015, Paddy Power gave his chances of winning as 53/1. That has been slashed to 5/2.

For the Democrats, the most likely candidate is Hillary Clinton, a political veteran who has had two terms as First Lady followed by eight years as a US senator.

When American voters go to the ballot box in November, the world, and global property market, will watch with bated breath. With so much investment activity in US metropolitan areas, it is easy to see why.

According to a Q1 2016 ranking of markets by Real Capital Analytics, four of the top five were in the US, with sales volumes (international and domestic) totalling close to $72bn (£49bn).

US cities also dominated a ranking by overseas investment in the first quarter of 2016, taking six of the top 10 spots, with New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco placed first, third and fourth, respectively.

So will global investor appetite diminish if The Donald sits in the Oval Office?

Speaking at LREF last month, Linus Forsberg, partner at Trinova Real Estate, said a Trump presidency would lessen the appeal of the US to global capital. “Some parts of the Middle East and China currently consider the US and UK as their primary targets. If the US becomes less attractive, it would have to benefit London and the UK.”

But Dominic Grace, Savills’ head of London residential development, pointed to the unfeasibility of Ronald Reagan – a “has-been actor from California” – as president when he first announced his intention to run. “There was probably a bit of chuntering when Reagan was elected, but we look back and say ‘He did great work’,” said Grace. “On balance, I don’t think it will make a lot of difference, truthfully.”

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