Presidency may prove beneficial to luxury real estate

Donald Trump’s triumph in the U.S. presidential election was still sinking in by the earlier hours of Wednesday morning—but across the Atlantic, news of an upset led by discontented voters felt all too familiar.

Real estate experts in London and Europe who watched the presidential election unfold said in the near-term, Americans can expect a storm of economic and financial volatility similar to the chaos felt directly after the British vote to exit the European Union in June. But they differed over how a Trump presidency might affect luxury real estate markets in the long term.

“A Trump win will bring a property industry leader into the White House for the first time in American history. Without a doubt a Trump presidency will be pro-property and pro-real estate,” said Peter Wetherell, chief executive of Wetherell and a leading London real estate broker.

He said he thinks Trump’s presidency will greatly benefit the luxury real estate markets in the U.S. and internationally.

“It shows just as we had with the Brexit vote in the U.K. that American voters also want a change of direction,” Wetherell said.

Already since Brexit, there’s been an uptick in American buyers in London’s Mayfair and West End neighborhoods thanks to a depreciated pound, he said. And as Britons turn away from Europe, a Trump presidency could mean strengthened trade relations with the U.S.

“U.K. Investors are turning away from the E.U., so a Trump win opens the electrifying possibility of new U.S. and U.K. trade deals,” said Wetherell. “We are already seeing over the last four months an upturn in U.K. buyers looking at New York, Miami and L.A.”

And: U.K. home sales set to slide in wake of Brexit vote

However, Gary Hersham, managing director of luxury property specialists Beauchamp Estates, predicted that Mr. Trump’s victory may cause financial markets to crash further than it did overnight and weaken the dollar.

Markets started plunging Tuesday night on the news of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s possible defeat. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 700 points, or 4%. Futures on both the Nasdaq and Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 5%, while stocks were down about 2% in early trading.

But a devalued dollar would not be all bad news for some international investors. The weakened dollar would effectively strengthen the British pound, Hersham said. “It would therefore certainly help with pound-based purchases in the U.S.,” he said, particularly in cheaper luxury areas like Miami, where price per square foot is less than $1,000.