A headline in Forbes magazine today screams that Mar-a-lago, President Trump’s resort in Florida, has increased in value $100 million. That’s a lot of money.
You need to read deep into the story to learn that $100 million is the increase over 22 years since he purchased it and not since he’s been president. The most important fact they try to downplay is that the resort has increased by just 25% since 2016–before he was elected. But our investigation has discovered that increase lags far behind other real estate in Florida’s most popular cities.
The Forbes writers must not have a daughter and son-in-law shopping for their first home. As I look at real estate listings with my daughter, it is not surprising to see home values having increased 50% in 10 years in the Kansas City suburbs. Good for the sellers, but bad for newlyweds and others looking for an affordable home.
But what’s that have to do with Trump?
Forbes reports that:
“Trump purchased Mar-a-Lago in 1985 for about $10 million—$5 million for the massive home, a reported $3 million for its lavish furnishings, plus another $2 million for 400 feet of prime beachfront directly across the street. Today Forbes values Mar-a-Lago—admittedly one of the most difficult assets in the Trump portfolio to price—at $160 million, or 16 times what Trump paid for it. It’s unclear how much money the president has invested in, or taken out of, the property over the years.”
The media is seemingly flummoxed with the increase in Trump’s real estate portfolio. They are assuming it is a result of Trump being president.
Why all the interest in how much Trump’s resort is worth? Is it to imply that President Trump is profiting in an unusual way by his connection with the resort? It is no secret that Florida is a hot market both for vacations and property.
Forbes downplays that most of that increase in value happened long before Trump became president.
Forbes goes on to state that by Trump hosting dignitaries at the resort, it is no doubt contributing to its increase in value. They finally admit it was only a 25% rise since 2016. That doesn’t even tell the whole story.
This is another example of the media not putting current news in historical context and giving news consumers only part of the story.
But I’ve again done a little homework for Metro Voice readers in my attempt to get down to the truth and provide you with a broader picture of the facts, history and how current news headlines should be viewed with much skepticism.
So how does that Forbes story compare to property value increases in the Sunshine State reported by other media? You would think that as the nation’s premier money magazine Forbes would actually give the reader the following facts–but it doesn’t. I guess it is up to me.
Just in the last 12 months property values in Florida have increased by the following amounts:
- Fort Meyers 45.2%
- Palm Bay-Melbourne 40%
- Orlando 35.5%
- Sarasota 34.4
- Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Miami Beach 31.7%
Those figures are from CNN.
Then we have Forbes admitting that Trump’s Mar-a-lago increased just 25% (actually over 3 years).
If Trump really wanted to get rich off the resort, he may have picked the wrong property. The average homeowner in the above Florida cities is doing better than Trump.
The fact remains that Trump is not becoming rich off his presidency. According to Money magazine, the president’s financial portfolio has actually lost $1 billion since he became president. He may become the first president in history to leave office with less money in the bank than when he entered.
If we want to talk about increases in net worth of the presidents we can talk about the Clintons and Obamas and the Bushs.
Snopes reports that President Bush entered office with $4 million in the bank. He now has $27 million. Not bad.
The Obama’s net worth before running for president was $3 million. They left office with over $40 million in the bank and just this year signed a book deal worth an additional $66 million. Even better.
The Clintons entered office with $700,000. Their net worth is now listed at $240 million. Woo whoo!
Trump has lost $1 billion. That’s billion as in 1000 million.
So if Forbes and the media want to focus on presidents profiting from their time in office, there is certainly ample evidence that they should be looking at anyone other than President Trump.
That’s my view from the heartland, where common sense reigns.