Trump Executive Is Hot on Canadian Real Estate

Monday Jun 15th, 2015


"You're Fired!"

George Ross, Executive Vice President and Senior Counsel to the Trump Organization, tells BNN Canada's real estate market still has plenty of room to grow.

"Canada is a vibrant economy and some people ought to step in and take advantage of it," says Ross. "I think it's under-utilized, not over-utilized."

Ross has been the business and legal advisor to U.S. real estate magnate Donald Trump for the past 30-years. But he is perhaps better known for his role on the reality television show "The Apprentice", where he advises Trump on which contestant should be fired.

Canada's residential and office space markets are both posed for continued growth, says Ross. However, he warned Canadians to ignore get-rich quick house flipping real estate schemes.

"I don't think the buy-sell or the short sale is the answer," Ross says. Real estate investors are attracted because of the money, but they don't talk about how long it takes to get the money and they don't talk about the fact you could be in there and not recover what you invested. 

Not everyone agrees with the rosy assessment of George Ross. One money manager says Ross does not understand the Canadian market and how its dynamics - particularly in Toronto - are shifting. Bruce Tatters, Chief Investment Officer at Triumph Asset Management says it will be difficult for investors to make money in Toronto real estate.

"If you look at the downtown core of Toronto - office space leaseholds are opening up and vacancy rates are spreading out," he tells BNN. "Prices have moved so substantially in the past year - and even the last few months here I don't think its good value."

Despite his optimism for Canada's real estate market, Ross acknowledged there have been problems with Trump-branded developments - including the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Toronto. The 65-storey luxury hotel and condo development has been embroiled in an investor revolt and ongoing $40-million dollar lawsuit.

Trump did not develop the project himself, but lent his name to the troubled development - and that has tarnished the Trump brand, says Ross.

"Trump has a certain panache for luxury, and if the people who operate the building or build the building don't share in that and are strictly looking at the bottom line, then you are going to have some problems - and there were problems in Toronto," says Ross.

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