Want to Live in a Penthouse? Here’s What You Need to Know

Want to Live in a Penthouse? Here’s What You Need to Know

Nov 28, 2023 November 28, 2023

Penthouses are the pinnacle of condo living. It means waking up to sweeping views and expansive living spaces that feel like a home in the sky. Add on ultra-luxury amenities, finishes, exclusive service, and, well, now you’re getting the picture.

While it might sound cliché or too good to be true, this is what owning a penthouse is really like, and why so many want the experience of living in one. But what is a penthouse apartment or condo? And are they worth it? And do penthouses hold their value? Read on for answers to all of these questions about how to buy a penthouse or what it’s like to live in one.


— So... What Is a Penthouse?

Penthouses are, historically, separate units on the very top of a bwuilding or a hotel, fitted with the best interiors, and both indoor and outdoor space. The term came about in the 1920s when developers started transforming previously undesirable and often dirty “attic” spaces into incredible and spacious properties on top of their properties. 

Distinguished by their opulence and world-class views, they were immediately popular and became synonymous with status and wealth. Even today, penthouses are usually the priciest units in any development and come equipped with extras that the lower floors don’t have.

Also, besides being synonymous with the top floors of a construction, they often have private elevators, and they tend to have a much larger amount of space compared to other units as well as much higher ceilings. For a more visual explanation, you can always see what a Miami penthouse looks like inside!


Palm Bay PH 9E


— Are Penthouses Always on the Top Floor?

So, penthouses are always on the top floor, right?... Usually. Developers have often used the term generously, marketing any unit on the few top floors as a penthouse, in part because the term has a certain ‘wow!’ factor to it. This means more value for buyers, renters, and sellers alike.

But it doesn’t have to be exclusively the top floor of a high-rise or super-tall. There are some amazing penthouses in low-rise and mid-rise condo buildings, which makes them ideal if you are afraid of heights or have pets.

In essence, a penthouse can be a condo on any of the top floors in any kind of building, so long as its features are substantially different and more exclusive than the other units in the condo building. Put simply, penthouses are the trophy residences in any condo property development and should be identified accordingly, and are definitely priced accordingly, fetching the highest prices in any given building.


— What Makes a Penthouse a
Penthouse?

Extra large floor plans. Some penthouses are laid out on one floor, while others may take up two floors, making them like townhouse penthouses. Most Miami penthouses start around 6,000 square feet and go up to 20,000 square feet. 

  • Higher ceilings
  • Higher-end finishes
  • Huge private balconies, rooftop terraces, or other spacious outdoor areas
  • Exclusive amenities like private pools, outdoor showers, or summer kitchens
  • Although they may vary from project to project, penthouses usually do have a few things in common that differentiate them from other units. If you’re interested in buying a penthouse, you can expect your luxe unit to have almost all of the following:

These are some of the luxuries that make penthouses so desirable and livable.

Marquis PH #6303


— Are Penthouses Worth It? 

If you’re considering buying a penthouse, one of the most important things to ask yourself is whether it meets your needs and is a good investment. And, like lots of things in life, the answer is, it depends. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that buying a penthouse is, in fact, a great investment. And especially if you are buying one during the preconstruction phase of a new building, when your prices will be lower and you will be able to customize a lot of the finishes and sometimes even the layout.

Firstly, there is significantly less volatility in penthouse value due to the lack of supply in the market. Like many high value markets, like art and collectibles, rarity equals demand. For every development, no matter how many units it contains, there can only be a few penthouses, meaning there is a scarcity of these units and for a certain segment of the market, there will be higher demand.

Another reason penthouses are often worth paying the higher price is because of the so-called “penthouse premium.” What is that? In essence, because penthouses are unique and carry that aforementioned ‘wow!’ factor, there will always be demand for them no matter how high the price tag is.

Additionally, it is important to stay up to date with real estate market reports to determine when is the best time to buy your penthouse or you can look into them while projects are under pre-construction to get the best deal. Recent sales have shown that penthouse living in Miami is heating up, with tens of millions in sales of penthouses in the last few months. Miami pre construction penthouses have sparked a lot of interest in recent years as great investment opportunities.

Palm Bay PH 9E


— How Much is a Penthouse vs. Other Condo Units?

Another reason penthouses are often worth paying the higher price is the concept of the “penthouse premium.” So, what’s a penthouse premium? In essence, because penthouses are so unique and carry that aforementioned “wow factor,” there will always be demand for them. In our experience, we typically see penthouses sell for at least 10% or more than a comparable unit on a lower floor.

Palm Bay PH 9E


— Pros and Cons of Buying a Penthouse


What Are the Pros of Buying a Penthouse?

There are loads of obvious pros to owning a penthouse. Firstly, the view – it will usually be to die for. Not to mention the feeling of pride you get knowing you own such a momentous property. After all, penthouses are true status icons.

Another huge perk is outdoor space, which is a rare luxury in major cities. Most penthouses are set back, leaving a wrap-around or rooftop outdoor area for you to enjoy in privacy, and allowing prime entertaining options in the sky. This opens a new world of entertainment and living options, from swimming in your private pool to eating al fresco to perfecting that green thumb with a lovely terrace garden. All of which just wouldn't be possible in a normal condo.

Compared to other units, penthouses also provide a greater level of privacy. They usually come with their own elevator and share floors with fewer units, as well as status within the building in terms of service. With some penthouses, you even have the whole floor to yourself! This means you can experience another level of peace while still living in a crowded city.


What Are the Cons of Buying a Penthouse?

There are also a few things that should be considered before you decide to live in or buy a penthouse. Firstly, the most obvious con is the penthouse premium. It will be more expensive to buy a penthouse compared to another property but, typically, that extra cost comes with a lot of value.

Another thing to bear in mind is that because penthouses are more expansive and on the top floors, they usually have more windows and are more exposed to the elements. That is why it’s important to carefully check for any signs of maintenance issues, especially signs of previous water intrusion. 

Similarly, check the additional outdoor spaces for any issues that may cause problems in the future, and bear in mind that owning a penthouse condo will probably require additional maintenance than the one provided by the HOA. And while we’re on the subject, because you are buying a larger unit, your HOA fees will naturally be higher. 

Finally, for some people, penthouses feel a bit ‘too flashy’ as there’s just no denying their grandeur. If you feel that a penthouse is indeed too excessive, it may be worth looking for a property that is slightly more down to earth (pun intended).

Maquis PH #6303


— How to get Penthouse Living on a Lower Floor

For some people who are truly afraid of heights, you can still get the luxuries and benefits of a penthouse – expansiveness, unique floor plans, outdoor areas, high ceilings – in something the complete opposite of a penthouse in Lanai units or ground floor townhouse units.

Developers have taken note that some buyers and residents prefer to have their feet on the ground and are creating oversized units that have the same privacy and expansive outdoor areas that feel like home.

Marquis PH #6303


— FAQs


Are Penthouses Permanent?

Depending on your unique situation, penthouses can be used as permanent residences or semi-permanent residences. While some may want to live in a penthouse year-round, others may prefer living in a penthouse seasonally with the option to rent it out while they are not there. In terms of construction, penthouses are usually permanent and cannot be altered or divided into smaller units. 


Who Buys Penthouses?

People who appreciate everything that a penthouse offers: incredible views that come with living high up, exclusive luxury amenities, expansive floorplans, high-end finishes, status and exclusivity. That person can be anyone, even you! In Miami, celebrities like David and Victoria Beckham own penthouses, but everyday people do too. 


Do Penthouses Hold Their Value?

As mentioned above, buying a penthouse tends to be a good investment because they hold their value quite well. In a luxury building, the penthouse units will be highly coveted because there are so few of them and they are very unique. Additionally, most people understand that penthouse units tend to be very well maintained.

 

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So, whatever your preference is, if exclusivity, unique floor plans, and light-filled, wide-open spaces are what you are looking for, then a penthouse may be for you. If you would like to learn more about
how to buy a penthouse or are interested in viewing other types of properties, contact us and we’ll happily show you everything on offer. Shoot us an email, text, or call us for more information.

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Sep Niakan
Broker / Team Lead
(305) 697-7667
sep@blackbookproperties.com
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