'Luxury Defined' Global Report

The Penthouse Premium

The trend for upscale and up-high living is reflected in the number of record-breaking penthouse apartment sales across the globe in 2017 and already in 2018

Is there any type of urban housing more suitable to deem a “trophy residence” than the penthouse? Penthouses gained acclaim as the pinnacle of apartment living with the advent of the elevator in 1920s New York. Today’s penthouses are the finest, largest, and most private residences in high-rise developments, often spanning multiple floors. Consequently, they tend to sell for a premium over non-penthouse apartments.

Related: 6 Penthouses with City Views

Penthouse sales broke records across the globe in 2017. The trend for upscale and up-high living is reflected in the sheer number of trophy apartment residences on our top annual global sales list, comprising just over half of the sales (download our 2018 Luxury Defined white paper for details).

To better understand this unique trophy property market sub-sector, we studied 24 local record-breaking penthouse and sub-penthouse sales across the globe in 2017 and examined sales prices, prices paid per square foot, and overall penthouse size (see our interactive chart below)

Several of these residences also topped their local market’s 2017 transactions. Perhaps not surprisingly, the highest-priced penthouses also achieved some of the year’s highest prices per square foot. Of the ten most expensive penthouses sold in 2017, only two were larger than 10,000 square feet, indicating that bigger is not always better for penthouse buyers.

Interestingly, two penthouses that smashed local area price records—the top penthouses sold in Dubai and Chicago—were among the lowest on the price-per-square-foot spectrum, in part because the buyers were purchasing incredibly large residences (both 25,000+ square feet) that were much higher than their local area’s average price per square foot, even for luxury homes.

High-net-worth individuals’ appetite for trophy penthouses has not abated in 2018. Several notable penthouses have already sold across the globe to date this year, as outlined in the interactive chart below.

Tour some of the world’s finest penthouses currently available for sale across the globe:

[ Excerpt from Christie’s International Real Estate’s 2018 Luxury Defined white paper on the international prime property market. Read more insights from the latest report here ]