Who buys a penthouse? Why buy a penthouse? What makes a great Penthouse? DBPR asks prime London property experts:
Simon Barnes: H. Barnes & Co
“Penthouses in high end new build developments denote ‘I bought the best’ in super rich circles. Owning a penthouse in a landmark building is a very visible statement, you are at the ‘top of the tree’, you own the finest views, the most generous floor plate and you have no one above you. Needless to say, it’s all about kudos and making a statement of ownership. That said £20m equates to around £5,000 sqft and in PCL would not buy you the best on the market, you would need to more than treble your budget to afford the penthouse at One Hyde Park.
Penthouses in new build developments will offer 360 or 180 degree views, offer well designed outside terracing equipped with gizmos like outdoor bars, sound and lighting systems, hot tubs, outside kitchens, they will have generous windows connecting the interior to the exterior space. A private lift that takes you directly into your penthouse, and a flow of space that allows for ample entertaining space and luxury throughout.
I remember when I was in the Metropolitan hotel lift with a friend and another guest entered the lift and pressed ‘number four’, my friend commented ‘only the junior level’; rightly or wrongly among the super-rich there’s a degree of embarrassment if you end up on the lower floors whether you’re a paying guest or a resident, the only place to be is at the top.”
Merton Croisdale-Appleby: Maskells
“Interestingly not all penthouses have great views, it often depends on which side of the building they are. I had a viewing last week with a wealthy Russian purchaser who loved the flat but he only wanted the one which had the view of the London Eye, sadly that one had already sold.
The key factors that I have found are location, that is proximity to favourite restaurants and night spots. Ceiling heights, these can vary a great deal building to building but a double height can make all the difference. Concierge services, the buyers for these types of property are generally always on the move, so having a concierge that caters for their round the clock needs is vital.
Secure parking for multiple vehicles, seldom do the owners of these properties only have one car and often want as many as seven parking spaces. Separate staff accommodation in the building is also very important, one or two studio style flats will be required for nannies, housekeepers, cooks etc and on, preferably two private lifts essential. For buyers we are seeing, the emphasis is all on privacy, security and the sense of ownership, so sharing lifts can be a bit of a no no!!”
Edward Corry-Reid: Aylesford International
‘Many penthouses are sought by overseas buyers, but in the rarefied world of the elite purchaser looking for a penthouse in PCL, supply is restricted, and domestic buyers are equally as prevalent as their international rivals. There is an element of ego amongst buyers at this level, they want the best in class; it’s the same mentality that drives the super-rich to commission a new yacht 10 feet longer than their competitors.’ What unites them is the desire for privacy, security, natural light, views and wanting to feel immersed in luxury.
Some penthouses are 1500 sq.ft some 7000 sq.ft, but if a penthouse doesn’t have a bigger gross internal area than the more generic apartments below, what you do find is better volume, use of space and better perks!’ However, in some cases the penthouse will cover the entire floorplate of a development or an existing building. Penthouses command the biggest prices in any scheme, not only the actual price tag, but in terms of actual value – the price a buyer will pay per square foot for a penthouse will be well in excess of the price per square foot paid on lesser units. ’
Will Watson: Middleton Advisors
“Like with a lot of these new developments, it is often about the services/facilities that the developer is providing which separate one building from another.
When it comes to looking at the penthouse market, these flats are going to appeal to people who are typically used to travelling the world and staying in the best hotels. If the penthouse offers a similar “package” to a “best in class” hotel i.e. 24hr concierge, parking, gym, spa, in-house chauffeur etc, it will be attractive to someone who is going to be staying for a short period of time and need everything within easy reach. The owner of one of these flats will often not live here and may use the apartment for a few nights a month so everything is about convenience.
This then brings it back to location which is hugely important, particularly when it comes to the new build market where there are many schemes in secondary locations, which are now struggling to sell. In short, when it comes to looking at the penthouse flat market the things that will separate one from another are: