When deciding on a condo, what is often overlooked is one important element of the unit itself – the ceiling height. High ceilings are typically found on new condos, more specifically on the lower levels (such as the 10 foot ceilings at Limelight) and on the upper penthouses (such as the Marilyn Monroe Buildings). For the past 6-7 years many, but not all new condo builders around square one have adapted a 9 foot standard height for most of their units. Let’s look further into high ceilings from both a purchasing and selling point of view.
First, cost-analysis and enjoyment of high ceilings. During a pre-construction stage of a condominium, the initial investment required to upgrade (if possible) from an 8 foot to a 9 foot ceiling, could be as high as $15,000. Some buyers are prepared to pay the extra for high ceilings, while other buyers prefer to allocate their funds on a better suite layout, perhaps with a longer balcony or a higher floor premium. Nine foot plus ceilings do create a sense of additional space and are great for anyone with claustrophobia. They are also useful for those planning on installing ceiling fans.
Second, the resale value and Return on Investment (ROI). Taking in account all of the above, there is no question about it: condos with 9 foot ceilings sell for more their identical counterparts with 8-foot ceilings. Although there is no consensus on the exact dollar or percentage figure of how much more a 9-foot ceiling is worth, estimates typically fall between 5-10%. It should be noted, that ceiling height does play an important role in the condo resale market. Condo shoppers frequently demand higher ceilings, thus the initial investment for a 9 foot ceiling can be seen as a “good investment”. Higher ceilings contribute to the enjoyment of the living area and add monetary value to the property.
Critics argue the opposite, stating that the additional costs associated with high ceilings are not a good bang-for-buck investment. High ceilings increase noise levels and the feeling of a cozy home tends to disappear. Moreover, it can be debated that larger units, which have floor to ceiling windows already create a sense of extra volume, moreover the added foot or two of vertical height translates into additional unnecessary heating/cooling expenses.
Keeping all that in mind, I’m a strong believer in high ceilings myself. My reasoning is as follows: condo units are getting smaller and smaller, thus it is important to use different techniques such as increasing the height of the ceiling to make the units seem bigger. Also, another advantage to having a high ceiling is that it makes the unit appear larger, without increasing any square footage of the actual unit, which would typically result in high maintenance fees. Finally, I see high ceilings as new building trend which is here to stay for a long time, and as the saying goes “there is no replacement for displacement”.
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