Ground-floor vs the penthouse: the case for each

June 4th, 2018 - by UrbanCondo Team

The view from a penthouse balcony.

People often dream of the coveted penthouse. There’s a certain prestige associated with the word, giving the space a luxurious and exclusive feel. But the penthouse isn’t necessarily the “best” unit for everyone. In many cases, the ground floor can be just as accommodating.

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of living in the penthouse and the ground floor, and see why either pace can make a good home.

Living on the ground-floor of a condo

The pros

Easily accessible – One of the big perks of a ground-floor condo is that it’s easily accessible. You don’t have to walk up numerous flights of stairs or wait around for a slow elevator. Even if the other residents are in a huff because the elevator is out of order, you remain entirely unaffected. While this is appealing to everyone, people with accessibility devices or injuries benefit the most.  

Larger outdoor space – One of the benefits of living on the ground-floor is that you often have a large outdoor space. Patios for ground-level units tend to be bigger than the balconies of higher units. So, if you know you like to spend time outside, or tend to a small garden, a ground-floor condo may be a good choice for you.

More affordable – If you’re looking to fit a specific budget, opting for a lower level unit can save you a significant amount of money. Higher units tend to be considered more desirable, so you should have an easier time finding one on the ground floor that fits your budget.  

Quicker move in – When we’re talking preconstruction, lower level units are completed first, meaning owners can move in before those owning the condos above them. If you’re looking to take possession of a pre-con unit as soon as possible, getting in on the ground floor is the best way to do it.

The cons

More foot traffic – When you live on the ground floor, you have to expect that there will be a lot more foot traffic outside of your unit. Not only does this increase the amount of noise you will hear, and limit your privacy, it can also pose more of a safety hazard.

Not much of a view – There is no way getting around it; there is a lack of view and natural light on the ground floor. People often opt for higher units so they can get a view of the city, or allow the natural light to come into their unit. 

Living underneath everyone else’s units – Adding to the element of heavy foot traffic is the fact that you are living underneath someone else, which can easily increase the noise level in your unit. In a lower level unit, especially if the building is older, you will hear your upstairs neighbours. Likewise, any leakage will run down, meaning your unit is comparatively vulnerable to water damage.

Living in the penthouse unit

The pros

Feeling of prestige – There is just something about hitting that penthouse button. Living in a penthouse gives you the feeling of luxury and prestige. If you’re someone who loves the finer things in life, living in a penthouse will fit your tastes perfectly.

The view – For many people, the biggest pull of the penthouse is the view and amount of natural light that comes with living so high up. You are able to look out over your city, and inhabit a brighter, more naturally lit space.

Privacy – Whether it’s a true penthouse, in which you are the only one living on the floor, or it’s divided into a small number of units, being in a penthouse gives you a level of privacy that the ground floor cannot match.

Layout – Penthouses tend to be larger, and have unique layouts to those from the rest of the building. In some cases, they may also have additional amenities or superior appliances to other units in the building.

The cons

More susceptible to the elements – Unfortunately, living so high-up can cause some problems. When opting for the penthouse, your unit is for more susceptible to the elements than lower level units. For example, that amazing view off the balcony also means higher winds.

Cell phone issues – Another downside of living higher up is that, depending on the height of your building, you may experience issues with your cellular service.

Long way to go – If accessibility is what you’re after, a penthouse unit may not be for you. Yes, the elevator may open right up into your unit, but if that elevator goes down, that’s a lot of stairs you’ll have to climb. Even when the elevator is working properly, entering and exiting your home will be more of a process than if you’re on the bottom level.

The costs – That view and feeling of luxury costs a pretty penny. If you are looking to buy a penthouse condo, be prepared to pay more than if you were buying on a lower floor.

The take away

There are pros and cons to each unit type, and it ultimately comes down to budget and personal preference. Everyone’s needs are different when it comes to buying a condo, so it’s important to identify those needs early, and know what it is you’re looking for.