The Real Deal Miami

Looking up: Developers raise ceilings to fetch higher prices data show condos with ceilings 12 to 15 feet high command very tall prices per square foot

August 13, 2016 09:15AM

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Interior at 111 Murrary Street in Tribeca

Interior at 111 Murray Street in Tribeca

From the New York website: Who said size doesn’t matter? In the race for bigger and better amenities, developers are commanding a premium for high ceilings and windows.

For example, a Fisher Island penthouse with 18-foot ceilings and 6,644 square feet of living space changed hands this year for $21.5 million, or $3,236 per square foot, the highest price per square foot ever recorded on the island.

Peter Zalewski of Miami-based condo development monitor Cranespotters, told the Wall Street Journal that price per square foot usually declines as condo floor space increases, but some developers of high-ceiling condos are doing the opposite because they “are thinking in cubic feet.”

Buyers are more than willing to fork over larger sums for units with ceilings rising 11 feet or higher, according to an analysis by listing website cited by the Wall Street Journal. Developers who raise the ceiling to 10 or 11 feet from a more typical eight or nine feet may ask an average premium of 50 percent on a square foot basis. (For example, the average listing price can jump to $1,550 per foot from $1,036 per foot.

Units with ceilings between 12 and 15 feet high can ask a premium of 76 percent over their standard counterparts, according to the analysis.

In New York, condos with ceilings between 12 feet and 15 feet had an average asking price of $3,700 per square foot. Ceiling heights in that range tend to be in pricier, amenity-laden new developments, according to the Journal.

Eric Rogen, a buyer at Witkoff’s 111 Murray, which has 11-foot-high ceilings, said he was willing to pay a premium for the higher ceilings.

“I can sense the difference from nine to 11 feet,” he told the newspaper.

Since each foot can cost developers 5 percent to 10 percent more to building, the tallest ceilings are typically found on higher floors, where developers are already looking to squeeze out the most value.

Miller Samuel’s Jonathan Miller said tall windows can boost values — although the opposite can be true if the apartment is too small. “The smaller the apartment, the [smaller] the impact of tall ceilings,” he said. [WSJ]E.B. Solomont