Fun with funiculars: Cali homeowners are shelling out up to $250k for incline elevators

Baby boomers want to cut down on hillside hikes

Incline elevator at Malibu home of Marcus Nispel (MLS)
Incline elevator at Malibu home of Marcus Nispel (MLS)

Funiculars are on the rise across the country, thanks to the increasing popularity of waterfront, cliffside homes and an aging buyer pool.

More luxury homeowners are installing personal incline elevators to help them get from the shore to their living rooms, the Wall Street Journal reported. The elevators themselves cost roughly between $50,000 to $250,000 and permitting costs can add upwards of $20,000, depending on municipal regulations.

The trend is particularly pronounced in California. Hill Hiker, a company that builds about 40 incline elevators a year, said half of its projects are in the Golden State, where baby boomers want to cut down on hillside hikes.

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Movie director Marcus Nispel, whose credits include “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Friday the 13th,” dropped a whopping $150,000 on an incline elevator for his Malibu home. The property, on Encinal Bluffs, is on the market as a summer rental for $150,000 per month.

Co-listing agent Markus Canter of Berkshire Hathaway Beverly Hills said that, without the elevator, the property would likely rent for 10 to 15 percent less.

In some cases, the elevators are a necessity.

Andrea Crossman of Coldwell Banker Schmidt in Lake Michigan said it can be hard to sell a luxury property with 300 or more steps to the lake without one. [WSJ] – Subrina Hudson