Views, location, exclusivity, privacy and status are what buyers are prepared to pay a premium for, according to Ross Levin, licensee for Seeff Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl.
Whether it is the spectacular sight over the Atlantic Seaboard and out towards Robben Island, endless views over the warm Indian Ocean in Umhlanga, or the spectacular cityscapes offered by Sandton penthouses, demand for these penthouses are growing.
From Marilyn Monroe to Taylor Swift, globally, penthouses are highly sought-after by wealthy buyers. Reasons include mainly the views and exclusivity given that they usually come with direct lift access, luxury interiors, and often a concierge and valet service as well. It is also about status and convenience, says Levin.
The most expensive penthouses in the world have all sold for over $100m (close to R2bn). These include the Odeon Tower Penthouse in Monaco ($440m), Penthouse D in One Hyde Park in London ($237m), the Ritz-Carlton Penthouse in New York ($118m), Woolworth Tower Residence in New York ($110m), House No 1 in The Peak in Hong Kong ($102m), and CitySpire Penthouse in New York ($100m).
Levin says penthouses continue to achieve the highest prices on average for apartments, often higher prices compared to houses. Reasons for this include rarity as there is usually only one penthouse in a building, and it is always on the top one to two floors with unobstructed 360-degree views.
They are usually quite spacious, anything up to 600m² to 1000m² with superior finishes, en-suite bedrooms, luxury at the touch of a button, and often fronted or surrounded by terraces, sometimes with a private pool. They also often come with five-star amenities including access to a gymnasium, direct lift access and so on.
The most exclusive penthouses are those located on Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard and in Sandton. Depending on the location, Cape Town penthouses command a price premium of around 40% to 50% compared to other apartments. Prices are now in the R55m (around $3m) to R250m ($13m) range for Cape Town penthouses.
The most exclusive include the three One&Only penthouses at the Waterfront (Seeff sold two of these for record prices of R110m and R55.5m (shell scheme, R85m completed value) a few years ago). Penthouses at the Waterfront Marina have achieved top prices of R55m to R65m and current listings range from R45m to R55m according to Finella Botes, an agent with Seeff Waterfront.
Clifton is arguably the top location these days with penthouses overlooking Moses Beach such as Eventide ranging upwards of R120m. Penthouses in Bantry Bay and Sea Point are also increasingly in demand according to Adrian Mauerberger, a luxury sectional title agent with Seeff. The most exclusive are The Bantry (Bantry Bay), Aurum (Bantry Bay), and The President (Bantry Bay). Other popular penthouses include St Johns Estate (Sea Point), La Camargue (Sea Point), and The Fresnaye (Fresnaye). Prices range from upwards of R30m.
In the Sandton area, a Waterfall City penthouse reportedly sold for R75m this year. According to Charles Vining, MD for Seeff Sandton, the most exclusive penthouses include the Michelangelo and Da Vinci, but the stock of exclusive penthouses is growing.
Prices can range upwards of R80m to as much as R250m and more. The Michelangelo Towers penthouse sold in 2014 for R43m and listed in 2018 for R50m. The Regent in Morningside was also sold in 2016 for R31m, and again on the market in 2018 for R60m.
According to Anni Eisele, licensee from Seeff Umhlanga, there are only a few penthouses in Umhlanga and the price premium compared to other apartments is anything between 45% to 50% for an exclusive penthouse. The most in-demand include the Oysters which sold off-plan for R13m and resold around two years’ later at R29m. Now refurbished, it is valued at R35m. The Pearls of Umhlanga penthouse sold in 2021 for R50m which is the highest penthouse price achieved in Durban/Umhlanga.