Seven things to look for when buying a penthouse

In the current property market many people are opting out of houses and into apartments. Aegean Zhang, Sales Director of luxury real estate agency, JAMI Real Estate, has reported a recent surge in property buyers looking exclusively for penthouses. As society adjusts to the world post-COVID, more people want the experience where they can work comfortably from home without the maintenance demands of yards, gardens and pools – which is accommodated with most penthouses. 

Based in Sydney, New South Wales, Zhang is the powerhouse behind the marketing and sales departments within the boutique firm. JAMI Real Estate was founded in late 2020 by Director Gimmy Pan and Principal Jane Lin. They’re an innovative, technology-driven real estate agency that specialises in luxury property management, buying and selling property in Sydney. 

“Young professionals and older Aussies are the two key demographics that are swooping up penthouses across the capital cities of Australia. They are looking to move into apartments that tower over the city scape and provide breathtaking views and privacy,” said Zhang. 

“They also want the convenience of access to shops, restaurants, bars, parks, complex facilities and views.  The other issue is that property with land is going up in value pricing many people out of the market.  Penthouses actually provide affordable luxury with the maintenance.”

According to Zhang, there are seven things you must look for when considering purchasing a penthouse. 

  1. Location 

According to Zhang, whether your penthouse purchase is for your forever home, a stepping stone, or just a holiday home or investment property, you want to look for a stellar location. 

“Unsurprisingly, penthouses in prime locations provide investors with the highest returns and homeowners with the greatest equity. Outstanding investment penthouses aren’t restricted to one or two neighbourhoods, so you can think long term. Otherwise, a real estate professional who specialises in the luxury market can help you find the right penthouse, in a location that meets your needs,” Zhang added. 

“I suggest looking for a penthouse that is in a location that is difficult to replace, such as nearby a beach or in the heart of the city. Also looking for amenities close by is important, such as hospitals, grocery stores, schools and post offices.

“Areas that are going through processes of gentrification are also ideal as their value is likely to keep increasing.  The key is to pick the right location with unlosable views.”

  1. Privacy 

“Typically, penthouses are located on the top floor of apartment buildings, which means you don’t have to worry about an upstairs neighbours. Penthouses also generally have all of their features built in so that you do not have to share with anyone else in the building, such as an elevator, bin shoot and balcony. When looking at penthouses, I suggest looking for one that you have the entire floor to yourself, or only one or two others. The less people on your level means less ambient noise and more privacy,” said Zhang.


“The view from a penthouse is no doubt why so many people are willing to pay more for a top floor apartment. Sure, most apartments carry some form of view, but a penthouse offers gorgeous views that are incomparable by other apartments in the building,” Zhang said. 

“When taking the view from an apartment into consideration, look for expansive floor-to-ceiling windows and skylines that feature iconic sights, such as the ocean or landmarks. Also, deliberate what the view will look like at different points in the day or year.

“Penthouses are not always on the top floor.  This is changing.  The term penthouse is now usually more of a marketing term that refers to an apartment with a unique layout in the building, plenty of  outdoor space, and great views – but it’s not necessarily on the top floor.”

  1. Balcony or terrace 

“If you have taken the plunge to purchase a penthouse you want to make the most of your view and privacy. A private balcony or terrace is a must for top floor apartments. Outdoor space will increase the value of your home and impress every visitor,” Zhang said. 

  1. Bedrooms 

“If you are purchasing a luxury penthouse, you should expect it to come with all of the bells and whistles included – and that includes the bedroom. Before you purchase a penthouse, check that the floor plan is palatial in terms of the bedroom; a walk in wardrobe, extravagant ensuite, double sink and free standing bath. Of course, your preferences may slightly differ, however not valuing a luxurious bedroom may mean you are sharing your bathroom with guests or your children,” said Zhang. 

  1. Parking 

According to Zhang, centrally located penthouses can cause a lot of buzz in the real estate world, however the chatter can quickly dull when the issue of parking arises. A potential draw back of an inner city penthouse can be limited access to secure and free parking. 

“Parking can be easily overlooked if you are swept away by a beautiful penthouse, however it is an important conversation to have with your real estate agent. If you don’t, you will likely have to rely on expensive street parking that isn’t reserved for your building or safe,” Zhang added. 

  1. Open concept floor plan 

“An open concept floor plan is incredibly appealing in penthouses. Boxing off rooms limits the wow factor of a luxury penthouse and decreases the view potential,” Zhang emphasised. 

“Instead, look for high ceilings, natural light, expansiveness and open living areas that face your breathtaking view. The more natural light that flows into your apartment, the more luxe it will feel throughout the day.

“Newer properties are likely to be open plan, where as older ones may be more compartmentalised.   If the property has good scope for renovation to knock down walls and open up the space without the need to seek body corporate approval , then this could be a good option and a wise investment as long as you don’t over capitalise.” 

Zhang states that penthouses usually involve unique stock and can be harder to find.  

“Because you may only find a few penthouses in one suburb, they are in short supply and this makes them a good investment and a wise addition to a property portfolio,” Zhang added. 

“Modern penthouses offer a broader range of options in today’s market such as sky homes, and sub penthouses, which makes them more affordable and accessible to buyers.”