Does It Pay To Be At The Top? Pros and Cons of Buying Higher Floor Units
Tuesday Feb 16th, 2021
With high rise condo buildings all the rage these days, people often wonder if buying a unit on the top floor is worth the extra money, or what builders like to call the “floor premium”. Since purchasing a condo in Toronto can weight heavy on your pockets, it helps to take a practical approach while searching for investment options, especially when we talk about units that are higher up. Builders often cite better views and added security as luxe amenities, but increased cost for a higher unit only makes sense if you are planning to live in it yourself. If you are looking for an investment condo, it may seem superficial. Not to mention, you should also gauge the resale value of units on the upper tier to be sure that you will get a higher return on your investment for purchasing a condo unit on the top floor. Let’s look at both sides of the coin before we decide whether being on the top is worth the extra money you fork out.
Let’s look at an obvious advantage: top floors enjoy an amazing view of the sweeping Toronto skyline. You get dramatic views of the city, and ample natural light without any neighboring buildings or trees blocking out the sun. Also, the higher up you go, the more peaceful it becomes. Traffic sounds generally wane on the upper floors, which is why they are more serene and quiet. No more honking vehicles, thundering trains, or buses screeching to a halt in the middle of the night.
Also, there are fewer units on the upper floors, which works for people who value their space and privacy. If you don’t want people passing by your front door every other minute, or listen to incessant cacophony of screaming voices from the pool or play area, you may be better off purchasing a unit on a higher floor.
The best part is that you don’t have to worry about air pollution the higher up you go. If you want to open your condo windows or relax on the balcony without being bombarded with vehicle emissions, pollens, and dust, you should definitely choose the higher floors. Not to mention, upper floors are usually considered more secure. This is because burglars are highly unlikely to scale multiple floors to break into your condo. Therefore, you can open the windows to allow in fresh air, without fretting about intruders. People who live on the ground floor also complain of cigarette butts, bits of food, candy wrappers, unsecured pieces of laundry, etc. landing on their window or aircon ledges. Living on the upper floors prevents your unit from being used as a dump site.
If you are purchasing a Toronto condo for investment purposes, it makes sense to buy on the upper floors, since the units at the top tier command higher rents. The premium rate derives from all the above mentioned benefits of being at the top – great views, better air quality, added security, and less traffic noise. Not to mention, there is usually a higher demand for upper floor units, which is why you can expect an increase of about +0.35% in resale over lower floor units.
The greatest disadvantage of higher floors is definitely the increased price. All the listed advantages one can enjoy from the upper floors come at a price. Also, have you factored in the increased dependence on elevators? What if the elevators shut down or if a neighbor is moving in or out, or there’s a long queue waiting outside just when you are already getting late to work? By the time you get downstairs, your Uber driver may have scooted off! If you’re living thirty floors above, you are totally dependent on the elevators, unless you count the stairs as a great leg work out! For older development, you want to look at the condition of the lifts before buying in.
Not to mention, condos that are higher up could catch the greenhouse effect during the summers. As they are directly hit by the sun, temperatures flare up, causing your electric bills to skyrocket. Also, if you have small children or elderly at home, it makes more sense to move into a lower floor.