What Are Penthouses and Why Are They So Attractive?

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
What Are Penthouses and Why Are They So Attractive?
The word ‘penthouse’ was originally used to describe a house built on the roof of an apartment building. Today, the word is also used to refer to apartment units that are located on the top floor of a tall building.

How are penthouses different from normal apartments?

Penthouses are usually luxuriously outfitted compared to the other units in the block, and tend to have an elevated ceiling. They also tend to be pricier compared to other units in the same apartment. Some penthouses come with outdoor decks as well, featuring splendid views of the city.

What are the benefits of living in a penthouse?

Penthouses can be found atop condominiums, certain commercial buildings, and even HDB flats. Today, penthouses are widely considered to be a symbol of affluence.
Of course, penthouses have more to offer than just an elevated price and a nice view. There are a few benefits that come with a penthouse unit that other apartments lack.
The large space allows for set ups such as a bar counter in Penthouses - PropertyGuru Singapore
The large space allows for set ups such as a bar counter in Penthouses


For one, a penthouse grants you much more space compared to an ordinary apartment. Due to their elevated ceiling, a penthouse also allows for more circulation of air, and adds to the feeling of spaciousness.
For high-end penthouses that come with an outdoor space, you also have the freedom of customization. However, you are not allowed to renovate the exterior of the apartment if its appearance will be significantly altered. This includes things such as adding timber decks and extra air-conditioning vents.


Another benefit of a penthouse is the privacy. Although penthouses share the same building with other apartment units, they are sometimes served by a private lift so you don’t have to wait for your ride up. Since you’ll be on the highest floor, you’ll also get to enjoy a great view of the surrounding area.


Another bonus is, of course, the prestige of living in a penthouse, since such developments aren’t common in Singapore. Apart from getting to enjoy top-class furnishings that usually come with resale penthouses, you’re all the way at the top. This means you no longer have to worry about the usual concerns associated with living below another unit, whether its noise or water leaks.

How much do penthouses cost in Singapore?

The prices for penthouses in Singapore will vary greatly depending on where they are located.
High-end penthouses that are located in hotspots such as Wallich Residence, can go up to $4,900 per square foot (psf). The Seafront on Mayer is a middle-tier penthouse that is selling for approximately $2,199 psf. More affordable penthouses such as the Marque @ Irrawaddy fetch a price tag of around $1,600 psf.

Super Penthouses

Penthouses are already luxurious, but ‘super penthouses’ take things a step further. To qualify as a super penthouse, an apartment unit has to be built on top of a 1,000 feet building, and have a minimum size of 10,000 sq ft.
Given such lofty criteria, it’s no surprise that the world only has 11 super penthouses. What’s surprising is that six of these super penthouses are actually located in Singapore.
Super penthouses in Singapore have been known to sell for prices above $60 million, with only two falling short of that amount. In fact, the British billionaire and founder of Dyson, James Dyson, recently purchased Singapore’s most expensive super penthouse for $73.8 million. Despite the hefty price tag, it appears that the apartment had a previous asking price of $100 million to $108 million – making it a bargain deal for James Dyson.

What should you consider when buying a penthouse?

Penthouses are not cheap and other associated costs add to the overall expense - PropertyGuru Singapore
Penthouses don’t come cheap, and other associated costs add to the overall expense
Apart from the purchase cost, there are other associated expenses you’ll need to consider before purchasing a penthouse.

Maintenance Fees

Those living in non-landed property would be aware that a maintenance fee or a conservancy charge needs to be paid every month. This money goes into the upkeep of the general area around your home, such as the void decks, carparks, and lifts.
For the sake of comparison, let’s say you live in a regular HDB flat, and are planning to upgrade to a HDB penthouse. Taking a look at the Tanjong Pagar Town Council website, you can see that the conservancy charge for a HDB penthouse in the area is already $172 a month. That’s over double the charges of that for a 5-room flat in the same area.
And this is merely for a HDB penthouse. If you’re looking at a non-HDB penthouse, you’ll be looking at much more. Maintenance fees for condominiums are already about $300 on average, with some going up to $1,000. If you’re living in a condominium penthouse, you can expect to pay a higher maintenance fee than the normal units in the development.


There’s also the cost of renovation to consider.
If you’re living in a penthouse, you probably want to take a few liberties with all that space. That means the erection of walls and installation of electrical cables over a pretty large area. It’s impossible to put a price tag on renovations since it’s highly dependent on the homeowner’s vision, but be prepared to set aside about $100,000 if you’re intending to do major renovations on your penthouse.
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