High Rise Living – Whether to Live High or Low

    Pacific Gate San Diego

    There’s something unmistakably alluring about vertical living. A marvel of modern technology, those glistening steel and glass-clad spires that pierce the sky embrace condos that not only have some of the most amazing views imaginable but also supply services and amenities generally found only in the finest hotels.

    However, as is the case when purchasing a single family home, the search for a ‘home in the sky’ demands an equal amount of considerations – location, proximity to shopping and entertainment, and of course in San Diego, freeway access. Along with these concerns, there’s a secondary factor that can profoundly affect your daily lifestyle:  the floor on which you live.  Generally, it is believed that the higher up you go, the better. The reality is that each option, whether top, middle or bottom, all have advantages which are worth evaluating before deciding that life at the top is the only place to be.

    Penthouse Living

    Without question, top floor or penthouse residences offer a huge amount of plusses including breathtaking panoramic views, a lofty escape from street traffic and noise, and of course having no overhead neighbors generally guarantees peace and quiet. Nevertheless, although asking prices go up with every floor, the views only marginally improve above a certain height depending on how tall the surrounding buildings are.

    Another potential drawback is that outdoor terraces are impossible above 40 stories due to wind, and windows only partially open. Overall there’s mostly a psychological component to living on the top floor in a building, even though materially the views don’t change.

    Lowest Floors

    Often the lesser-priced condos can be found on lower floors, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t worthy contenders as your new home. Despite the fact your views might not be quite as spectacular as those on higher floors, frequently these homes will have balconies or even full terraces to make up for any lacking vista. There’s also a convenience factor associated with the lower floors, as closer proximity to the lobby or parking means considerable ease when carrying in heavy loads, i.e., groceries.

    As for energy consumption, you have the advantage of less expensive AC bills in the summertime since cool air naturally reigns in lower locations. A possible disadvantage may be increased noise from street traffic, but for many, that’s simply the price paid for city living and ultimately is only a minor hitch.

    Life in the Middle

    Even though both top and bottom floors have distinct advantages, the middle floors get my vote almost every time. Nestled in the treetops, views from the middle floors are frequently just as spectacular as those of higher floors, and due to the lower elevation, city lights are more pronounced. When it comes to heating and cooling, you get the best of both worlds – sunlight filtered through surrounding buildings keeps the space cool in the summer, and in winter rising heat from the lower floors helps maintain a moderate temperature.

    Lastly, depending on the height of the building, you may also get that coveted outdoor space that higher floors cannot accommodate. For many, life in the middle is far from ordinary and is, in a sense, just right.

    In the end, when it comes to finding the perfect high-rise home it’s simply a question of your lifestyle, budget, and of course personal preference. Nevertheless, before you decide that life on the top is the only place to be, definitely take a look at what the floors below have to offer. You may very well find that just a few floors down make a better fit for your lifestyle and needs when it comes to finding your perfect place in the sky.


    Blog and photograph credit to Ascent Real Estate REALTOR, Max Mervis. Contact him today to find out how he can help you purchase your San Diego high rise!

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