Are 8-Foot Ceilings A Deal Breaker?

Ceiling height is usually one of the last things a first time buyer thinks about, and one of the first things a repeat or move-up buyer thinks about.

Why? Well, it’s something that makes a huge impact on the ‘feel’ of an apartment, but most people who have never owned a condo or loft take it for granted that their condo/loft will have high ceilings – not necessarily. When it comes to pre-construction or resale, are 8′ ceilings a deal breaker?

I posed this question on Twitter yesterday and got a couple responses from the Toronto real estate community. symmetrydevelop said low ceilings are a deal breaker because volume of space is vitally important. buzzbuzzhome made the point that low ceilings can work in a space that is wide and has floor to ceiling windows. I’d have to agree with both comments. Volume of space, not just floor square footage, makes a very big difference in how a suite feels, but at the same time, so does layout and window placement/height.

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The Reality Is That I Would Wager To Say That The Vast Majority Of Downtown Buildings Have 8′ Ceilings Today.

This is mostly because most of the existing stock was built 10+ years ago. It wasn’t until the past 5 years or so that 9′ ceilings and ‘soft loft’ living has really taken off and now buyers basically EXPECT 9′ ceilings (whether they realize it or not). That being said, the buildings that are the best selling buildings today and have the highest appreciation rates tend to be the ones built in the last 5 years and they tend to have 9′ ceilings (or higher). Some A1 buildings that actually do have units with 8′ ceilings include King’s Court (230 King st E), One City Hall (111 Elizabeth), and The Mosaic (736 Spadina).

I suspect that as the condo market continues to evolve and buyers continue to demand more and more for their money, 9′ ceilings will become standard and 10′ ceilings will be the next obvious step (although it may take some time). Buildings like Theater Park are already lauding that many suites have 10′ ceilings, and many ‘penthouse’ level units in pre-construction have 10′ ceilings.

Quick tip for buyers

Don’t assume because a building has some units with 9′ ceilings that all units have 9′ ceilings. Many buildings have lower ceiling heights on the lower levels and as you rise up the building the heights go up too.

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