There’s nothing as glamorous as a luxury penthouse set high in the sky. But will a buyer make their money back?In April, a record price was set with an overseas buyer paying $25 million for a penthouse taking up the entire 100th level of what will be Australia’s tallest building, 108.That price buys 750 sqm of living space 319 metres above Melbourne’s Southbank, and beats the previous record of $19.3 for an East Melbourne penthouse in 2009. It comes just a month after a $10.5 million penthouse sold in what will be Sydney’s tallest tower, the 235 metre Greenland Centre.

But will an owner-occupier find their penthouse’s value struggling to keep pace with the market?

Tracey Chandler of Premium Property Finder in Sydney’s eastern suburbs says luxury penthouses are a different kind of market.

“This market has a whole different mindset, and people buy into it for lifestyle reasons with the size and aspect of the entertaining area assuming a much greater importance than its future value.

“In this market, a great view is paramount. If you looked at two identical penthouses and one had a view of the Harbour Bridge or the Opera House, that one would be more likely to keep pace with the rest of the market than one which is looking the wrong way.”

Sydney off the plan apartmentAn artist’s impression of the penthouse suite at Sydney’s Greenland Centre shows never-before-seen views of the Sydney harbour

Chandler says the penthouse market in Sydney is similar to Hong Kong, where uninterrupted water views and an impressive entertaining space drive values in the upper brackets of the market.

Uninterrupted water views and impressive entertaining space drives value up.

Melbourne city view from Eureka TowerThere are views from every room at 6908 ‘Eureka’ 7 Riverside Quay Southbank

“I would start with the development first and ask myself one questions. Is the development an iconic building which stands out on the skyline? A good example is the Eureka Tower which features in nearly every promotional video made of Melbourne.

Herman points out that Melbourne has been slow to adopt penthouse living but says take-up has been buoyed over the last five years by an increasing number of options.

You want your penthouse in a tower filled with other high calibre units.

Chris O’Shaughnessy  has been seeing more penthouses in the sub $2 million bracket in the former industrial suburbs scattered around Melbourne’s inner east and says in this market a view is important, but so is the ability to impress.

“You are dealing with well-heeled buyers who want a great view, but they are also motivated by the ability to entertain outdoors, so a good-sized terrace in a popular lifestyle location will always make a penthouse stand out.”