clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Decoded: What Are We Calling a 'Penthouse' These Days?

New, 8 comments

Welcome back to The Brokerbabble Glossary, where we take a word or a turn of phrase that seems to show up in an unreasonable number of listings and decipher its true meaning. If you have any ideas for us, send them to the tipline. Today's word: Penthouse.

[Unit 42D at the Infinity, via Redfin]

The word 'penthouse' is used loosely around this town. By definition, it means:

We've made the mistake of calling an ordinary top floor condo a penthouse before, and commenters came out in droves to correct us. By definition, it's a special unit on the top floor of a building. We think most would agree that said building must be more than a few stories, but please squabble away in the comments if you think we're wrong. The real estate agents will disagree with us. As you can see below many different dwellings are often referred to as a 'penthouse.'

[3445 Moraga Street, via Redfin]

Not ground level:

It's gotten to the point where a real estate agent thinks it's okay to market a unit as a penthouse if there's a unit below. This is both unfair and inaccurate.


This is 165 Collingwood in Eureka Valley/Dolores Heights. Or the Castro if you're not a real estate agent. It's a 3-level, 3-unit building that has a 2-level penthouse on the top floor. It's very luxury and has top tier designer finishes.

What say you, dear readers? Do these three units qualify as penthouses? Let us know in the comments!