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Why are the Vista penthouses not selling?

This is question I have gotten several times in just the last week. In fact, I get questions about Vista frequently.

Three words…Priced too high!

When The Cosmopolitan went on the market, it was a very different market. Buyers were paying a premium, and they knew it! They were hoping at the time that the hot market would continue and that the values would catch up to the the prices they paid. They were lucky because that is what happened. Today, not the case! The condo market has slowed a ton. Last month, of all listings in the Pearl, over 50% of those listings had to reduce their price. Days on market for higher end condos is now over 100 days! For many penthouses that have been on the market, we have seen multiple price reductions…not just one!

So, when I say that the Vista penthouse units are priced too high, I would like to support my comments. When The Cosmopolitan came on the market, I was very critical about the new building. The fact was that while I did like many things about the new building, I just had issues with the pricing. With the Vista, I believe that some of the lower priced units are in line with the current market. The penthouse units are a whole different story. For one, they are not like the cosmo penthouse units and do not deserve similar pricing. They are very linear and do not offer the floor to ceiling windows and views that you find in The Cosmopolitan. This is a big one because this is something buyers really like. In addition, look at the floor plans below. There is a stark difference between the amount of windows in The Cosmo compared to that of the Vista. In my opinion, this is why they are not selling! Also, the developers are asking 27th and 28th floor prices (The Cosmopolitan) for 19, 20 and 21st story units. I must say, I got a little giggle each time I saw the adds for Vista that asked “Ever wonder what the views are like from the Penthouse? My immediate thought was … ya, like the views from the 21st Floor at the Cosmopolitan that were priced at $875 a square foot…not over $1250 a foot! And to be honest, I do not believe that the Vista penthouse views are as good as the 19th – 21st floors at The Cosmopolitan.

The below floor plan is from the Penthouse #2815 at The Cosmopolitan. It offers panoramic views to the east with Mt. Hood and to the south with stunning city views!

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Now lets take a look at the Vista penthouse on the South side #2108 currently priced at $3,216,000 . It is very clear when you look at them side by side the difference in the amount of windows/walls. Which is going to offer the better and more panoramic views…hands down it is Cosmopolitan #2815! In addition, #2815 is seven stories higher which adds tremendous value ( and if you remember, Hoyt put a premium of about $88,000 per floor above the 20th floor in the Cosmo).

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Now lets take a look to the East. In most buildings, having an east view of Mt. Hood gets a premium. But, when your views are out of windows like shown below from Vista #2108…is it worth it?

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Options! If you are in the market for a Portland penthouse, you have options. Unlike when the Cosmopolitan went on the market, a buyer has many more options then at that time. Back then, inventory was very low. In addition, condos are staying on the market longer and we are seeing many price reductions. If you are thinking about a penthouse purchase in Portland, here are a few good options:

1st: Pinnacle #1403 $2,488,000 – While you will be slightly lower being on the 14th floor, I believe your views are really much better. With #1403, you get true floor to ceiling windows with exceptional views to the south and the nighttime city lights. This unit was recently remodeled so you are getting everything brand new just as if you were buying at Vista! Like the Vista penthouses, this one offers 2600 square feet.

2nd: This is a penthouse that I like a lot… The Elizabeth #1502 $2,950,000 Another unit with many floor to ceiling windows looking to the West Hills and the city lights to the south. This 2-level penthouse has tons of character. With 3443 square feet, it is much larger than all six of the Vista penthouses and compares more closely to #2815 at The Cosmo which has 3131 square feet. This one has been on the market for awhile now after several price reductions… and you might be able to pick it up for an even lower price.

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3rd: While this Portland penthouse is not in The Pearl District, it does deserve mention… #1301 at The Strand $2,395,000 – This 13th floor penthouse offers spectacular river, marina and city light views! Offering 3220 square feet with walls of windows, this unit offers some of the best daytime and nighttime views! If you can put up with some “white noise” from the rooftop deck, it offers stunning views…see below!

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In closing, I just want to say I am a fan of any new condo building in the Pearl District or any other area of downtown Portland. With any luck we will get other developers looking at our great city with plans to build something that is uniquely Portland. As for Vista, sales have been much slower this time around. As I mentioned, there are some reasonable values at Vista…just not at the penthouse level! I do not believe that the designs, layouts and views are worthy of the $2,821,000 to $3,335,000 pricing.

Brad Golik is a condo specialist with Total Property Resources and LuxuryCondosofPortland.com You can reach him at 503-896-8856 or at pdxluxcondos@gmail.com

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