Views = Money | Urban Living
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Views = Money

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Utah is known for its scenery, maybe too much these days. Our Mighty 5 national parks are full to capacity more often than not as visitors from all over the globe discover the red rock vistas. Along the Wasatch Front, we see breathtaking silhouettes of our section of the Rocky Mountains. And I love the bad-ass flat and barren-as-hell Salt Flats and West Desert. To coin an old marketing phrase, "It's a pretty great state," (for views and scenery, of course).

In contrast, New York City has some killer views if you like the man-made kind. And damn do you pay to get them. The New York Times real estate section recently published the price of a condo that offers a panorama of the famous outlines of the steel-and-concrete buildings that surround Central Park. Located at 157 W. 57th Street, the 6,200-square-foot condo is listed for $58.5 million and offers a stunning panoramic view of the park. The listing agent was quoted saying that a "buyer would pay a 25% premium for those soaring views, compared with what it would cost to buy an apartment on a lower floor." As a native New Yorker, I can agree that views of the park are wonderful.

The highest residential buildings in downtown Salt Lake are American Towers and City Creek condos. Units in the Towers go for wildly different prices when there's a great view. City Creek condos have temple, mountain, sunset or city views or a combo thereof. They are the most expensive units in the city in terms of price per square foot. Currently, there are two units at 99 W. South Temple with killer views going for $1,575,000 (2,300-square-foot two bedroom) and $1,950,000 (2,800-square-foot three bedroom). The rule of thumb in real estate is the higher up you go in a building, the more money you'll pay. Antone Frandsen, a local appraiser, says views can increase values 5-10%. You know views are important when you travel and check nightly rates for a hotel room. In some cases, you'll pay 10-50% more to get a beach versus city view. Or book a cruise ship cabin and find that no view (interior) versus balcony or window are wildly different in price. The most expensive view for a condo in Utah currently is at the Montage in Deer Valley. It costs $8,050,000 with 4,000 square feet, four bedrooms and five baths ($1,979 per square foot). Not only are the mountain views stunning, but it's a concierge building where a staff hefts your bags, collects your dry cleaning and mails your packages.

Oh, and FYI, there's another high rise going up at City Creek next door to the condos at 99 West—a 25-story office tower, not residences.