Rooftop decks are the new backyards as competition for space becomes increasingly intense in urban areas. Real-estate developers find they need to invest more in these high-end decks than they would in a typical backyard deck, but the upgrades also add more value to the property.

A bare-bones deck typically costs a builder $15,000 to $20,000 and adds $20,000 to $30,000 to the value of the home, says California-based consultant John Burns. A larger and more extensive deck costs an average of $32,000 but adds $44,000 in revenue. Roof decks add an average of 6% to 8% to the value of a home.

Returns vary depending on the view and the amenities the developer provides.

Very elaborate rooftop decks include outdoor kitchens, high-end furniture, and trellised areas offering partial shade. Roof decks also are becoming standard at luxury rental apartments as rising rents are prompting tenants to look for more features.

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