Elevators are increasingly giving new home sales a leg up in Philadelphia and nationally, reports Alison Burdo in the Inquirer. The target market is downsizing baby boomers, now in their 50s and older, who want to extend their independent living in future years.

Installations are going up, with 12% of homeowners now saying an elevator is a desirable feature. Meanwhile, costs are going down, from an average of $60,000 a decade ago to $25,000 today.

Once you hit four stories an elevator is all but a must, says Matt Pincus, who owns West Chester-based Pincus Elevator Co. “At a certain price range, an elevator is part of the deal,” he told Burdo.

From Artisan Townhouses to Clarke Real Estate Development L.L.C. to Bryn Mawr-based Michael Cutler Builders Inc, developers are putting them in many townhouses, or at least offering them as an option.

Some buyers fear they could break down, a sign that we may still be on the ground floor of the home elevator industry. But this fear will almost certainly diminish. Consider: what homebuyer declines to bid because they fear the dishwasher will break down? Virtually none. Once elevators become ubiquitous, and once buyers understand that maintenance contracts are routine, it’s likely people will treat them as an amenity they can trust.

That growing familiarity may already be giving a lift to Pincus’s elevator pitch: in the Artisan Townhouse development in the 1400 blocks of Bainbridge, Pemberton, and Kater Streets, only one remains unsold—and it likely would have sold if it had been one of the houses with an elevator.