SimCity BuildIt: How To Build Skyscrapers

SimCity BuildIt: How To Build Skyscrapers

Hello Mayors! Ever see those high rise skyscrapers in your city? What about those sleek metal high-rise buildings? Can’t quite figure out why they appeared along your skyline? Or perhaps you are just starting the game and want to know how?!

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Look no further! Its our SimCity BuildIt: How To Build Skyscrapers Guide! 

Step 1: Create Residential Zones

Icon Building Name Price Grid Size
Resident Zone Residential Zone Free 2×2 (4)
  • You can have a maximum of three (3) plots ready for construction laid out
  • Upgradeable by completing building plans that require certain resources and materials
    • You can request to have new plans drawn (wait time: 30 minutes, cost: free)

Step 2: Know The Upgrade Schedule

There are 5 upgrade levels before a residential zone is at ‘max’ level. At max (Tier 6), a building is in it’s final form and cannot be upgraded further.

Upgrade Schedule
Upgrade Tier Zone Name Population Increase (Standard Zone) Population Increase (Tokyo Town Zone)
0 Base Residential Zone 52 ??
1 Small Family Home 104 ??
2 Large Family Home 154 ??
3 Small Apartment 313 ??
4 Large Apartment 752 ??
5 Small Tower 1836 ??
6 Skyscraper Max Max
At T6, you will have hi-rise buildings, BUT the look depends on its land value and its wealth forecast. See below.


Step 3: Raise Your Land Value

When you go to upgrade your residential zones, you will notice a blue icon with 3 bars. This is the land value screen. Land value is a measure of how attractive a particular area of land is to Sims. Deeper blue means higher land value, while lighter blue means lower. This also affects which type of building a residential building will upgrade into.

Icon - Land Value
Land Value Spectrum
Things that raise land value:
  • Providing utility services (power, water, sewage, waste management)
  • Providing coverage services (police, fire, and health)
  • Providing specialization services (parks, education, gambling, etc.)
  • Government buildings (town hall, city hall, mayors mansion)

Things that lower land value:
  • Lack of utility services
  • Lack of coverage services
  • Lack of specialization services
  • Pollution from factories and utilities
  • City storage (government building)


Color Requirements
Lightest Blue No utility services
No coverage service
Light Blue Has utility service & coverage service
Blue Has coverage service
Has 1 specialization
Dark Blue Has coverage service
Has at least 2 specializations

The lightest blue areas have no coverage service while the light blue has coverage service. The blue area has 1 specialization (provided by my community college) and the dark blue area has at least 2 specializations (provided by my luxury casino, parks, and community colleges). My factories lower the land value of the surrounding areas as well as preventing buildings from raising up land values.

Post Content - Land Value
Land Value Screen
Important Note
When you upgrade a residential area, it will take the building style of the area the residence is currently placed in as well as provide lower wealth and taxes.
EX. a home upgraded in a low land value area will have the appearance of a low wealth residence


Step 4: Check Your Buildings Wealth Forecast

The previous section, land value, determines the wealth forecast of homes (yellow hard hat icon) and the type of home your residential zones will upgrade to. Higher land values lead to more luxurious homes. There are three types of homes that homes can upgrade to:

Icon - Wealth Forecast
Wealth Forecast Measurement


Wealth Forecast Requirements
Home Type Requirements
Standard Homes No requirements (Buildings with or without utility & coverage services fall under this category)
Premium Homes Has utility & coverage service
Has 1 specialization
Luxurious Homes Has utility & coverage service
Has at least 2 specializations

If you have standard and premium homes that you want to upgrade to luxurious ones, you must raise the land value and provide the requirements listed above to areas where these residences are placed in.

Screenshot - Wealth Forecast
Wealth Forecast Screen
A Note On Taxes/Population
There (sadly) is no difference in taxes or population between any of the three types of zones (thank you to CJDoom_81 for commenting below about his tests and correcting my mistake). The only difference is purely cosmetic (building appearance).


This is SUPER important. Read the following:

  1. First, check your upgrade population reward (+1836 population means it is the Tier 5 upgrade and about to upgrade to the max level)
  2. Then check Wealth Forecast screen (make sure you are in luxury & high land value areas) before max upgrading buildings to ensure you achieve the highest tier residence
  • Once a building is about to upgrade to the maximum level (+1836 Population) it will take the form of its current home type (Standard, Premium, Luxury)
  • If your building is at the maximum tier BUT not a luxurious home, You must BULLDOZE  the building and start from scratch if you want to raise the home type
Some Final Notes
You CAN move residential zones into areas that have luxurious wealth forecasts and high land values to upgrade to the maximum tier and then move them out afterwards.
There seems to be a 'fluctuation' in the way the upgrade schedule works – throughout the process you may find your homes showing up as a lower level than buildings around them (Premium instead of luxury). We think this is done intentionally to add variety in the skyline (or some other reason).
– As long as the FINAL upgrade tier is in high land and luxury wealth, you will have a luxury high rise.

Step 5: Upgrade and Enjoy Luxury High-Rises!

That’s it! If you made sure you:

  • Provided high land value
  • Provided a luxurious wealth forecast

AND you

  • Upgraded the final (T6) level of your residential zones in a high land value and luxurious area

You SHOULD have a shiny new skyscraper!


Luxury Skyscrapers

Skyscrapers List
Luxury Skyscrapers (I’m missing a couple)

These are most of the maximum tier luxury skyscrapers (from the standard residential zone). I’m missing one, so I’ll try and update once I have a better in game screenshot.

Skyscrapers List - Night
Luxury skyscrapers at night
Number Name
1 Ivory Towers
2 The Empire
3 Elysian Heights
4 Wilson Tower
5 The Onyxlux
6 Platinum Tower
7 The One Percent
8 The Highfalutin

There are currently 8 luxury skyscrapers (based on the standard zone). They are ranked in no particular order.

Edit: The Aerie was renamed Platinum tower.

Residential Zone Models

Standard Home
Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4 Tier 5
Wealth - Standard - 1 Wealth - Standard - 2 Wealth - Standard - 3 Wealth - Standard - 4 Wealth - Standard - 5
Premium Home
Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4 Tier 5
Wealth - Premium - 1 Wealth - Premium - 2 Wealth - Premium - 3 Wealth - Premium - 4 Wealth - Premium - 5Wealth - Premium - 6
Luxury Home
Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4 Tier 5
Wealth - Luxury - 1 Wealth - Luxury - 2 (2)Wealth - Luxury - 2 Wealth - Luxury - 3Wealth - Luxury - 3 (3) Wealth - Luxury - 4 (4)Wealth - Luxury - 4 Wealth - Luxury - 5Wealth - Luxury - 5 (1)

The models that appear seems to be randomly assigned. If you want a different look you must bulldoze and start over.

This is by no means a complete list. This is merely a reference to some of the models I have found when upgrading my city

From my experience, some models are interchangeable between premium and luxury as well as standard and premium (that is, you can have the same model in both home types). The highest tier skyscrapers will NOT appear in standard homes, only in the premium and luxury end, with the more luxurious and modern appearing in luxury only.


Thanks for reading! Please drop a comment and leave pictures of your luxurious towering skylines in the comments below!


  • costacurta216

    Excellent guide, thank you.

  • Selcouth

    I don’t think Luxurious Homes pay higher taxes. Do you have any proof of this?

    • vortexrap

      I will test this out.. I have heard this as well from several others.. will update with my results.

      EDIT: Another user (in the comments) ran some tests and confirmed luxury buildings pay the same amount in taxes (as well as have the same population as the other home types.

  • Watanyu Yaemsukon

    thanks for this superb guide.

  • CJDoom_81

    I actually tested the difference in population/revenue between luxurious and premium homes a couple weeks ago and unfortunately theres no change. My test went as follows: The test took place in a luxurious wealth forecast area. I demolished willowick condos which is a premium grade building that had originally been constructed when the wealth forecast was lower. I put a new RZ in its spot and upgraded to Elysian heights, which is luxurious. The population and tax revenue ended up being exactly the same before and after the test.

    I was pretty disappointed when I discovered this. Basically, the high grade glass skyscrapers as well as the wealth forecast is only a prime indicator of high tax revenue, it doesnt actually affect the amount of revenue we can collect. The amount of revenue we collect is based solely on base pop + specializations. You can check this thread on the EA forum where we’ve been discussing this as well also I will see if I still have the screenshots of my testing and post them here.


  • CJDoom_81 the sequence on these pics is in reverse order but you can see that population is identical with both types of building. Also note that this test was completely isolated and I didnt do anything else in the city during this time.

    • vortexrap

      Thanks CJDoom_81.. I’ve updated the guide to reflect this. I’m bummed as well, there really should be a significant difference between the 3 wealth types besides appearances.

  • CJDoom_81

    I was really disappointed at first and nearly quit as I had been demolishing old style buildings for newer ones under the assumption that I was increasing revenue. But now I’m on fence about this issue. Aesthetically, the city looks way better having lots of variation, and if we were required to upgrade all our buildings to the top 8 skyscrapers then the city would look too uniform.

    It would be nice if they added a population/revenue boost to high grade buildings but I think they would need to add more variation in building design as well and maybe 20-25 different buildings instead of 8. For me the eye candy aspect of the game is important.

  • SS

    “There seems to be a bug in upgrading luxury homes, where zones that should be luxury are displayed as premium homes instead. I believe you must bulldoze these buildings and upgrade from scratch.”
    This is quite annoying, my luxury homes (dark orange) keep turning into premiere homes(light orange) as they are upgraded to tier2 :-/

  • Elliot Thomas

    I’m having an issue. I have property that shows a dark blue (high land value) and yet it’s yellow when showing “upgrade home to” (standard home). The property has 3 specialization a and full coverage. What’s my problem here? Thanks!

    • vortexrap

      Quote: “There seems to be a bug in upgrading luxury homes, where zones that should be luxury are displayed as premium homes instead. I believe you must bulldoze these buildings and upgrade from scratch.”

      Sadly I/we have been experiencing this bug in our cities. The only way to fix is to bulldoze and restart the process.

    • Matt

      Hello everyone. I had this problem as well. Here is something I noticed that may help you. I was determined to get the really tall obelisk looking skyscrappers. So I set up multiple parks, casino, balloon rides, ferris wheel, community college next to a high and elementary school. Now to build in the highest value area. So with all that set up, I still noticed from time to time, that the building will go from luxury to premium when upgrading between tier 2 or 3. First let me say at this point if one continues to upgrade chances are slim you will get the best of the best of building but as soon as you upgrade to teir 4 or 5 the building changes back to luxary. Usually when construction is completed the result is a decent skyscrapper but usually not one of the top 3 most ascetically pleasing. Also something I’m noticing and I believe was pointed out in the section above is the buildings tend to take the same design as the ones directly next to them. My example. I have two Wilson skyscrapers directly facing one another. The buildings that touches results in more Wilson designs. So change the buildings around your hot spot to produce different style buildings
      I am using one building location ( my building zone hotspot) and moving buildings out of the area). Anyways I hope this helps someone. EOM

      • admin

        Thanks for the tip, will definitly help out a lot of people!

  • CJDoom_81

    Ive noticed the wealth forecast fluctuate regularly during the upgrading process since Ive started the game and I dont think its a bug but rather its done by design. I just make sure its showing luxurious before I do my final upgrade. I think they may do it to add more building variation but I could be wrong.

    Seeing how building grade doesnt affect pop/tax revenue it seems likely to be the reason for the fluctuation.

  • Boipigsa

    Just want to ask how many different models of skyscrappers are there in the game

  • Kai

    Question: So you mention government buildings lower land values? so that means city hall and all buildings in government sections will get affect??

  • list

    Is there anyone who knows the list of the skyscrappers? I make some of them, but i want to make all of them. If anyone know all of the skyscrappers’ name, please tell me or give me the link

  • CJDoom_81

    There are eight different luxurious skyscrapers heres a link to the EA forum and a list of them im not sure how many lower grade buildings there are but I would assume there are also eight different versions for each tier and wealth forecast. So there should be 24 tier 6 buildings and a total of 144 possible buildings for all tier levels and wealth forecasts combined.

  • Sasa

    So, skycrapers has no benefits? No more taxes, no more people, no more exp points? Why we must spent simcoins in specializations?

  • Eric

    My residential zones start out luxurious after tier 2 they turn standard and never changed back to luxurious. I have 100% happiness. I have a parks, education, and transportation covering it. It has highland value. There is no factories near it. It has all utility service. I also never moved its places. How can I fix this? Thank you.

    • Leo

      you need at least 5 services and 2 specializations in order to have a luxurious residential zone. that means you need to reach lvl 12 to unlock the first 5 services(power, water, fire, sewage and police), and have build 2 specializations(for example, school and park)
      if you upgrade your residential zone to the last level(1800+ population) in an area that has less than 5 services and 2 specializations, it will get stuck in a non-luxurious look, you have to rebuild it(Dr.Vu repair won’t work)

    • illidan333

      when you upgrade your residential zone into the last level(1800+ population), you need at least 5 types of services and 2 types of specializations covered to have luxurious look.

      • Eric

        Thank you now I have 5 skyscrapers.

  • Rubén

    My city is plenty of houses in tier 2 that, been covered and with specialization,don’t offer me the chance to upgrade!! What I’m doing wrong?

  • Eric

    I was lvl 10 back then

  • raynor

    Can any tell me why one day I was receiving over $13,000 in taxes per 24 hours the next I was getting $7878 and my happiness was at 98% the whole time? Even now when I upgrade buildings my tax rate is still $7878.

    • dsmith

      same issue did you get it figured out?

  • Rebecca

    This guide was very helpful, lately my simcity game has only been allowing me to build 2 new residential homes at one time instead of the 3 it normally does…does anybody have any idea why?

    • Nat

      For most of the game you can build 3 new residential homes at once but between levels 10 and 20 it becomes 2. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because they want to slow your progress as most of the services are released at this time.
      Hope this helps.

      P.S. What level are you on? Just to check i’m not talking tommyrot.

  • Is there a way to pass an upgrade? I made a millionaires row and I want to keep those building the way they are and upgrade others. But it seems like there’s a limit of 5 houses you can upgrade at a time.

  • mandarina hill

    Hi guys,

    I have 286870 population, 100% happy sims, but my level/experiences is too slow??? am only at level 27, i did saw other mayor in Global Trade HQ, even with 100000++ sims, but they already reached level 30++? In before i have more than 20 skyscrapers plus edu, transporatation, entertainment and gambling.


  • rajarm

    that’s what i don’t understand… i’m @ level 34, 100% happiness, 442k pop, all of the residential buildings are luxurious homes, land value is dark blue throughout my city, have most of the specializations (except for the landmarks) …and ONLY 10% of my residential buildings are super tall skyscrapers…why is that???

    I come across other “neighboring” cities all the time that have nothing but super tall skyscrapers…how is that possible??

    Honestly, I sometimes wonder if some of those neighboring cities are fake cities that have been built by the programmers.

    • EPH

      You have to bulldoze your ugly buildings and rebuild from scratch. Annoying but it’ll get you skyscrapers!

  • Joe

    How to get different model of luxury skyscraper ? I keep getting the same model over and over again..

  • Killbethy

    Is there are a comprehensive list of all the building names with their corresponding population density and quality tiers? I know the 8 skyscrapers that make up the luxury, high density… But what about the rest?

  • so , wait, I still don’t get one thing:
    I want to turn a standard home ( not highest tier ) into a luxury home
    is it possible, if so how?

  • Shadowdiver300m

    If every model is randomly assigned but each tier is where the population comes into play,
    is it safe to say that not every “The Emerald” will not produce “The Highfalutin” every time..
    and as long as I hit my 1836 pop cap I should be happy?


    It would seem to me that SOMEONE has made a list somewhere with every name of every tier building at each level…..

    I see a lot of names and a lot of pictures but no list in order…


    I have a williams estate tower

  • Thanx for the guide

  • Matt

    Does anyone know how to get the empire. The tallest sc building

  • Carl

    I don’t get ivory tower why id this?? I get all the other luxury homes so i dont understand why i havent gotten this yet.

  • CARL


  • Nsjet

    Hi, good article. Managed to build some skyscrapers as I have a block that is in the wealth range. However, I noticed that some of my single buildings which start out as deep orange or wealthy will soon turn yellow once they go through one or two upgrades? Is this supposed to happen or is this a bug?

    • miri

      I’m having the same problem. My plots start as dark orange, but as soon as I add more than one upgrade, I’m back to the middle level.

  • Drcharly

    How can I build small houses without the upgrade to bigger buildings?

  • Drcharly

    How can I build small houses without having to upgrade to bigger buildings

  • Luxury homes keeps on downgrading to premium homes during second tier please fix immediately

  • Maxine

    Above I believe you have missed the big house for luxury (I have found trouble trying to upgrade for that), the small tower or I think the big apartment for the premium, and the T6 large tower (skyscraper) for the standard.

  • Monty

    I ha be a doubt sir, I have a Moore building, its in tier5 , if , while upgradation, I put that in high land value zone, then , will I get a luxury skyscraper??Please suggest me…

  • John

    There’s a building in Daniel’s city that is taller than the rest, I haven’t seen it anywhere else. Anyone know how to get it or is it unique to Daniel? It right in the middle of his city.

  • John

    There’s a building in Daniel’s city that is taller than the rest. I haven’t seen it in any other cities. Was wondering if anyone has it or is it unique to Daniel.

  • Charles

    Does anyone know what that huge brown skyscraper is with all windows? Its’s on Daniel’s city and it’s the biggest building. If you guys know what I’m talking about, how do I get it?

  • dyanasatya

    Do the type of materials we use to upgrade matter? i have been using no plastics or metals for environmental reasona hoping mu buildings grown into green towers. Is this possible?

  • Amanda

    When you say that you can move residential zones into luxury zones, update them, and move out, does this apply to already established zones? Or does it have to be from scratch? For example, I have a lot of top tier standard homes and I’d like to make them luxury. Can I do this by moving them onto luxury real estate?

  • Jesús Antonio Cogollo Arias

    Hello and thanks, very helpfully. Can you tell me please… How can I get the Wilson Tower? I have a lot of skycrappers, except the WT… I need something special? Thanks again!

  • Joe

    I have looked at Daniels town and noticed that he has what appears to be a residential zone however its ground area is 2 × 4 (or two houses put together into 1) Is this just an aesthetic thing only in Daniels city or is it possible to get these?

    • Mousey Chris

      I also saw it in another city, but I can’t understand what it is 🙁

    • Mousey Chris

      Oh, I’ve found it!
      It’s Empire State Building from Landmarks’/culture specialization

  • Ri Lo

    Help please! I placed my specialisation buildings and services around, and when I put in a residential zone it is luxury but as soon as I upgrade it it changes to premium homes?

    • Manan Gulati

      I’m having the same problem! Someone help!

      • babadivad

        Was happening to me as well. You need two different specializations for the luxury homes to stay that way as you upgrade them.

  • Aaron

    Very useful. I actually ripped a lot of my skyscrapers down. They are all so boring now. I am only interested in Tier 2, 3 and 4 buildings of premium and luxury zones. My focus is on creating a variety of buildings. I would love to see a full set of photos of each different variety to create diversity in my city. Also, would love to see a full set of standard and premium Tokyo town building (not luxury). Also, what is the difference between “Land Value” and “Wealth Forecast” and how to does one without the other affect the type of building? I’m trying to mix it up and create a full spectrum of different style buildings in my city. Not really worried about population anymore because my city is packed with kick ass specialty building (Japanese castle, Eiffel tower, etc…)

  • Steven Davis

    I can’t find the land value chart? I click on hard hat and ther is only the list of things needed and then three text lines of reward population and XP. But no value bar

    Please help

  • Shayan Yadegari

    I still can’t get the one percent!!! Why???? I builded many luxury and still not one Percent ;(

  • Lawrance

    Is beach consider one of the specialization ? I have actually placed 2 specializations (Parks & beach) but my building upgrade still showing premium only. Any idea whats going wrong here ? D:

  • Etienne

    Thank you. It was very useful for me!

  • Troy

    I’m a bit confused, the different types of residential zones in game show max population from roughly 2000-2550 depending on whether it is normal residential, London, paris, Tokyo, omega etc.

    I have just upgraded a building and it showed a growth of 4200 population? also the article 2.5milion pop guide shows that if you place all of your services/specialisations correctly you can essentially reach 4x the max population per zone listed above?

    so the max populations are only for standard homes (services but no specialisations) and premium homes have a higher max pop, luxurious higher still??? but your article above states different?

    “There (sadly) is no difference in taxes or population between any of the three types of zones (thank you to CJDoom_81 for commenting below about his tests and correcting my mistake). The only difference is purely cosmetic (building appearance)”

    apologies for the long post 🙂

  • vladsch

    That’s all we get of “Normal” building? I’m level 37 now and I was thinking later new designs would show up, not counting on the epic buildings. Quite disappointed you get all you can from normal buildings around level 30 x-x
    I would appreciate more historical buildings like the ones we get in the very beginning of the game, the New York inspired designs. In the end we are limited to high-tech/modern designs mostly. Thanks for the guide though.