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!