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New York City offers a diverse selection of living options, from Condominium Skyscrapers, Pre-War Co-ops to low-rise Walk-up buildings. To help you better understand the different building types in New York City, continue below.
Condominium BuildingsCondominium Buildings
Individual units are privately owned; common areas are considered shared ownership. Some condo owners will sublet their units to renters; however, all new residents must apply to the Board of Directors for that particular condominium for approval before moving unless a new development. Condominium buildings often include laundry facilities and fitness areas; some luxury buildings include pools and other additional offerings.
Cooperative BuildingsCooperative Buildings
A building owned by a corporation; managed by a co-op association. This arrangement allows apartment owners to share in the corporation’s ownership. People who own co-ops are called shareholders. Sometimes, the owner may sublet their residence to a renter; the application process is lengthy and acceptance difficult when allowed assuming you pass the co-op board interview.
Pre-War Buildings – Built 1900/1940, Constructed before World War IIPre-War Buildings – Built 1900/1940, Constructed before World War II
If a building was built before 1945, it is considered pre-war. The advantages of living in a pre-war apartment often include pre-war architectural details, hardwood floors, spacious rooms, and higher ceilings. They are mid-size at 10-20 stories tall as apartment buildings go. Many pre-war buildings are co-op buildings, and many have a doorman. Many also have a fireplace.
Post-War Buildings – Built between 1900 and PresentPost-War Buildings – Built between 1900 and Present
The postwar style incorporates much of modern architecture and amenities. Expect sharper lines and less ornate aesthetics. Postwar building designers also experimented with different materials, so hardwood floors aren’t a given.
Loft BuildingsLoft Buildings
Very popular for the artistic type, loft buildings were initially used as warehouses, factories, or manufacturing centers. Converted into residences, the staples of these apartments are high ceilings (sometimes up to twenty feet) and wide-open floor plans. Some even have columns or other ornate decors. SoHo, Tribeca, and Chelsea are popular areas for loft buildings.
Brownstones were constructed in the 19th Century. Most townhomes are made from brown sandstone. They have below-level entrances, called English basements, and many have a garden at the back. These homes have many attractive features of the times and maintain that old-fashioned feel.
Townhouses can be single-family and multi-family homes, up to four stories high. They can be freestanding or in a building of between 4-6 stories. Most townhouses were built-in in the late 19th Century through the early 20th Century. Those who can afford a townhouse are provided the rare privacy in New York City, and these homes can be pricey. However, many say the price is worth it since a townhouse exudes a charm that other dwellings cannot compare. Many townhouses have extras, including a private backyard, eat-in kitchen, fireplace, expanded living space, and classic decor. Best of all, residents purchase townhouses without going through a co-op and its lengthy application process and interview.
The most primary residences. They do not have any elevators, doormen, or luxury amenities, and some are not of the best quality. Their original function was multi-family housing, keeping the same purpose today. Most are pre-war buildings of five or fewer floors.