What Kind of Homes Can I Buy in NYC?



When you buy a condo, you have full ownership of the apartment, and some part of the building’s common areas (e.g., the gym). Though the condo building will have a board, it won’t be as involved as a co-op board, and owners can easily rent or sell their home when they chose to. Condos are usually a good option for those who aren’t looking for a long-term investment. On the flip side, they’re typically more expensive—owners can be asked to pay more common charges depending on the amenities in the building—and in NYC, they are quicker to fly off the market.


These are ideal for people looking to make a long-term investment in a home. In a co-op building, owners get a share in the co-op association, and all the shareholders together own the building and its units. Co-op boards play a big role, and can determine whether you can rent out your unit or make major changes to the apartment. Co-op boards also play a large role in determining who gets to own in their buildings, so it can sometimes be hard to snag an apartment even if you have the means. NYC’s co-ops are generally older compared to condos, and some—like the Upper West Side’s San Remo and Dakota—have celeb owners, which means you can expect a much stricter application process. However, co-ops are more plentiful in the city, and can often cost less than condos.


A townhouse is typically a three- or four-story building that is adjoined with other buildings on a block; it can serve as a single-family home or have multiple apartments spread out over its floors. While townhouses are narrower than detached homes, they often have backyards and rooftops, and offer more privacy than an apartment. They also tend to be pricey, with townhouses in many neighborhoods asking more than $1 million (and as much as $88 million, depending on the house).

Fully detached home

These types of houses are harder to come by in Manhattan—the Frick, which is now a museum, is an example of the detached homes that were a mainstay in Manhattan in the 19th and early 20th century—but they are relatively easy to find in outer-boroughs neighborhoods like Ditmas Park and Forest Hills. They’re often wider and more spacious than an attached townhouse, and may come with plenty of outdoor space to boot.


it’s tricky to define a loft in NYC today, as many new ones have been built to recreate the atmosphere of the original ones. But typically, lofts are spaces in former industrial or manufacturing buildings that have been converted into residential spaces. They are notable for their high ceilings, large windows, wide open spaces, and minimal interior walls. Most of the original ones can be found in neighborhoods like Tribeca, Soho, and Williamsburg.

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