Most Common Types of NYC Apartments

Most Common Types of NYC Apartments

Who wouldn’t want to live in the greatest city on the planet? Endless opportunities in terms of practically anything undoubtedly make this prospect enticing. So you must be feeling overjoyed as you begin looking for a place to live in NYC. As you are browsing the net, you notice an abundance of activities you can do, a myriad of places to visit, so many restaurants, bars, cafes; you don’t know where to begin. With so many options everywhere you look, you may think that hunting for an apartment in New York City will be quick and simple. After all, how hard could it be? You know that you need to decide on your budget, browse apartments for rent online, explore different neighborhoods to see what you like and hire an agent to help you find what you need. But then, you realize there are many different types of NYC apartments.

There is a studio apartment and a micro-apartment. What is the difference? And what on earth is a convertible? Does the roof come off when it’s sunny? A floor-through? You have never even heard of such a term! It can’t be a portal to another dimension. Right?

We understand that it can get overwhelming if you are not familiar with the terminology. So, before you start planning your relocation, you need to learn what each type of apartment gives you in terms of space and other aspects. That way, you will find a place that suits your needs and quickly settle into your new apartment. To help you do it, we have created a guide to the most common types of NYC apartments.

What type of apartment is recommended for first-time buyers, and is investing in an NYC condo smart in 2021?

We talked to Joan Brothers, a Licensed Real Estate Broker and the President of Manhattan Boutiques Real Estate, to learn what she believes is wise for first-time buyers in NYC.

She says that, yes, investing in an NYC condo is smart in 2021. She adds that studios and one-bedroom apartments are the most frequent choice among first-time homebuyers. Also, while Manhattan is not the top place for these shoppers and not the first neighborhood that comes to mind when buying on a budget, it is a positive thing that buyers look into markets that offer options available to them. Moreover, low mortgage rates and a solid amount of inventory spell excellent opportunities to grab good deals.

All you need to know about types of NYC apartments

New York City is a popular place. So, its real estate market has a difficult task to try and meet the demand it continually faces. And to meet that demand and different requirements, developers experiment with different layouts. They try hard to make the best possible use of the space available. Also, they do their best to create as good living conditions in that space as humanly possible. Hence so many options.

Moreover, when it comes to types of apartments in New York City, you have to know that they differ in two different respects:

  1. Types of apartments in terms of ownership
  2. Types of apartments in terms of layout

We will explain what it all means.

Types of apartments in terms of ownership

When it comes to apartment types in terms of ownership, there are two options – condos and co-ops.


A condo is a short form of the word condominium. It is a residence in the ownership of a single homeowner or a family in a building with multiple housing units. These buildings often have different amenities, including yards, garages, swimming pools, tennis courts. Of course, the scope of facilities available will depend on how affluent the neighborhood the building is in. Residents of these apartments share these common areas (including halls, lobbies, elevators).

If the condo owner decides to rent, they can accept rental applications, but the condo board will review the applications.


Unlike condos, when you purchase a co-op, you will not own the housing unit. Instead, you only own the shares of the corporation that owns the building where the unit is. As a shareholder, the owner must pay monthly fees. These go towards covering all building expenses. These include:

  • property taxes
  • utility bills
  • insurance
  • staff salaries

Types of apartments in terms of layout

Now, we get to the interesting part. There are more than a dozen (yes, you’ve read that correctly) types of NYC apartments on offer in this beautiful and exciting city.

  1. Micro-apartments – these are 260 to 360-square-feet apartments with big windows, kitchenettes, balconies, and lots of storage.
  2. Convertibles – apartments with big enough spaces to install a new wall and create another bedroom, a home office, or a dining area.
  3. Studios – typically a one-room apartment (similar to an open floor plan) with a bathroom.
  4. Alcove studios – a studio apartment with a small nook (no more than 100 square feet), where you can place a bed or a desk.
  5. One-bedroom apartments – with at least two separate rooms. To be classified as a bedroom, a room must have a window with a view of the street, a courtyard, or a garden. Also, it must be a minimum of 8x8sqf. There are also two-bedroom apartments, etc.
  6. Lofts – either studios to three-bedroom apartments, with high ceilings and windows.
  7. Floor-though apartments – take up a whole floor of a building, come in all shapes and sizes, and typically have windows both in the front and the back.
  8. Walk-up – two words: no elevators. You will be walking up the stairs to your apartment.
  9. Junior one – slightly bigger than a studio or a one-bedroom, with a small additional room or alcove.
  10. Junior four – has one bedroom, but four separate rooms altogether: bedroom, kitchen, living room, and a fourth room, which you can use as a home office or a sleeping area. This room doesn’t qualify as a bedroom because it has no windows.

And some more options

  1. Penthouse – costly and luxurious apartments on the top floor of a building; typically come with a separate elevator button, a concierge service, and spectacular views.
  2. Duplexes or triplexes – apartments with two or three levels, making them feel like a house within a building. Still, the second and third floors can be pretty small.
  3. Garden apartments – layouts can be different, but what makes them unique is a garden, which you can share with other residents, or it can be only available to those living in the units at the same level as the garden.
  4. Classic six – these apartments usually have a living room, a kitchen, two bedrooms, a formal dining room, and a maid’s suite.

There are more apartment types in NYC

These have been the most common types of NYC apartments. But there are more: prewar, railroad or three-room, wing two-bedroom. With so many options (and sub-options), you have to understand what you get when shopping for an apartment in the Big Apple. Only then can you buy or rent a place that will fulfill all your needs. Happy apartment hunting.

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