A Guide to the Different Homes in Midtown Manhattan

New York City has an unusual real estate market. This is the result of having been densely built up more than a century as well as complex layers of regulation that affect how properties are managed. Here are the main types of homes in Midtown Manhattan. 


Apartments are probably the most common type of real estate in Manhattan, since almost everyone in the area rents. Apartments have their advantages. You can get into almost any unit, provided you pass a criminal background check and can pay the rent. The lease can be month to month or for an entire year. If you decide to move, it is rather easy to break the lease and leave. You have significant protections as a tenant compared to other parts of the country. 


Condos are generally the preferred choice when it comes to Midtown real estate. You are building equity with every monthly payment rather than giving the landlord a rent check. One day, you will own it free and clear. It is an investment. You have more freedom regarding what you do with the interior of the residence since you own it. Condos typically have thicker walls and floors so that you can refinish them, not just repaint them. This is the most common type of owned home since there are almost no single-family houses in Midtown. You’ll have to go to the Boroughs if you want a house and especially a yard. 


The New York real estate market is unusual for having a large number of cooperatives or co-ops. Co-ops make you a partial owner of the apartment building. Because you are an owner along with other residents, your rent isn’t going up to pay someone else’s business expenses plus a profit. Many co-ops are maintained by resident shareholders. That can lower maintenance costs even further. This is why co-ops are generally cheaper than a condo. They tend to be more financially stable. Condo residents won’t take out a mortgage to buy another rental property like some real estate investors. However, you can run into problems if the board doesn’t plan for major capital expenses like replacing a leaking roof or repairing a faulty boiler. Co-ops tend to have higher occupancy rates than apartments because they are almost always someone’s main residence. And they’re invested in the place. This generally results in residents taking better care of the place.  New York City’s legal climate can make it difficult for a property owner to manage or profit from their investment, and the local culture makes the residents forming a coop to buy them out a viable option. 

There are downsides to living in a co-op. Because you’re a partial owner, you’re partially liable if the building is sued. To mitigate this risk, co-op boards investigate and interrogate potential owners.