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House or apartment: which housing is more expedient to buy in the USA

Are you looking for your own home and are not sure whether to buy a house or an apartment? This article will explain the advantages and disadvantages of buying each type of home. GOBankingRates.

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The difference between a house and an apartment

By definition, a house is a detached building or structure that serves as a living space for an individual or several people, usually one family. A detached house is not associated with any other building.

An apartment (in this case, a condo - from a condominium, or condominium) usually refers to a separate unit within a larger property complex, which may consist of several units or the entire community. Condominiums are similar in structure to apartment buildings, and the common parts of the building are shared by all of its residents. In the US, an apartment is also called an apartment, what's the difference?

As explains BankrateThe biggest difference between a condo and an apartment is ownership. Apartment refers to housing that is rented, usually in a large residential building. A condo is similar in structure to an apartment - also a unit within a larger apartment building - but the apartment is owned, not rented. Property tax for the condo is paid by the owner; real estate tax for apartments is paid by landlords, not tenants.

The condo owner creates equity capital, pays monthly dues to the homeowners association (HOA) and is responsible for all internal maintenance. The apartment tenant pays rent every month, does not create equity, and relies on the landlord for maintenance.

Think Before Buying

When buying a home, buyers often focus on certain aspects, such as the down payment, mortgage rates, and the buyer's or seller's market. Other practical considerations are location, number of rooms, purchase price, and age of the property.

As a potential homeowner, it is also important to think about the type of home before starting your search. Should you be looking for a house or an apartment? If you buy a house, you also buy the land on which the house is located. If you buy an apartment, you only own the living space inside the apartment and some of the common areas in the building.

On the subject: Newbie Mistakes: Common and Costly Myths About US Home Buying

House vs Apartment

Before you start exploring single-family properties or apartment buildings and comparing mortgage options, consider the following factors.


Low mortgage interest rates, increased access to COVID-19 vaccines, and a shift to increasingly distant occupations have recently boosted demand for real estate in urban areas across the United States. Condo apartments are most often within walking distance of the city center, offering residents easy access to shops, restaurants, entertainment and bars.

You are much more likely to find a single family home on your own piece of land in the suburbs.


More and more young professionals prefer the active lifestyle that cities and urban areas offer. But the pandemic changed everything. Many places that used to attract buyers to live in city apartments are now closed or operate with disabilities, such as theaters, bars and even public transport.

In addition, buyers who previously would have preferred to buy an apartment in the city for a short commute can now opt for a home in the suburbs, as they no longer need to be near the hubs of the business industry. What is more important to you - the convenience of city life or the spaciousness of a sparsely populated area?

The huge lifestyle advantage that buying a home provides over an apartment is that you don't need anyone's permission to renovate or remodel your home. If you are the type of homeowner who prefers complete control over their living space, then buying a home may be your preference.

If a homeowners association doesn't set rules and regulations in your area, buying a home assumes that you can do whatever you want with the entire property.

On the subject: In the USA, they created a startup that helps to buy housing if you do not have enough money

Service and convenience charges

Many condominiums offer amenities such as fitness centers, swimming pools, landscaping services, zoos, tennis courts, golf courses, jogging tracks and security, giving the complex a resort feel. Your home's HOA fees usually pay for these amenities in addition to regular maintenance of the building and appearance.

Single-family homeowners can also expect to be paid HOA fees for similar amenities, especially if they are buying from a new condominium. Regardless of whether you are buying a house or an apartment, keep these nuances associated with HOA payments in mind:

  • HOA fees are paid in addition to the monthly mortgage payment, annually, quarterly, or monthly;
  • HOA fees can be expensive and can increase with higher operating costs.

Community decisions are made by the HOA board, which represents the interests of homeowners. You may agree or disagree with some, all, or any of these decisions. In addition to HOA fees, there may be related property rules and regulations.

As a single-family homeowner without an HOA, you can be responsible for maintaining your property yourself, including inside and outside your home. If your home has a yard, you need to think about its upkeep. You may need to buy or borrow tools or equipment to mow your lawn and trees or repel pests.

Price versus value

According to the US Census Bureau, apartment prices in urban markets have risen 15% over the past three months. This growth was slightly higher than suburban housing prices and can be attributed to the attractiveness of urban life.

The value of a home is determined by the price that the buyer is willing to pay over time. In a hot market, housing prices and costs can go up dramatically. Conversely, when the market is “cold”, housing prices and values ​​go down.

Single-family homes are now hot selling in the US, growing 23% over the past year. However, sales of apartments in condominiums are growing at a higher rate - 28,8%. Single-family homes also tend to rise in price faster than apartments located in the same area.

According to a report by National Association of Realtors' chief economist Lawrence Yoon, buyers preferred single-family homes in 2020, but luxury condominiums are making a comeback. Again, lifestyle plays a big role in the decision to buy a house, not an apartment.

Long term goals

If you are looking to increase the fair value of your home in the long term, then perhaps buying a home is your best bet. Oftentimes, home remodeling and home improvement can make a big difference to the sale price of a home.

What happens when you are ready to move and want to sell your house or apartment? Apartments are often more difficult to sell. First time home buyers, investors, and seniors tend to be more interested in buying apartments. It may be easier to sell a mansion due to the broader demographics of potential buyers.

Family size

If you have a large family, you may find it more convenient to buy a house than an apartment. Single-family homes tend to have more indoor space and you can find a home with a nice large yard where the kids can play. A house with a yard is especially attractive if you have a pet.

Unlike apartments, houses tend to have more living space and larger storage areas such as basements, attics, and toilets. Plus, condominiums may not provide the privacy of a home because neighbors may be separated from you by nothing more than a wall on either side.


If you are currently a tenant, you may find that you cannot afford to buy the home you are renting. Mortgage payments for houses are usually higher than for apartments. In addition, utility bills in homes are usually higher because homes often have more square feet than apartments.

If you're on a tight budget and leaning towards buying a home, find out the actual cost of the upkeep. The annual maintenance of a single-family home is usually about 1% of the home's value or purchase price. For example, for a $ 400 home, you should plan to pay about $ 000 or about $ 4000 per month for maintenance.

Lenders usually allow borrowers to borrow larger loan amounts for houses than for apartments. This is true because sometimes lenders factor the HOA condominium fees into their monthly mortgage payments. In other cases, lenders demand a larger down payment for an apartment in a high-rise building.

Be sure to check with your lender for your purchasing power for each scenario and type of purchase.

Keep in mind: eIf you are in love with a particular area and want to buy a home, you may just need to choose between the spaciousness of a suburban home or an apartment in the city center - and perhaps at a higher price.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York

Quick comparison

Here is a comparison that summarizes some of the typical advantages and disadvantages of buying a home versus a US condo. Please note that there may be some exceptions depending on the city you choose.


  • Faster growth in resale value
  • Better investment growth
  • More freedom for the homeowner to renovate real estate
  • More privacy and land.


  • You can get the best profit in the rental market
  • Usually have higher HOA fees
  • They tend to have a slower value increase.

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