Living in New York City: Co-Ops vs. Condos


Susan Kelly

Jun 14, 2022

These two types of housing have a lot in common, but they also have a lot of differences. Real estate markets across the United States differ significantly from one other in New York City. Condos and co-ops are the two main types of New York City residences for sale.

Condos are the exception in most cities, but not New York City. Even though co-ops exceed condos in New York City by around 75 percent, there are more condos on the market than co-ops.

Let's take a quick look at the differences between a co-op and a condominium. When you purchase a condominium, you gain ownership of your unit and a portion of the building's common areas. Co-ops don't technically involve buying an apartment; instead, you're investing in a corporation that owns the building in which you live. As a co-op member, you have the option of owning a stake in the building; this permits you to live there. You'll receive a proprietary lease at the closure of a co-op, whereas you'll receive a deed at the closing of a condo.

Concierge services are becoming more common in condominiums and co-ops, although they aren't always included in the standard package. All-inclusive amenities include manicured terraces, billiards rooms, pianos rooms, screening rooms for movies and TV, and children's playrooms and gyms.


Condos can be found in the more recent neighborhoods, initially considered outliers but now seen as chic. Regarding New York City real estate, Gary Malin is the Citi Habitats president. "A lot of condominiums will be on your list if you like to live in a skyscraper. Since co-ops were uncommon in New York City until the 1970s, condos tend to be more up-to-date in design."

Malin explains, "new condo buildings are likely to be located in emerging and periphery districts on the far East and west sides, as accessible land for new condo buildings is limited in Manhattan. Long Island City, Williamsburg, and Downtown Brooklyn in Queens and Brooklyn have seen many new condos constructed in once-industrial neighborhoods along the shore.

The Deposit and the Cost

When buying a home, the price is a significant factor, and condos provide a low down payment of only 10% of the purchase price. Condos, on the other hand, are more expensive than co-ops.

Monthly Charges / Bills

There is a monthly "common charges" bill for the upkeep of the building, which includes things like landscaping and staff salaries, as well as a portion of the building's utility costs.

On the other hand, co-op owners have to pay a monthly maintenance fee and property taxes, but their combined total is frequently less than that of a condo owner.

The Board

Compared to co-op boards, Condo Boards tend to be easier to deal with. The application process for co-ops is more extensive and includes an interview. The board decides whether or not a potential buyer can buy the co-op of directors.


Condos have fewer constraints, including limits on the use of foreign cash for the acquisition. International buyers and tenants of condos can do so with a few restrictions, but nothing prohibitive. Condos make it easier to sublet or lease out an apartment than in a cooperative building. Some condo associations may have stricter regulations. Prospective buyers should do their homework to determine what is and isn't permissible.

While condo boards tend to be laxer in enforcing their rules, the co-op board may restrict your ability to do things like practice trombone or put up holiday decorations on your door. Generally, the purpose of rules is to keep things peaceful and civil so that people can work together peacefully.

The Preference of the Purchaser

The president of Citi Habitats, Gary Malin, said that Condos may be a good option if you prefer to live your life according to your own schedule and are looking for a lot of freedom. Be aware, though, that this independence has a cost.

Nearly all condos are more expensive than their co-op counterparts. Additionally, if seeing unfamiliar faces in the elevator on a daily basis bothers you, consider looking for work in a different location.

Condominium structures tend to have a high concentration of tenants. A condominium's more lax policies are frequently exploited by its owners."


Most commonly, co-ops can be found in the more established neighborhoods. A co-op is an excellent option if you're interested in historic houses; as Gary Malin points out: "Nearly all prewar structures are formed in this manner. In addition, because co-op buildings are typically older, they tend to be situated in more central areas than condo projects. For example, "almost all of the residential buildings are co-ops on Park Avenue in Manhattan's Upper East Side."


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