Different Types of Real Estate in NY

Today, we would like to talk about the different types of properties in New York and what types of properties are best suited for you.

First of all, we need to list some of the most common types of properties we see in the market, and then we will go over them one by one. There is a lot of information today, so I will try to condense the information as much as possible.

New York Real Estate Types

There are many types of real estate in New York City, and they are divided into the following categories

  • Co-op
  • Condominium
  • Condop
  • Townhouse
    • Condominium
    • Single Ownership
  • Single Family
  • Multifamily
  • Rental Building

So let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each type



  • Lower price
  • Lower monthly fees
  • Co-op is mostly available in certain locations (e.g. Fifth Avenue and SOHO on the Upper East Side)


  • Cumbersome buying process and lack of privacy
  • More housing rules (more restrictions on renting and selling)
  • Not a real property ownership
  • Long-term holdings have less room for appreciation
  • Co-op specific “transfer tax” (usually 1-4%)
  • Generally older properties
  • Not suitable for overseas buyers and low to middle income buyers
  • Many Co-ops do not allow secondary residences or buyer for children


  • Suitable for owner-occupied but not for investment
  • Low total price and low monthly fees

Co-op properties are generally priced much lower than Condo properties, and they actually account for a high percentage in New York City, over 90% in the past and nearly 70% now. In the early days of New York City, most of the properties were Co-op, and most of the high-end properties were Co-op, the rise of Condo was later, so many of the older and better locations such as Fifth Avenue were mostly Co-op. But time has changed and Condos have caught up and are the preferred choice of most buyers and have far outpaced Co-ops in terms of price and appreciation.

A Co-op is a structure in which a company owns the entire building and the property rights to the building. The buyer or homeowner is essentially a shareholder of the company, not the property owner, and when the buyer purchases shares in the company, he or she enters into a lease agreement with the company. In other words, the buyer is actually buying the shares of the company and the right to live in the building for the specific tenants. This is why coop owners rent out their homes under a sublease or second-landlord lease, because these owners are tenants by nature.

Buying a Co-Op

First of all, if you don’t understand the rules and regulations, it will be a waste of time to buy a COOP.

The first requirement for buying a COOP is that you must have local income in the U.S., and that your income must meet the target, and that your income-to-liability ratio must exceed a certain ratio. Many of my buyers have the same question, that is, if they can provide sufficient proof of assets but no income, my answer is generally [no].

The answer is generally [no]. These apartments are what we call clubs, where the buyer has to apply for membership but is not necessarily successful, and the owners or the neighborhood association are a more exclusive, risk-averse group of people. If there is not enough cash flow and financial situation, most of the COOP will deny the application because they do not want to have other [shareholders] dragging down the whole company and property because they cannot pay [property management fees and land taxes].

In addition, even buyers with U.S. status and income will be required to pass a COOP interview and a very transparent financial investigation, which means there is not much privacy in the buying process. Finally, Co-Op usually has its own “transfer tax” that needs to be paid to the building, which usually ranges from 1-4%, significantly increasing the cost of the sale.

Renting a Co-Op

Next, let’s talk about the rental restrictions of Co-Op.

Co-Op is very unfriendly to renting, both to the homeowner and the tenant. For homeowners, the common Co-Op rental rules are 2/5 or 3/5, which means that homeowners cannot rent for more than 2 or 3 years in a 5-year period, and they need to hold the property for 1-3 years before they have the right to rent. Once a homeowner has used the 2/5 or 3/5 privilege, he or she cannot rent again in the future.

In other words, there is no way for the buyer to rent out the property immediately, and even if they do, there is a time limit. This, coupled with the fact that tenants are required to provide a lot of information and conduct interviews when applying for a lease, means that very few people are willing to rent a Co-Op, resulting in very low rents.



  • No restrictions on buying, selling and renting (high degree of freedom)
  • High appreciation potential
  • More choices for new homes


  • Higher price
  • Higher monthly fees


  • Easy to buy, sell and rent
  • Suitable for investment and overseas buyers
  • More choices for new homes
  • Better and easier to manage facilities (doorman, plumber, elevator, gym, etc.)

New York City, especially Manhattan, has been home to the poorest of the poor for a long time. As waves of immigrants entered the city and the middle class rose, many people moved out of the city and into the suburbs. What was left behind were high-crime, low-income Manhattan residents. But as the 80’s have changed, Manhattan has quickly outpaced the suburbs and local incomes have risen every year.

Condos began to appear in New York City in the 1960’s and quickly became a priority in the following decade due to the high degree of freedom to buy, sell, and rent, thanks to New York City’s re-emergence as a highly global city, with overseas buyers accounting for about 35% of New York’s real estate, condos are undoubtedly the top choice.

Condo buyers are significantly more numerous than Co-Op buyers, and prices are much higher, making developers more willing to purchase land at a premium to develop the more affordable and higher return Condo.

Condo properties are individually titled, which means that the buyer or owner holds the deed and title to the property, and condo space in New York City is usually counted as interior/insuite space only, with common or shared space being very low, usually less than 1%. It is important to note that the calculation of interior square footage varies depending on the method used. For example, the method used by the surveyor and the developer may be different, for example, there is sometimes a large discrepancy between the wall center calculation and the absolute interior area calculation.

Buying a Condo

All new homes (whether Condo or Co-Op) do not require the approval of the HABC, so there is no application process to buy a home.

Condo buyers may not need to go through the application process because most new homes are Condos. Because of the above, if the buyer is an expatriate and does not have local income, he or she can simply look at the Condo without the Co-Op.

Renting a Condo

When renting a condo, there are no restrictions on the number of times you can rent it or the length of time you can hold it, unlike a Co-Op. In other words, the buyer can start submitting rental applications to the building as soon as the property is delivered and start collecting rent within 20-30 days. This is an important consideration for investment buyers, and because of this, investment buyers or those who may be considering renting in the future need to look at Condos and avoid Co-Op.

Condop Condominiums

Condop is a combination of Condo and Co-Op.

Condop is usually a commercial condo on the 1st to 3rd floors, and a Co-Op is a residential condo on the upper floors, which is different from a Co-Op in that Condop is usually sold and rented like a Condo. In other words, there are not as many restrictions and regulations for Condop rentals and purchases.

The most important thing to keep in mind when considering a Condop is that the title to the building and the title to the land may be separate and not owned by the owner. As mentioned above, the residential portion of a Condop is a CoOp, which is a company that owns the property, but often the company that owns the property in a Condop only owns the property above the land, and the land is leased, which is what we call a landlease. depreciating. Many people who have bought Condop in the past are faced with increasing monthly costs that are higher than other local properties, resulting in a significant reduction in appreciation and becoming a burden.

(Although landlease construction is most common in Condop, there are some Condo’s where the land is leased, so be aware of that.)


  • No restrictions on buying, selling, or renting
  • Prices are generally lower than Condos


  • No property rights (e.g. common CoOp)
  • Land may be rented


  • CoOp that can be freely leased and bought
  • May be a “time bomb” with no land title

If you want to learn more about the English language without land title, you can also click on the link to see Streeteasy’s article.

In addition to the above types, we also have the so-called Single Family House, Multi-family building/house, Multi-family house and Townhouse.

Single Family

Single-Family, as the name implies, is a whole set of homes owned by one owner with only one legal kitchen, and by law, cannot be divided into multiple leases for different families.

In the case of renting and selling, there is no need to make any application because there is no Home Ownership Committee, only the consent of the homeowner is required.

Multi Family

Multi-Family is owned by one owner, but has multiple legal kitchens, and by law, can be rented to multiple families.

Since there is no neighborhood association, there is no application required for renting or selling, only the owner’s consent.

Generally speaking, the quality of multi-family is slightly lower than single-family, but the return on investment is higher.


Townhouses can be divided into Condo, Single Family and Multi-Family.
To put it simply

Townhouse Condo is a multi-family building owned by different owners, and when bought, sold or rented, it follows the normal Condo process.

A Townhouse Single-Family is a whole building owned by one owner with only one legal kitchen. In the case of rentals and sales, there is no need to make any application because there is no neighborhood council, so only the owner’s consent is required.

Townhouse Multi-Family is owned by one owner, but has multiple legal kitchens, and by law, can be rented to multiple families. In the case of rentals and sales, since there is no Home Ownership Committee, no application is required, only the consent of the homeowner.

  • Condos
  • Single Family
  • Multi-Family

Rental Building

A rental building is actually a Multi-Family property owned by a single owner and used exclusively as a rental investment. Usually, the owner or landlord is a company, and the entire operation of the rental building is handled by a property management company.

Since there is no neighborhood council, the only thing needed to apply for a lease is the consent of the owner and the property management company, which greatly speeds up the rental process.

If you are interested in New York real estate investment, please feel free to contact me and I will see you next time!

Jerry Wang 王傳詠

Jerry Wang 王傳詠

Hi! I'm Jerry Wang. I'm from Taiwan and have lived in New York for over 20 years with over 12 years of real estate experience and over $1 Billion is sales and development. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out!
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