Apartments Versus Townhouses – Which Should You Go For?

by Guest Author on July 19, 2013

You may be tired of renting, but aren’t ready to buy a freestanding house with a yard. So, you are looking at buying an apartment or a townhouse, and need to decide which would be better for you. Here are some considerations to look at before making that decision.


Both apartments and townhouses are dwellings that have one or more walls attached to comparable dwellings. This is what differentiates them from houses. That said, the layout of each is very different. That layout is the primary thing that differentiates them from each other.

Apartment Floor Plans

An apartment is typically all on one floor. If it is large, it may go from one side of the apartment building to the other: say, for example, from the back to the front. This can be useful for cross ventilation, as windows can be open on either side of the apartment, allowing air flow between them. The spread out floor plan also gives a sense of expansiveness, which can be a relaxing relief after spending the day in a busy jam-packed city.

Downsides of the layout is that you’re probably going to have upstairs neighbors, as well as neighbors below you and on each side. That’s a lot of neighbors. Any one of them can present a problem as far as noise goes. So, by choosing an apartment you multiply the number of neighbors you will have, and thus your odds of having some who are a problem for you.

Townhouse Floor Plans

Townhouses, on the other hand, typically have multiple floors. If you buy one, you will own the bottom floor, the top floor, and each floor in between. This eliminates the problem of having noisy neighbors above or below, a clear advantage over apartments.

Additionally, having multiple floors will make your home feel more like a house. If you grew up in a house, you may feel more at home in a townhouse instead of an apartment.

The downside of this floor plan is that many townhouses are relatively narrow. You’ll have multiple floors, but each floor might have less room than you would like. To get to all of the rooms, you’ll need to go up and down one or more flights of stairs. This can be an issue if you have mobility problems.


Many factors figure into the cost of both apartments and townhouses. The factors include size, location, amenities, number of rooms, and condition. Many people exploring the NYC real estate erroneously presume that townhouses will cost more than apartments. This is not always accurate. There are many cases where individual townhouses cost less to buy than apartments with comparable square footage. Additionally, mortgage payments on some townhouses may be lower than the rental payments of many leased NYC apartments.


Even if you plan to live in the place you buy for decades, it is a good idea to consider the resale value just in case. You can explore how long it takes for someone to resell one of the apartments you’re looking at, vs. how long it takes for a townhouse to sell. If the townhouses sell faster, it’s a good bet that they are selling for the desired price. Correspondingly, apartments that sell slower might have to be marked down, costing you money when you sell it.

This is a guest post by George Watt, a freelance writer. He is very interested in housing topics and shares his latest knowledge on various blogs.

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