Why are brownstones expensive


The New York townhouse (“townhouse” is the translation for “townhouse”) is no ordinary townhouse like you would find in other parts of the country. These townhouses are multi-shaped residential units that are equivalent to the detached houses in smaller towns or suburbs. These row houses were built in the 19th century to the 20s of the 20th century and were inhabited by wealthy families who could afford a private house in the middle of the metropolis. If you live in a New York townhouse, you will enjoy the high standards and convenience of the old historic building.

These houses are typically three to five stories high, with a street entrance, private back yard, and more traditional furnishings than ordinary detached houses. Some lots also have a separate entrance at the rear of the property. As is typical for row houses, they are wall to wall with the neighboring house.

Recently, many terraced houses have been converted and often converted into residential buildings with several apartments. Many townhouses are known as "the Brownstones" because they were built from brown sandstone, a building material that was used until the end of the 19th century.


The brownstones are particularly typical of New York and most of New England's historic cities. They are townhouses, or townhouses, that were built during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The name comes from the brown sandstone that was used as the main building material at the time.

These houses share the outer walls on either side with the next house, forming a long line of houses whose appearance is characteristic of many of New York's residential areas.

Originally they were single-family houses, but most of them have been converted into buildings with 4-8 apartments. However, you will hardly find two apartments that are the same, because they are all unique without a uniform layout. Sometimes they were extended to complement the furnishings of the apartments on the ground floor. From the street side you will see a beautiful, wide staircase that leads to the ground floor (this is called the "parlor floor" in New York). Sometimes there is a second staircase that leads to the basement (“English basement”).

Thick walls, ornate high ceilings, simulated or real wood-burning fireplaces and carved entrances will give you the "feeling" of the old days and make you feel genuinely at home. Brownstones will offer you and your family a lot of comfort, but they are not particularly energy efficient or rich in additional features, such as a lot of wardrobe space. There is very rarely a doorman or laundry room in Brownstones.


So-called “walk-ups” are residential buildings that are three to five stories high, but do not have an elevator. Only residential buildings that have more than six floors are required to have an elevator.

"Walk-up" apartments were built before the Second World War until the 1970s and are the most common apartments in New York. They are very popular properties because they are often more central than residential buildings that are of a higher standard, but are usually available at lower rental and sales prices. The extra exercise is good for your health and is free!

Hi-Rise / Luxury High-Rise

Hi-Rise means something like high-rise and is over 10 stories high.

Hi-rises are of different ages, their construction materials and types are different and their equipment is different in every building. The older buildings are usually between 10 and 20 floors high and were built between the 40s to 70s and they offer modern comfort in an old building. They have a porter and / or a concierge, spacious hallways with elaborate details, as well as additional equipment such as a fitness room, shared hobby rooms and a roof terrace. Buildings that have been built in the last few years are usually more sophisticated. Some of the modern buildings even have a swimming pool, underground parking and services that are similar to those of a good hotel.

Pre-war buildings

Buildings that were built before World War II.

A large number of buildings were built prior to World War II - famous art deco skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building, various hi-rises and modest walk-ups in the Lower East Side.

A building type in particular deserves the special reference to “pre-war” buildings. These are charming 10-12 storey buildings, richly furnished with structural details such as ceiling decorations, door arches, open chimneys and unusual window arches. Pre-war buildings usually have larger rooms, high ceilings, and parquet floors. Some of them are newly renovated in order to be able to offer more modern equipment. Most often they have a part-time or full-time doorman. While there aren't many of these beautiful buildings (just over 125 in Manhattan), they're an essential part of the character of Fifth and Park Avenues, and other areas of Manhattan.


Originally, lofts are former commercial or industrial buildings that have been converted into residential buildings. Typical features include open spaces, raw brick walls, large kitchens, and high ceilings with bare air conditioning ducts. Sometimes the bedroom is in a separate room.

In general, these large, open spaces can be divided up and furnished very individually. The typical lofts do not offer any additional equipment, such as laundry rooms or porters. In recent years, the term loft has been used to describe an apartment with open spaces that may have a small second floor where you can put a bed.

Property classifications:

Rental building

As the name suggests, all apartments in a rental building are only released for rent and are not being sold. There are different types of buildings that can be rented from brownstones to luxurious hi-rises. They are sometimes run by the owner (who often lives in the building) or by a management company who is responsible for maintaining the property, checking future tenants and collecting the rent.

The rent itself can fall under “stable”, “rent controlled” or “free market”. In a rent-stabilized apartment, the tenant is protected against rent increases above a certain percentage per year. 'Free market' apartments are not subject to this regulation.


This property right is unique in New York City. A cooperative building is owned by a cooperative. By buying an apartment in a “co-op” building, you buy shares in the cooperative and become its partner. Co-op buildings are run by a board of directors whose approval is required in order to rent apartments to potential tenants. About 80 percent of buildings in New York are co-ops. They are less expensive to buy than a condominium and the monthly cost is usually higher. As the owner, you are responsible for the monthly maintenance costs, which differ in amount. The monthly maintenance costs depend on the availability of additional services such as concierge, maid service, gym, valet parking, etc. Subletting requires the approval of the board of directors and an analysis of the financial circumstances of the potential subtenant and owner.


Condominium buildings (“Condos”) are residential buildings in which individual apartments are privately owned and general areas are collective property of all apartment owners. As the owner, you are responsible for general monthly costs and must adhere to the building's rules regarding pets, washer / dryer installations, subletting, etc. As a tenant, you rent your apartment directly from the owner. In most condominium buildings, approval by the condo board and a thorough financial background study are required for rental.