Help and Answers

What’s the difference between a prewar and postwar apartment?

If your building is described as pre-war, your building was built before the Second World War (1939). If your building was built post-war, it was constructed after World War II but before the 1990s.

You may find yourself unsure of just what the differences between these two building styles are, especially if it’s your first time hunting for a New York apartment. Here are some key differences to look out for.

If you’re into vintage flair in a smaller, character-filled building, pre-war might be the right fit for you. There, you’ll typically find features like:

  • high beamed ceilings
  • thick walls
  • plaster ornamentation
  • generous layouts
  • larger kitchens
  • sunken living rooms
  • plank hardwood floors

*It’s important to note that many prewar NYC apartments are co-ops, which require larger down payments and approval from a co-op board.*

If you prefer a more modern apartment with a standard floorplan layout and a taller building (maybe with a doorman), consider looking for a post-war building. There you’ll likely find:

  • uniform floor plans
  • lower ceilings
  • better closet space and kitchen accessibility/counter space
  • central air
  • better water pressure
  • parquet hardwood floors

And, if you’re lucky, you might even find:

  • rooftop decks
  • large fitness rooms