All Topics / Help Needed! / Definition of: flat,unit,apartment

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  • Profile photo of ian_from_brisbaneian_from_brisbane
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 97


    Could someone please tell me their definition of the following:


    …and perhaps tell me the difference between them. I have tried many searches on google for these words and various phrases such as “definition of” and “difference between” but haven’t been able to find anything.

    My best guess is that apartments are the ones in big skyscrapers, but that still leaves the other two…


    Profile photo of kay henrykay henry
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 2,737


    My reading of it is that it’s a “class” thing. We used to call fairly shabby old 70’s blocks “flats”. Then newer ones began to be called “units”. About 7 years ago, a gf of mine- from montreal- used the word “apartment”, and I hadn’t heard it used before really, in Australia, and it sounded slightly pretentious. I think if you want to sell a unit now, you call it an “apartment”. Older-style places might not get away with that though, and will probably still be called “units”. As a marketing tool, I doubt anyone would call a place a “flat” anymore- it’s a bit unbecoming.

    Of course, then there’s townhouses (double storey); and duplexes (also known as semi-detached in nsw). Just like people don’t like to call places a “granny flat” or a “bachelor-pad” anymore… they prefer tocall it a studio apartment. I think it’s just a marketing ploy or a style thing.

    kay henry

    Profile photo of SonjaSonja
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 338

    From my experience it simply depends on who you are talking to. Geography also seems to play a part in it. About 6 months ago we moved from Sydney to Leeton. When looking for a new place the agent said that they had a 3B/R “unit”. When we arrived we found a 3B/R “duplex”. When we mentioned this to the agent she said that yes, technically it is a duplex but people call them units here.

    Doesn’t really answer your question but it’s the best I can offer.


    Profile photo of Fast LaneFast Lane
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 527

    Flat= Un-subdivided apartment, you cannot purchase seperately
    Unit= Stand alone dwelling, or may share a common wall, not usually in multi story complexes etc. There may be 10 units on a big block of land, not on top of each other.
    Apartment= Usually in a multi story complex, but can be bought seperately, it’s been subdivided.

    In a rental context…
    Flat and Apartment usually the same just different terminology. Describing the exact same dwelling an apartment rents for more because it sounds better than a flat. Like selling a neglected car, it’s either a classic to be done up or a rusty piece of shit.
    Unit is the same as above.

    Dont get me started on townhouses…

    Hope this helps, G7

    Profile photo of wayneLwayneL
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 585

    When they start using “condominium” it will be really confusing….whatever that is :x

    Profile photo of ian_from_brisbaneian_from_brisbane
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 97

    Thanks everyone, those are great replies!

    And I think condos are a bit like buying ‘shares’ in a company (the block of units), then the number of shares you buy entitles you to live in one of the units.

    I could be way off tho, I’m from Brisbane not New York.

    Profile photo of investroninvestron
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 92

    Not only do Units sell better than as flats, but they rent better as well, it’s all in peoples minds.
    A duplex is 2 units side by side, just as a Triplex is 3 single units side by side, but people feel more important if they rent a duplex, rather than just a unit.

    Profile photo of melbearmelbear
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 2,429

    I think Condos are our strata titled units?


    Profile photo of AInvestorAInvestor
    Join Date: 2017
    Post Count: 1
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