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Blog >> Apartment or Flat – What's the Difference?
Apartment or Flat – What's the Difference? Apartment or Flat – What's the Difference?
 In the 1970s I lived in a high rise flat and in the 80s my dad lived in a high rise flat but in the last decade two things have happened: many high rise flats have been either demolished or refurbished; we’ve acquired ‘apartment’ into our property vocabulary.

Traditionally, flats in the UK were smaller than houses and a good first home for a small family or a single person. Many people associate the term ‘flat’ with being a Council property, and it is of course still the case that Local Authorities have many flats under their ownership but there are plenty of private and housing association flats in the UK too.

Through the influence of our USA neighbours it seems we have abandoned the flat in favour of the apartment; many estate agents have ‘apartments’ on their books but not so many ‘flats’. It would seem therefore that because of its negative associations, the flat is considered less classy and less desirable. Much like the negative connotations some have inferred in relation to terrace houses i.e. ‘they’re for working class people’, it seems the humble flat is not deemed to be salubrious enough for young, up and coming city slickers who want a city centre apartment.

Interestingly, the definition of both of these abodes is simply a self-contained space accessed by a shared entrance. In American English, some have argued that there is a difference: a flat is a single storey ‘flat’ living space, whereas an apartment could be on more than one floor i.e. a ‘duplex’. However, as duplexes haven’t made it over here yet, the differences between flats and apartments seem to be nothing other than lexical snobbery.

Why isn’t it possible to live in a ‘posh flat’ instead of a ‘sophisticated apartment’? Why has the honest flat been downgraded to something we’re embarrassed about? I overheard a discussion recently where the speaker exhibited real, palatable despair when their friend asked them about their ‘flat’: “I live in a luxury city apartment and it makes me really angry when people refer to it as a flat!”

It does not matter if you have the ground floor of a 2 storey building or whether it’s a huge loft space in an old refurbished factory. A flat is a flat, and as some have argued ‘an apartment is a PR exercise’.
If you’re in the market for a posh flat or a city apartment, contact our representatives at A2Z Estates and we will be happy to arrange a viewing of everything we have available.

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