The term for an apartment you buy is a condo in the states.
They tend to be cheaper obviously, but also have home owners associations (which are the worst thing in the entire world IMO ) they tend to charge a ton (a significant portion of the monthly mortgage rate in many cases, more than actually it would cost to upkeep a house you owned) and have a ton of dumb rules (including restricting whether you can rent out your condo in may cases, making the value of your condo significantly less).
A co-op in the US is different from a condo in many ways . In a condo, you own your unit. In a coop, you don’t - you buy shares in a cooperation and as a result of your ownership of a specific number of shares, you are entitled to live in a particular apartment. Condos are considered real property - coops are not. Coops really only exist in certain areas of the country - there are plenty in in the NYC area but unknown in other areas.
It is also interesting how home owners accociations are viewed so negatively. Of course, we have negative stories here too, but mostly it is viewed as a positive. The way I see it, if people are going to be living so close together, you need some common rules, and you need to pay for some common maintenance.
So how common is buying a condo in the US? Is it more common to rent and apartment, then buy a house, or do people just as Well buy a condo/co op?
Agreed – condos are mostly a thing in big cities (and in the urban areas, less so in suburbs). Other areas which often have condos are retirement communities, and resort/vacation communities, like areas of Florida (and in many of those cases, it’s a second/part-time home for the owners).
I had also heard that outside the English-speaking world home buying is not such a big deal. In the UK and US its almost a right of passage, that everyone who aspires to be middle class or above should be aiming towards, but that is less so in the rest of Europe. Though I’ve never seen any evidence for that. Does it match your experience?
Home ownership is very low in Germany. Source: Wikipedia.
Germans don’t like debt, so they don’t like mortgages. (Germany also likes cash.) The rate is still (barely) over 50%, however.
The rate is higher in France.
Home ownership rates in the UK are only marginally higher, at 65%, but this is the same rate as in the United States. The Australian rate is 67%, and the Canadian rate is 67.8%. The Dutch rate is 67 to 69%.
I’ve heard that the apartment renting concept is different between the US and Europe. In the US, apartment renting is typically something short-term. A US person may live in an apartment for just a few years and won’t really make any changes to it other than maybe painting it. But I heard that apartment renting in Europe may be done for decades and the tenant may make major changes, such as putting in their own lighting and kitchen cabinets. That kind of European model is more similar to how someone in the US would treat a condo that they bought, but in the US the condo resident is making mortgage payments to the bank while the European resident is paying a landlord.
Maybe not so much any more. There is tons of new housing in San Jose and Santa Clara, mostly condos because of their relative affordability. Lots of new housing in my town which is suburban is condos. But not so much outside of Indianapolis where my daughter lives.
My son-in-law, who is German, is intensely excited about buying a house in the near future since none of his family has ever owned one. One of the things he likes best about America.
I’m not sure why, as you can buy land in England too. It’s probably just a price thing - small island + densely populated = land and housing is expensive.
We do have a thing called leasehold in the UK, where you can buy a house or apartment, but not actually own the land it is built on (this is most common with apartments). It normally involves paying a nominal rent to whoever the land owner is, and sometimes you need to pay a lump sum to ‘extend the lease’, which can be costly. Leaseholders also have the right to buy the lease - ie the land, from the land owner. In the case of apartments, this would involve the apartment owners getting together to each buy a share of the freehold.
The majority of houses, however, are freehold - in that you buy the house and the land it’s built on.
The last place I lived in Houston fit the condo model but was known as a townhouse. Similar layout to a terraced house in the UK. At the time I moved here, a mid-terrace in Southeast England cost about 4 times what I sold the Houston house for.