Apartment buildings have existed for hundreds of years, but most of the apartments you see in the U.S. today were likely built between 1950 and today.
Historically-renovated buildings are an exception to this general finding. Those could be much older. The likely age of old apartments will depend largely on what area of the country you are in. For example, if you are in a major city like New York or Philadelphia, you will see many older buildings from the 1800s and 1900s.
Newer is not always better. Many older apartment buildings were built with much better, sound-controlled walls.
How to Tell an Apartment’s Age
Unless you are an architect or in the building industry, you likely cannot tell the age of an apartment complex just by looking at it, but you can certainly ask.
Is a Newer Apartment Better?
No, a newer apartment is not necessarily better. Many older apartments were constructed with materials that would be cost-prohibitive to replicate today. This can mean much better sound control measures are in place.
Of course, newer apartments can have their benefits too, including more modern amenities. Just be careful not to fall for the allure of new buildings (without doing your homework).
What are some of the problems with new buildings?
Some of the problems with newer apartment buildings include:
- Noise / Lack of Sound Control
- Fire Alarms Going Off
- Lack of Beauty (i.e. a lot of newer buildings are criticized for lacking design appeal)
In conclusion, it does take practice, but once you know what to look for, you can get a sense of when the building was built for your knowledge and peace of mind.