Decoding - The Difference Between Flats and Apartments

Ever wondered what is the difference between a flat and an apartment? Are these two just different terms for the same urban housing option? These terms are usually used interchangeably, making it confusing for everyone to differentiate between them. At first, the difference between flats and apartments seems like mere wordplay. However, when delved deeper into this, it is revealed that both are not synonyms but carry unique characteristics that make the two different in the world of real estate. 

When choosing between an apartment and a flat, a buyer must not consider just semantics. They need to understand the various related aspects of the two options and their unique features that will shape the living experience. Flat is typically used in British English, while apartment is used in American English. Although both these housing options refer to residential units within a larger building, they are significantly different. The divergence between them extends beyond linguistic differences and includes differences based on their size, design and several other aspects. 

When exploring the urban housing landscape for purchase, it is essential to understand the intricate distinctions between the two. So, whether you are a new buyer or investor in the real estate market or looking forward to shifting your living arrangements, this post by the Home4us team is a must for you. It will brief you about the meaning of a flat and an apartment, their benefits, and the difference between them. So, continue reading as we unearth all these details to help you make an informed decision while buying your next urban home or investing in a real estate option. 

Highlighting the Difference Between Flats and Apartments

Your home is much more than four walls of bricks; it is your life. It plays a crucial role in shaping your lifestyle. Therefore, while choosing the one for you, it is essential to understand all the aspects and make an informed choice. Two of the most confusing urban housing options people get confused about are flats and apartments. From knowing that the two are different to choosing the one most suitable, there are many things to learn about to make the right decision. If you are in this dilemma of choosing between these two or are simply curious to learn about their differences, below is a detailed differentiation for you.

Differentiating aspect




Flat is a British English word.

Apartment is an American English word.


Generally, it consists of a standard hall, master bedroom, smaller rooms, kitchen and washroom. 

Apartment is a term for a broader category of houses and it covers different house types like studio apartment or a duplex apartment. 


Flats are built on a single floor. 

Apartment can even cover more than one floor. 


People seeking a simple lifestyle choose these housing options. 

People looking for a luxurious lifestyle choose apartments. 

The table above is just an introduction to some distinctions between the two. To help you learn in detail, below is an elaboration of the differentiation between a flat and an apartment based on several factors.


Their meaning is the first and foremost factor to differentiate between a flat and an apartment. 

What is a flat?

Usually, the term flat is used in British English for a set of rooms on a floor of a larger building. One crucial point to remember while understanding the meaning of a flat is that it is built only on one storey. One can also say that it does not contain stairs inside it. A flat is also commonly used in Hong Kong, Singapore and most Commonwealth nations. 

What is an apartment? Apartment is a term more commonly used in American English for a suite of rooms or a single room in a building with several units occupied by different households. In American English, the term apartment refers to any type of set of rooms in a larger building occupied by several families. However, the term is used only in British English for types of flats used in holidays. Another crucial point to remember about apartments is that a single unit of these housing options might cover more than one storey of the building. In some countries, an apartment is a term for luxurious flats with high-end amenities. Benefits Another essential factor to discuss when listing the difference between flats and apartments is the benefits each offers.  Benefits of flats

  • Flats are considered the most affordable housing options in urban cities, making them feasible for any household. 

  • They are available in varying sizes, from 1 BHK to above 10 BHK. Their diverse sizes allow buyers to buy the most suitable for their unique requirements and budget.

  • The building management maintains a flat's surroundings, reducing the burden of control on the buyer. 

  • Flats are the safest and most affordable options for first-time real estate investors.

Benefits of apartments

  • Unlike flats, apartment is a term usually used for lavish housing units. These are the most suitable for people seeking more luxurious living amenities. 

  • They are available in varying size options, ranging from studio to duplex or triplex apartments. 

  • An apartment owner does not need to worry about maintaining the surroundings as the complex owner is responsible. 

  • Investing in apartments offers high returns. 

Lifestyle expectations

Flats and apartments must also be differentiated based on the quality of life they foster. Although when comparing these two based on this factor, several aspects like maintenance, construction standards and design need to be considered, real estate experts suggest that flat is a term used for a house offering middle-class living while apartments offer luxurious living. However, this does not mean one cannot build a lavish lifestyle in a flat. Both these housing units can offer a lifestyle as desired by their owner as they are available in varying options catering to various preferences.

Features/ amenities

Although both these housing units are located in a larger complex or building, the amenities offered in each are quite different. Usually, the term flats is generally used for affordable units that provide simple living. Hence, the number of amenities offered in them is limited. They aim to foster simplicity. On the other hand, apartments offer much more lavish facilities. They provide a wide array of shared amenities like communal spaces and gyms to enhance the overall living experience while catering to the luxurious needs of residents.


Known for their space efficiency and simplicity, flats are much more budget-friendly than apartments. Their affordable prices make them a preferred choice for people with smaller households or limited budgets. In contrast, apartments are priced higher and are more suitable for buyers with a significant budget.


The diverse urban living landscape offers several choices for a buyer. Among these choices, the most common is between a flat and an apartment. By reading this blog, you must have understood that the difference between the two is much more than mere wordplay. So, when buying or investing in them, choose wisely by evaluating all the aspects to ensure your decision is fruitful. To get the best options for both, explore Home4us.

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