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What is the best facing direction for your apartment? (North, South, West, East?) (Video + Blog: Tip #8)

What is the Best Facing Direction in NYC?

Having worked in NYC real estate for 14 years, people often ask me what is the best kind of exposure to have: facing north, south, east, or west. What is the best facing direction? Well, guess what? It depends! Note that you can get ANY exposure you want from the thousands of apartments on frēlē, the free and honest real estate marketplace.  

NOTE: To search for NYC apartments, go to frele.com (free service). Or, click for more rental tips. 

Generally speaking, facing “south” is considered the best facing direction and some would even argue it deserves a premium.  This is why when an apartment faces south for example you will almost always see it highlighted in the advertising for the property (i.e. “killer southern exposure!”).

But there are downsides to facing south.  For some, it is not considered the best facing direction.  In fact, there are pros and cons to each of the four exposures as explained below.  (Keep in mind this article assumes your view is not a brick wall or that you are very close to another building.  In NYC, unfortunately renters wind up with close to a brick wall view quite a lot. When that happens, it doesn’t really matter which direction you are facing!)

SOUTH FACING DIRECTION: A NYC apartment with Southern Exposure

When you face south in an apartment in NYC you generally get direct sun for most of the day.  This is why a south facing direction is often considered the best direction to face and is generally the most coveted exposure. 

However, there is one major downside about facing south, and you have to really experience it to understand. Direct sun can be so bright that people often have to use shades on their windows throughout the day. Ironically, depending on how bright and how open your views are, your shades may be down most of the time in a south facing apartment.  Another potential downside is that the direct sun could damage some furnishings like artwork.

NORTH FACING DIRECTION: A NYC apartment with Northern Exposure

If you face north you will not get direct sun at all.  For whatever reason many of the apartments I have lived in had northern exposure and I really loved it. As long as the windows were big and the view decent, you should get good light throughout the day.  You just won’t get “direct” sunlight. Some people refer to a north facing direction as the best light for artists (“artist’s light”) since the light is more consistent throughout the day and there is no sunlight to ruin their paintings!

EAST FACING DIRECTION: A NYC apartment with Eastern Exposure

If your apartment faces east, you will get direct morning sun.  Depending on your view you may even get to see the sunrise but this also means you have to be up quite early. I know several “early risers” that just love the east facing direction.  The day would not be the same if they could not have their breakfast with the sun beaming in. What a great way to start the day. Of course, it also means the apartments will be on the darker side for the rest of the day. But to each his own!

WEST FACING DIRECTION: A NYC apartment with Western Exposure

My current NYC apartment faces west, and it is a first for me.  If your apartment has  a west facing direction you are in for a real treat after work assuming you come home at a reasonable time.  Having the sun beam into your apartment right after you get home from a long day gives you an extra dose of energy.  Also, if you are lucky enough to have a view such that you can catch the sunset over the Hudson River, you are in for a special NYC moment every night.  A downside is that you don’t see the sun at all in the morning but if you are like me, rushing around like crazy anyway, it is the last thing on your mind anyway.  

For more NYC rental tips, please go to frele.com/learn.  

This article was written by:
Phil Horigan, NYC Real Estate Veteran
Founder, Frēlē, the free and honest NYC rental marketplace
Producer, Phil’s NYC Rental Tips [YouTube Channel]
Blogger: flowfreely.com
Instagram: @philiphorigan

Phil has been a licensed NYC real estate agent since 2004 working for some of the top real estate brokerage firms in the industry.  He founded Leasebreak.com in 2013, and Frēlē in 2017.  Frēlē and Leasebreak are free and transparent rental marketplaces to search for or post apartments for rent in NYC

Phil shot the video in the blog post with Susan Rosenberg Jones from Brown Harris Stevens.  Susan can be reached here on Brown Harris Steven’s website.

Go to frele.com to search for NYC apartments (free service).

Updated on March 2, 2021

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