The 20 Best College Towns to Buy an Investment Property

By Jeff Anttila

It’s no secret that real estate can be a lucrative investment. But how do you know which house to buy, or better yet, what city you should buy it in? While there may be arguments for many attractive cities based on recent growth or fluctuations in housing prices, college towns are consistently some of the best places to buy investment properties in the U.S.

Demand for rental properties in college towns remains high due to steady demand. From new students to university faculty coming in each year, you’ll never find yourself scrambling to rent out your place. College towns also make great locations for BnB-type rental properties as visitors tend to flock to college towns during sports seasons and friends or relatives of students often visit and need a place to stay.

Which college town is right for you for a future investment property? To help you decide, we ranked college towns across the U.S. by affordability, walking distance to amenities, and the level of high-quality education relative to low tuition and fees.

1. Binghamton, NY – Binghamton University – SUNY

Median List Price: $119,000

Tuition and Fees: $24,488

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 80

Walk Score: 55

2. Syracuse, NY  – SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Syracuse University

Median List Price: $118,000

Tuition and Fees: $18,218 (SUNY ESF) and $51,853 (Syracuse University)

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 118 (SUNY ESF) and 53 (Syracuse University)

Walk Score: 61

3. Buffalo, NY  – University of Buffalo

Median List Price: $155,000

Tuition and Fees: $27,758

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 89

Walk Score: 68

4. Gainesville, FL – University of Florida

Median List Price: $235,500

Tuition and Fees: $28,658

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 35

Walk Score: 34

5. Athens, GA – University of Georgia

Median List Price: $205,000

Tuition and Fees: $30,404

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 46

Walk Score: 46

6. Champaign, IL – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Median List Price: $194,000

Tuition and Fees: 32,568

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 46

Walk Score: 50

7. Baltimore, MD – John Hopkins University

Median List Price: $190,000

Tuition and Fees: $53,740

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 10

Walk Score: 69

8. Tallahassee, FL – Florida State University

Median List Price: $237,700

Tuition and Fees: $21,673

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 70

Walk Score: 32

9. Cleveland, OH – Case Western Reserve University

Median List Price: $89,900

Tuition and Fees: $49,042

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 42

Walk Score: 60

10. St Louis, MO – Washington University in St. Louis

Median List Price: $170,000

Tuition and Fees: 53,399

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 19

Walk Score: 65

11. Columbus, OH – Ohio State University – Columbus

Median List Price: $215,000

Tuition and Fees: $29,659

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 56

Walk Score: 41

12. Pittsburgh, PA – University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University

Median List Price: $200,000

Tuition and Fees: $32,052 (University of Pittsburgh) and $55,465 (Carnegie Mellon)

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 70 (University of Pittsburgh) and 25 (Carnegie Mellon)

Walk Score: 62

13. Rochester, NY – University of Rochester

Median List Price: $139,000

Tuition and Fees: $53,926

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 33

Walk Score: 65

14. New Haven, CT  – Yale University

Median List Price: $225,000

Tuition and Fees: $53,430

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 3

Walk Score: 68

15. Provo, UT – Brigham Young University – Provo

Median List Price: $318,000

Tuition and Fees: $5,620

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 66

Walk Score: 47

16. West Lafayette, IN – Purdue University – West Lafayette

Median List Price: $264,900

Tuition and Fees: $28,804

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 56

Walk Score: 50

17. Philadelphia, PA – Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania

Median List Price: $245,000

Tuition and Fees: $28,426 (Temple University) and $55,584 (University of Pennsylvania)

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 106 (Temple University) and 8 (Pennsylvania)

Walk Score: 79

18. Troy, NY – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Median List Price: $134,000

Tuition and Fees: $53,880

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 49

Walk Score:  55

19. Albany, NY – University of Albany – SUNY

Median List Price: $218,000

Tuition and Fees: $24,436

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 140

Walk Score: 65

20. Lawrence, KS – University of Kansas

Median List Price: $169,000

Tuition and Fees: $27,358

U.S. News and World Report Ranking: 129

Walk Score: 40

 

Methodology:

Only the top 200 schools in the U.S. News and World Report National Universities Rankings list were considered. We used their rankings as well as their tuition and fees cost information. We then only considered locations with median list prices under $550,000. Tuition and fees, U.S. News and World Report ranking, and median list prices were all weighted equally (.3), with Walk Score weighted less than these categories (.1).

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