5 Best College Towns for Real Estate Investors

By FeaturesFOXBusiness

Real estate prices may be on the rise, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make money on a rental property—especially in college towns.

People thinking about getting into real estate as an investment can bring in a profit buying a home in a college town as enrollment numbers continue to rise and schools struggle to meet on-campus housing demands.

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But not all college towns are created equal. To get the best return on investment, check out the top five top college towns with the lowest price per square foot, according to real estate website Homefinder.com.

1. Baltimore, Md

Home to a slew of nearby colleges including Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University, University Maryland and the University of Baltimore, this river city has the lowest price per square foot on the list coming in at $11.46.

The average home sells for $243,456 and typically has 3.5 bedrooms and 2.4 baths, according to HomeFinder.com. Of the universities, Johns Hopkins is by far the largest with a total enrollment of 21,139, according to U.S. News & World Report with 47% of the student body living off campus.

2. Grand Forks, ND

This small town may only have one nearby university, but the University of North Dakota happens to be the oldest in the state and continues to attract students.

According to the school, it experienced its highest enrollment on record in 2012 with 15,250 students. The average price per square foot of houses in the area is under $20 at $16.95 and the average home sells for $193,335 and typically has 3.6 bedrooms and 2.8 baths.  According to U.S. News & World Report, 68% of students live beyond campus boundaries.

3. Cleveland, Ohio

Although the average price per square foot in this town is more than double that of Baltimore and Grand Forks at $41.26, it’s home to three universities, giving investors plenty of eager students looking to rent.

The average home price in the area is $56,905, bringing in an average of 3.2 bedrooms and 1.5 baths. However, it might be difficult to find renters in some areas given that at Case Western Reserve University, 76% of the student body lives on campus or in school affiliated housing, according to U.S. News & World Report.

4. Rochester, N.Y.

It may be cold and snowy during the long winter months, but this upstate New York college town has the potential to make investors some serious cash thanks to its local universities with large student bodies.

While the average price per square foot is $55.54, homes on average sell for around $86,000 and typically give investors 3.3 bedrooms and 1.7 baths, enough room for two or more students to live out the school year in comfort. Keep in mind that at the University of Rochester, 83% of the student body lives on campus, according to U.S. News & World Report.

5. Buffalo, N.Y.

This quintessential college town is home to three state universities, giving investors ample access to students looking for lodging.  According to US News & World Report, University at Buffalo alone has more than 19,000 undergraduate students, with 65% of them living off campus.

The average price per square foot is a bit higher than Rochester, coming in at $59.16 and home prices are also higher. According to HomeFinder.com, a 3.6 bedroom, 1.7 bath house costs an average of $113,730.  At the University at Buffalo, there are close to 30,000 total students enrolled and 65% of them live off campus, according to U.S. News & World Report.

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