SOURCE: Coldwell Banker

Coldwell Banker

November 05, 2009 05:00 ET

Home Buying 101: Coldwell Banker Real Estate Annual Listing Finds College Towns Are Undiscovered, Affordable and Stable Markets for Home Buyers

Coldwell Banker College Home Price Comparison Index: Average Four-Bedroom Home Costs Less Than $250,000 in 62 Percent of College Markets Surveyed

PARSIPPANY, NJ--(Marketwire - November 5, 2009) - Every fall, college football fans feel nostalgic for the tradition, lifestyle and spirit of their college towns as they cheer on their favorite teams. This year's Coldwell Banker® College Home Price Comparison Index (HPCI) reveals that these school-centric areas also sport very affordable homes, in addition to the culture and economic stability associated with higher education institutions -- making them great areas to purchase real estate.

The annual College HPCI released by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC provides an apples-to-apples comparison of similarly sized 2,200 square foot, four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom homes in college markets home to the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools. This year, Akron, Ohio (University of Akron) is ranked as the most affordable college town, where a typical four-bedroom home costs $121,885. Muncie, Ind. (Ball State University) took the No. 2 spot at $144,996. Ann Arbor, Mich. (a quintessential college town home to the University of Michigan) came in as the No. 3 most affordable college market, where the sample size home only costs $148,000.

Overall, the 2009 College HPCI revealed that real estate buyers can find a typical four-bedroom home for less than $250,000 in 62 percent of the college markets surveyed (72 total), including iconic American college towns such as:

--  Syracuse, N.Y (Syracuse University): $171,711
--  South Bend, Ind. (University of Notre Dame) $183,938
--  Athens, Ga. (University of Georgia): $205,862
--  Oxford, Miss. (University of Mississippi): $212,000
--  Knoxville, Tenn. (University of Tennessee): $223,850
    

Further research indicates that the charm and affordability of college towns is appealing to more than just students. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2008 American Community Survey; Austin, Texas (University of Texas), Provo, Utah (Brigham Young University), and Raleigh, N.C. (North Carolina State University) were among the metropolitan cities with the greatest population growth in 2008. In all three rising cities, home buyers can find a four-bedroom home for very a reasonable price; only $226,642 in Austin; $231,000 in Provo; and $241,462 in Raleigh.

"College markets have long-been one of the real estate industry best-kept secrets," said Jim Gillespie, president and chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. "Real estate professionals have been investing in college towns for years, often purchasing homes for their children who are attending school. However, these vibrant cities are not only for students; many empty nesters and families are attracted to the health care systems, culture and overall quality of life that college towns offer."

While real estate in college markets may be an undiscovered gem, pride for teams and alma maters are definitely not under-wraps, regardless of how pricey the school or city. For an added perspective, Coldwell Banker asked fans to share "what's best" about living in their college towns for its new Coldwell Banker On Location video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0S7eKOih7k.

More expensive college towns are also worth the investment for many people. For example, students have been competing for years to get accepted into prestigious schools like Stanford University, despite its high tuition and cost of living. Located in the most expensive college market in the nation (Palo Alto, Calif.), an average 2,200 square foot home costs a whopping $1.49 million.

The Coldwell Banker College HPCI specifically examines the home markets in 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools. Additional information about this year's College HPCI and the original Coldwell Banker HPCI study, which ranked 315 markets across the U.S. and Puerto Rico in affordability for the same 2,200 square-foot subject home, is available at http://hpci.coldwellbanker.com.

2009 Coldwell Banker College HPCI - Highlights & Interesting Real Estate Related Facts:


--  This year, there is a $1,367,841 price difference between the sample
    size four-bedroom home in the most affordable college town (Akron,
    Ohio) and most expensive college market (Palo Alto, Calif.).

--  Five schools with football-teams-to-watch this year currently ranked in
    the BCS top 25 standings are also front-runners for home buyers:

    --  Fort Worth, Texas (Texas Christian University), $153,450
    --  Houston, Texas (University of Houston), $159,847
    --  Cincinnati, Ohio (University of Cincinnati), $189,750
    --  Boise, Idaho (Boise State University), $215,432
    --  Iowa City, Iowa (University of Iowa), $217,500

--  The Mid American Conference is the most affordable conference overall,
    where a typical four-bedroom home costs an average of $182,322.


   The top 10 most affordable college markets for home prices in 2009 are:

                                                            2009 Average
Rank                 School                 Town, State       Home Price
         -------------------------------- ----------------- ---------------
1                     University of Akron       Akron, Ohio $       121,885
         -------------------------------- ----------------- ---------------
2                   Ball State University      Muncie, Ind. $       144,996
         -------------------------------- ----------------- ---------------
3                  University of Michigan  Ann Arbor, Mich. $       148,000
         -------------------------------- ----------------- ---------------
4             Eastern Michigan University  Ypsilanti, Mich. $       151,500
         -------------------------------- ----------------- ---------------
5              Texas Christian University Fort Worth, Texas $       153,450
         -------------------------------- ----------------- ---------------
6                     University of Tulsa      Tulsa, Okla. $       154,800
         -------------------------------- ----------------- ---------------
7               University of North Texas     Denton, Texas $       154,900
         -------------------------------- ----------------- ---------------
                       Rice University &
8                   University of Houston    Houston, Texas $       159,847
         -------------------------------- ----------------- ---------------
9                      Indiana University Bloomington, Ind. $       164,433
         -------------------------------- ----------------- ---------------
10                  Kent State University        Kent, Ohio $       165,700
         -------------------------------- ----------------- ---------------


  The top 10 most expensive college markets for home prices in 2009 are:


                                                               2009 Average
Rank                   School                 Town, State      Home Price
           ------------------------------ -------------------- ------------
1                     Stanford University    Palo Alto, Calif. $  1,489,726
           ------------------------------ -------------------- ------------
           University of California LA &
                  University of Southern
2                              California  Los Angeles, Calif. $  1,347,125
           ------------------------------ -------------------- ------------
                                              Boston/Chestnut
3                          Boston College          Hill, Mass. $  1,337,578
           ------------------------------ -------------------- ------------
                University of California
4                                Berkeley     Berkeley, Calif. $  1,299,750
           ------------------------------ -------------------- ------------
5               San Jose State University     San Jose, Calif. $    808,926
           ------------------------------ -------------------- ------------
6                    University of Hawaii     Honolulu, Hawaii $    712,500
           ------------------------------ -------------------- ------------
7             United States Naval Academy       Annapolis, Md. $    687,475
           ------------------------------ -------------------- ------------
8                 Northwestern University       Evanston, Ill. $    663,250
           ------------------------------ -------------------- ------------
9                  University of Colorado       Boulder, Colo. $    622,000
           ------------------------------ -------------------- ------------
10               University of Washington       Seattle, Wash. $    568,317
           ------------------------------ -------------------- ------------



 The below chart ranks BCS top 25 college football teams in affordability
                    (as of Sunday, November 1, 2009):



  BCS                                                   2009      College
Standing                                               Average     HPCI
                School               Town, State      Home Price  Ranking
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
1          University of Florida    Gainesville, Fla. $  282,934         87
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
2            University of Texas        Austin, Texas $  226,642         59
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
3          University of Alabama     Tuscaloosa, Ala. $  206,267         41
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
4             University of Iowa      Iowa City, Iowa $  217,500         51
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
5       University of Cincinnati     Cincinnati, Ohio $  189,750         30
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
                Texas Christian
6                     University    Fort Worth, Texas $  153,450          5
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
7         Boise State University         Boise, Idaho $  215,432         49
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
8           University of Oregon         Eugene, Ore. $  314,038         98
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
                Louisiana State
9                     University     Baton Rouge, La. $  247,265         73
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
10       Georgia Tech University         Atlanta, Ga. $  287,250         89
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
11         Penn State University   State College, Pa. $  309,850         97
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
         University of Southern
12                    California  Los Angeles, Calif. $1,347,125        116
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
13      University of Pittsburgh      Pittsburgh, Pa. $  241,125         69
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
14            University of Utah Salt Lake City, Utah $  291,000         92
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
15         University of Houston       Houston, Texas $  159,847          8
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
16         Ohio State University       Columbus, Ohio $  307,250         96
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
17           University of Miami          Miami, Fla. $  510,000        107
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
18         University of Arizona        Tucson, Ariz. $  227,470         60
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
19     Oklahoma State University    Stillwater, Okla. $  173,667         15
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
       University of California
20                      Berkeley     Berkeley, Calif. $1,299,750        114
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
21       University of Wisconsin        Madison, Wis. $  298,000         94
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
22      University of Notre Dame     South Bend, Ind. $  183,938         23
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
                                 Blacksburg/Roanoke,
23      Virginia Tech University                  Va. $  290,725         91
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
24        University of Oklahoma        Norman, Okla. $  204,475         39
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------
            University of South
25                       Florida          Tampa, Fla. $  244,652         72
       ------------------------- -------------------- ---------- ----------


    The below chart ranks the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences in
                              affordability:



College HPCI
 Ranking                Conference              2009 Average Home Price
              ------------------------------ ------------------------------
1                               Mid American $                      182,322
              ------------------------------ ------------------------------
2                             Conference USA $                      210,882
              ------------------------------ ------------------------------
3                                        SEC $                      222,479
              ------------------------------ ------------------------------
4                                   Big East $                      237,366
              ------------------------------ ------------------------------
5                                   Sun Belt $                      242,213
              ------------------------------ ------------------------------
6                                     Big 12 $                      244,431
              ------------------------------ ------------------------------
7                              Mountain West $                      251,876
              ------------------------------ ------------------------------
8                                     Big 10 $                      279,787
              ------------------------------ ------------------------------
9                                        WAC $                      356,528
              ------------------------------ ------------------------------
10                                       ACC $                      378,062
              ------------------------------ ------------------------------
11                               Independent $                      411,444
              ------------------------------ ------------------------------
12                                    Pac 10 $                      747,180
              ------------------------------ ------------------------------

Methodology - 2009 Coldwell Banker® College Market Home Price Comparison Index:

Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC conducted its College Home Price Comparison Index study by compiling survey data from Coldwell Banker® offices throughout the United States. Companies within the Coldwell Banker system submitted data based on the average sales price of sold real estate listings in 2009 or a comparative market analysis of homes previously sold. Because no Coldwell Banker real estate offices serve Troy, Ala., Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Ames, Iowa; Bloomington, Ind.; Athens, Ohio; Bowling Green, Ohio; Stillwater, Okla.; Charlottesville, Va.; Huntington, W. Va.; Morgantown, W. Va., and Laramie, Wyo. the average prices reflected in the study were from local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data collected in September 2009. The criteria for the College HPCI subject home is: single-family dwelling, 2,200 square feet (approximately), four bedrooms, two and one-half baths.

About Coldwell Banker®

Since 1906, the Coldwell Banker® organization (www.coldwellbanker.com) has been a premier full-service real estate provider. The Coldwell Banker system has approximately 3,300 residential real estate offices and approximately 100,000 sales associates in 47 countries and territories. The Coldwell Banker system is a leader in the industry in residential and commercial real estate, and in niche markets such as resort, new home and luxury property through its Coldwell Banker Previews International® division. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Corporation, a global provider of real estate and relocation services. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Each office is independently owned and operated.

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