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The Most Affordable College Town Is …

Whether consumers are hunting for their perfect house or just trying to find a place to rent, affordability is a key factor in determining if it’s time to settle down or move elsewhere. With so many students burdened by crippling levels of student debt, housing affordability is definitely on the minds of recent grads, but could that college town they’re used to be a reasonable and affordable long-term home?

Realtor.com set out to determine “The Best Affordable College Towns for Recent Grads—and Everyone Else.” Realtor.com’s data team examined the 700 largest markets in the U.S., focusing specifically on those that were home to at least one four-year university populated by at least 10,000 undergraduates. Realtor.com then considered factors such as “percentage of college students, unemployment rates, home appreciation, and median income.” What did they find? Among other things, Iowa is home to not one, but two of the most affordable college towns in the U.S.

Ames, Iowa, comes in at number one on the list, according to Realtor.com’s report. Home to nearly 35,000 college students, Ames features a median home list price of $265,200 and a median household income of $56,800. The city’s jobless rate is also low at only 1.7 percent.

Iowa is also home to the tenth most-affordable city on the list: Iowa City, Iowa. With nearly 30,000 students living within its borders, Iowa City features a median home list price of $290,000 and a median household income of $61,400.

The rest of Realtor.com’s Top 10 are scattered around the country, with State College, Pennsylvania, coming in at number two. With a name that’s about as collegiate as you can get, State College has attracted a population of nearly 50,000 college students. The city’s median home list price sits at $257,600, with a median household income of $61,100.

From there, the rest of the top 10 consists of Lawrence, Kansas; Blacksburg, Virginia; Ithaca, New York; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Champaign, Illinois; Lafayette, Indiana; Columbia, Missouri; and the aforementioned Iowa City.

The highest median home list price from the top 10 is Ann Arbor’s $334,100; the lowest is Champaign’s $158,100.

To read the rest of the details about Realtor.com’s 10 most affordable college towns, click here.

About Author: David Wharton

David Wharton, Editor-in-Chief at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has nearly 20 years' experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. He can be reached at [email protected].

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