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Coldwell Banker Real Estate Survey Finds New Trend in College Towns: Parent Investors Buying Homes vs. Spending on Rent or Dorms

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RISMEDIA, November 16, 2010—Every fall, parents wave goodbye as their college-bound kids pack up their belongings, make the drive down university lane and prepare for football games, mid-terms and freedom. While college living is often associated with dorms and campus housing, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC discovered that many parents are opting to purchase a home rather than spend money on rent or dorm fees. According to a recent survey among the Coldwell Banker network of real estate professionals in college towns, 64% see a significant number of “parent investors” buying homes for their kids to live in while attending the university.

To see how college towns stack up in home price affordability, Coldwell Banker Real Estate released its new College Home Listing Report (College HLR) which provides the average home listing price of four-bedroom, two-bathroom properties listed for sale between April and September 2010 on coldwellbanker.com in markets that are home to the 120 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision. With almost two-thirds of the College HLR markets having subject homes priced less than $250,000 (78 in total), college towns prove to be a touchdown for home buyers.

The top 10 most affordable markets in the Coldwell Banker Real Estate College Home Listing Report are:

“Towns that are home to major universities have a special vibe you just don’t find anywhere else,” said Jim Gillespie, chief executive officer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate and alumni of the Illinois Fighting Illini. “It’s about more than just great sports and local flavor. College towns offer rich culture and most have steady economic bases oftentimes highlighted by outstanding medical and research facilities.”

While not all college towns are affordable, even the more expensive markets make great places to live.

The top 10 most expensive markets in the Coldwell Banker Real Estate College Home Listing Report are:

Additional Survey Findings:
Coldwell Banker Real Estate also found that college towns have continued to be a hot spot for real estate investing, regardless of the downturn in the economy. Seventy-three percent of Coldwell Banker real estate professionals surveyed said they see a significant number of investors buying homes near campus and renting them to people in the community, with only 21% seeing a decrease in this trend over the past five years.

“Our survey suggests two types of investors see value in college towns,” Gillespie said. “Long-term investors take advantage of the steady stream of renters, including students, professors and university officials. “‘Parent investors’ buy homes for their child to live in while attending college. Roommates provide rental income for the mortgage, and the hope is that students care for the home and it appreciates over time.”

With so many benefits to living in a college town, they aren’t just for investors. Alumni and retirees are finding reasons to re-live their glory days, as well. Fifty one percent of survey respondents noted they see a lot of alumni home buyers, and 49% see a significant number of retirees moving to their college town.

“It’s not just students who want to live near campus, attend games and take interesting classes,” Gillespie said. “For a few years now, college towns have been popular markets for alumni and retirees. I’m a great example,” he said. “I purchased a home in Champaign, Ill. to be near my alma mater, the University of Illinois, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, from both a lifestyle and a financial perspective.”

For more information, visit www.coldwellbanker.com.

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