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collegeRISMEDIA, December 7, 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% 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.

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.

For more information, visit www.coldwellbanker.com.