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Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC recently released its 2011 College Home Listing Report (College HLR), which ranks college towns across the country in home affordability.

The report provides the average home listing prices for three-bedroom, two-bathroom properties that were listed for sale on coldwellbanker.com between August 2010 and August 2011 in markets home to 117 of the 120 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision. According to the report, three-bedroom homes cost less than $200,000 on average in nearly two-thirds of the college towns included (76 markets) and less than $150,000 in nearly one-quarter (26 markets). In the most affordable market, Memphis, Tennessee, (home to University of Memphis) the average listing price of a three-bedroom home is $89,244. The full ranking is available at hlr.coldwellbanker.com.

“I love the College Home Listing Report, because it highlights the amazing affordability of the college towns that define the fabric of America,” says Jim Gillespie, chief executive officer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. “Our report underscores the homeownership opportunities in many of these vibrant, affordable communities that are known for their high energy, educational systems and often stable job markets.”

Gillespie can speak first-hand about the benefits of buying a home in a college town, having purchased a townhouse in Champaign, Illinois, home to his alma mater, the University of Illinois. “I am a huge fan of the culture and events, and found this to be a wonderful investment and an excellent spot for my family when we come to see the Fighting Illini in action,” Gillespie said. “In Champaign, a three-bedroom home currently lists at an average of $178,310, which is remarkable considering its unbeatable Midwestern charm and location.”

Local Testaments to College Town Living
Big and small, affordable or more expensive, many residents and community members attest to all that college towns have to offer. For example, Evanston, Ill., home to Northwestern University, comes with a higher price tag, where an average three-bedroom home listing price is $385,540, but many say it is worth the cost.

“Evanston is a great community on the lakefront, just north of Chicago,” says Cornelia Steffes, manager of the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Evanston-Central office. “We have easy access to Lake Michigan, beaches and water sports. Plus, we have fabulous arts and culture, festivals and dining, sports and leisure. It is truly a world-class city in a world class location.”

Other iconic college towns such as Madison, Wisconsin, home to the University of Wisconsin (where a three-bedroom home’s listing average is $221,100) and Gainesville, Florida, (University of Florida, $192,055) are known for both their college town spirit and affordability.

“One reason Madison is such a great place to live is because of the incredible vitality the University of Wisconsin provides in economic development,” says Phil Sveum, broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Success. “The impact of the university’s research and growth of bio-tech companies has translated to good jobs for those seeking to live in a highly educated environment with many of the cultural opportunities of much larger cities.”

J. Parrish, president of Coldwell Banker M.M. Parrish REALTORS® in Gainesville, Forida, notes that the town’s ties to the University of Florida are parallel to the beauty of the area. “Situated in the heart of beautiful north central Florida midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, Gainesville’s carefully preserved nature basks in beautiful sunshine,” Parrish says. “This is truly a lovely, unique place to live.”

For more information, visit hlr.coldwellbanker.com. An infographic comparing the top 10 most expensive markets based on number of students, tuition and city population is also available at http://www.coldwellbanker.com/.

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