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Top 5 College Towns For Rental Housing Investors

The George Peabody Library at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore

Investing in rental housing in college towns is a tried-and-true strategy for some. But not all college towns are created equal. At least according to Allen Shayanfekr, CEO of Sharestates, an online real estate investment platform.

In college towns, the constant influx of students means investors have an ever-rotating pool of potential tenants. But, Shayanfekr said, the better college areas have a high walkability rate, giving students the ability to get to stores, parks and social hot spots without using a car.

Sharestates evaluated the largest university communities in the U.S. to determine the top five neighborhoods where median home prices far trailed the dynamics of the college community in which they are located, giving investors the best return on their investment.

1. Johns Hopkins University

Gilman Hall at Johns Hopkins University

The median home price in this Baltimore college town is more than $65K below the national median price of homes, and many homes around the university average three bedrooms and two bathrooms, Shayanfekr said, and are in the Charles Village neighborhood, where many restaurants and other amenities are in walking distance.

2. University of Notre Dame

University of Notre Dame

With the average university student saving some $386/month, the South Bend, Indiana, neighborhoods surrounding the university offer a great opportunity for investors to make inexpensive bets on real estate, given the median home price is $89,900, Shayanfekr said. That helps feed the retail around Notre Dame since students' dollars stretch farther given the lower rents, he said.  

3. Case Western Reserve University

Adelbert Hall at Case Western Reserve University

With a median home price of $120,500 — nearly $76K below the national median — investors can grab three-bedroom houses in the neighborhoods of Coventry, North Coventry and Cedar-Fairmount, all three popular neighborhoods where Case Western students overwhelmingly reside because of the easy access to shopping, grocery stores and nightlife, Shayanfekr said.

4. University of Pennsylvania

Statue of the Rev. George Whitefield at the University of Pennsylvania

While median housing prices in Philadelphia are higher than other college towns on this list, they are still below the national median at nearly $168K. But with rents averaging more than $1,200/month, investors have the potential to receive significant income, Shayanfekr said. The most popular student neighborhoods include Point Breeze and Passyunk, given their walking distance to the campus.

5. Michigan State University

View of the South Campus at Michigan State University

Downtown East Lansing is the big draw for students going to MSU. That is not only because of its proximity to the campus, but Downtown East Lansing is home to numerous bars and restaurants. It also is attractive for rental housing investors since median home prices list at $107K, Shayanfekr said.