College towns proved to be resilient during the housing downturn, and the appeal is still showing few signs of cooling off. As student loan debt takes a bite out of their monthly incomes and makes it harder for millennials to save for a down payment, markets that are home to a major university are increasingly desirable.
These days, universities draw not just students and professors, but also retireeslooking to stay actively engaged. Terry and David Miyamoto bought a home in Charlottesville near the University of Virginia. "The Lifelong Learning Institute was important to us, and we've already taken one class there and registered for three more for next semester," David said.
First-rate medical facilities, college sports and cultural events are also big draws. "This bodes well for strong housing demand and peak prices in these communities," said real estate broker Dolly Lenz.