Money

15 popular college towns where it’s cheaper to buy a house than live in a dorm

El Paso, Texas.
Brian Wancho | Getty Images
El Paso, Texas.

Although sharing a tiny dorm room is a rite of passage for many undergraduate students, it's not always the most fun experience.

And, at some schools, it's also not the most economical choice. For students looking to begin investing in real estate early, or just to save a buck, finding a place off-campus might be a smart starting point.

Residential real estate company Redfin compared the monthly cost of living in a dorm at 195 public colleges across the U.S. to the median monthly mortgage for a condo in the same cities to determine where it's actually cheaper to buy.

Redfin found 47 colleges where mortgages offer better rates than dorm rooms.

To calculate monthly mortgage costs, Redfin assumed a 20 percent down payment, a 4 percent interest rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage, 1.125 percent annual property taxes and $70 for homeowner's insurance.

It's important to note that home ownership isn't the right choice for everyone. In addition to the obvious financial burdens, owning property requires a substantial time investment. Still, those who feel equipped could save hundreds of dollars a month.

Here are the 15 biggest public schools where it's cheaper to buy a condo than live in a dorm, ranked by average amount of savings.

15. Georgia State University

Location: Atlanta, Ga.
Median monthly mortgage: $1,116
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $1,139
Cost difference: $23

14. University of Akron

Location: Akron, Ohio
Median monthly mortgage: $733
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $780
Cost difference: $47

13. The University of Texas at Dallas

Location: Richardson, Texas
Median monthly mortgage: $693
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $769
Cost difference: $76

12. Kent State University

Location: Kent, Ohio
Median monthly mortgage: $664
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $751
Cost difference: $87

10. TIE: Louisiana State University

Location: Baton Rouge, La.
Median monthly mortgage: $731
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $837
Cost difference: $105

10. TIE: The University of Texas at El Paso

Location: El Paso, Texas
Median monthly mortgage: $441
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $546
Cost difference: $105

9. Sam Houston State University

Location: Huntsville, Texas
Median monthly mortgage: $427
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $570
Cost difference: $143

8. University of Kentucky

Location: Lexington, Ky.
Median monthly mortgage: $730
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $876
Cost difference: $146

7. University of South Carolina at Columbia

Location: Columbia, S.C.
Median monthly mortgage: $511
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $671
Cost difference: $160

6. University of Delaware

Location: Newark, Del.
Median monthly mortgage: $605
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $813
Cost difference: $208

5. University of Buffalo

Location: Buffalo, N.Y.
Median monthly mortgage: $650
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $866
Cost difference: $217

4. University of Arizona

Location: Tucson, Ariz.
Median monthly mortgage: $545
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $811
Cost difference: $266

3. University of Oklahoma

Location: Norman, Okla.
Median monthly mortgage: $470
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $752
Cost difference: $282

2. University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Location: Greensboro, N.C.
Median monthly mortgage: $487
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $715
Cost difference: $228

1. Miami University

Location: Oxford, Ohio
Median monthly mortgage: $489
Monthly cost of for a dorm: $831
Cost difference: $342

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