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The best (and worst) college towns to invest in real estate 

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

With a steady supply of new, prospective tenants and relatively affordable housing options, investing in real estate in college cities and towns is an attractive option. But some college towns make for much savvier investments than others.

Homes.com, a real estate listing website, looked at nearly 150 college towns and cities across the U.S. using its own listing data to determine just what kind of return on investment landlords can expect.

Homes.com's study found 10 college towns with yields higher than 10 percent (of purchase price). Yields measure future income, in this case, rental, and were calculated using data including the local average monthly rent for a three bedroom, average purchase price for a three bedroom and annual rent.

"The average investor investing in real estate is interested in anything over 5 percent on ROI [return on investment]," Grant Simmons of Homes.com says. "College towns with affordable housing and low cost of living were more appealing than cities with high real estate costs, like New York and Boston, where you'll face competitive markets."

Overall, Homes.com found that within the top 20 college areas that produced the highest yields, Texas had the most cities, five to be exact, cracking the list.

However, the college town offering the highest yield is Champaign, Illinois — home to the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign — with a 14.02 percent yield. (There, home.com found the average purchase price of a three-bed is $139,050 and the average monthly rent on the same sized home is $1,625 for a $19,500 annual rent.)

Rochester, New York (home to schools including the University of Rochester) secures the second spot as the best college town for landlords, with a 13.49 percent yield, followed by New Haven, Connecticut (home to Yale University) with a 12.14 percent yield.

Overall, these are the top 10 best college towns and cities for landlords, according to Homes.com:

1. Champaign, Illinois: 14.02% yield

2. Rochester, New York: 13.49% yield

3. New Haven, Connecticut: 12.14% yield

4. McAllen, Texas: 11.16% yield

5. Providence, Rhode Island: 10.93% yield

6. Urbana, Illinois: 10.91% yield

7. Corpus Christi, Texas: 10.52% yield

8. Statesboro, Georgia: 10.50% yield

9. Buffalo, New York: 10.31% yield

10. Baltimore, Maryland: 10.16% yield

On the flip side, Scottsdale, Arizona (with nearby Arizona State University) was the worst college town in which to invest (ranked 147th) with a yield of 1.92 percent. Homes.com found the average purchase price for a three-bedroom is $517,735.45 and the average monthly rent for a Scottsdale place that size is just $827.50.

Boston (which boasts dozens of colleges from Boston University to Northeastern) snagged the second worst spot, with a 2.20 percent yield and Princeton, New Jersey (home to its eponymous university) was the third worst college town in which to invest, with a 2.92 percent yield.

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