RealtyTrac has ranked the top 10 college towns for buying rental properties, and the top 10 college towns for flipping in 2014. For these rankings, RealtyTrac looked at public four-year universities with a total 2012 enrollment of 20,000 or more based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics and located in counties with an unemployment rate below the national average of 6.2 percent in June 2014.
Top 10 for buying rentals
The top 10 college towns for buying rental properties were ranked based on annual gross rental yield, which is the annualized rental income — using average fair market rents for the town from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development –divided by the average of the median sales prices in the city during the first eight months of 2014. With an average rental yield of nearly 14 percent, the city of Akron Ohio, home of the University of Akron, tops the list of top college towns for buying rental properties. Following closely is Trenton, N.J., home of Thomas Edison State College, with an average gross rental yield of 13.20 percent, Gainesville, Fla., home to the University of Florida, with an average gross rental yield of 11.34 percent.
Top 10 for flipping
The top 10 college towns for flipping were ranked based on the average gross return on investment (ROI) percentage for single family homes flipped in the town during the first eight months of 2014. Not all college towns had sufficient sales, rental or flipping data to rank. Topping the list of the best college towns for flipping is Minneapolis, Minn., home of the University of Minnesota, with an ROI for flipping of 65.59 percent. Close behind is Seattle, Wash., home of the University of Washington, with an ROI on flipping of 61.88 percent and Lincoln, Neb., home of the University of Nebraska, with an ROI on flipping of 55.01 percent.
“Boulder shows strong rental rates with rents of $800 to $1,000 per bedroom close to campus and a vacancy rate of 1 percent,” said Greg Smith, broker/owner of RE/MAX Alliance in Boulder, Colo. “Boulder investment properties are selling at an all-time high with many properties selling for cap rates of less than five percent.”
Investment opportunity in 95 college towns
RealtyTrac also created an interactive visual showing the investment opportunities — both for renting and flipping when data is available — for 95 college towns that are home to some of the nation’s largest public universities. We limited this list to public four-year universities with a total student enrollment of 20,000 or more.