March Madness: The Sweet 16 of Housing Markets

College towns are some of the best places to live, given the culture and general quality of life that come with a vibrant student population. RealtyTrac took a look at the best housing markets among these college towns whose men’s basketball teams advanced to the Sweet 16. Here’s how the college towns represented by the teams that made the Sweet 16 stack up in terms of the health of the real estate market.


State County
Syracuse Orange New York Onondaga
Gonzaga Bulldogs Washington Spokane
Kansas Jayhawks Kansas Douglas
Maryland Terrapins Maryland Prince George’s County
Villanova Wildcats Pennsylvania Delaware
Miami Hurricanes Florida Miami-Dade
Wisconsin Badgers Wisconsin Dane
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Indiana St Joseph
Virginia Cavaliers Virginia Charlottesville City
Iowa State Cyclones Iowa Story
Texas A&M Aggies Texas Brazos
Oklahoma Sooners Oklahoma Oklahoma
Duke Blue Devils North Carolina Durham
Oregon Ducks Oregon Lane
Indiana Hoosiers Indiana Monroe
North Carolina Tar Heels North Carolina Orange County



For all the numbers below we used data from the county where each college is located.

Sweet 16: the unemployment rate comes from the Census Bureau as of January 2016. The town with the lowest unemployment rate won its Sweet 16 matchup.

Elite 8: To calculate the monthly rental affordability we looked at the average monthly wage (extrapolated from average weekly wage) as a percentage of average rent. The town with the lowest rental affordability percentage won its Elite 8 matchup.

Final 4:  To calculate Natural Disaster Score we analyzed five different natural disasters posing a risk to housing: earthquake risk, hurricane risk, tornado risk, flood risk and wildfire risk. Based on these five factors, a combined natural disaster risk score from 0 to 300, with 300 representing the most risk. The town with the lowest risk score won its Final 4 matchup.

Championship:  Percent of Homeowners who are Equity Rich: Loan to value ratio of 50 percent or lower, meaning the homeowner had at least 50 percent equity. The town with the highest percentage of Equity Rich homeowners won the Championship matchup.

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