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Redfin Names 15 Colleges Where Students Should Buy Real Estate Instead of Rent Dorms

Misty Hurley

SEATTLE-— At 47 public U.S. colleges it’s more cost effective for a student to buy a condo than rent a dorm room on campus, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage.

Dorm rooms in the U.S. range in cost from $232 to $1,817 per month, with a median monthly rate of $705. To find out where students could save on housing costs, Redfin compared the monthly dorm rate at 195 U.S. public colleges with the median monthly mortgage on a condo in each of those cities.

The top 15 list was ordered by enrollment to show the most popular schools first.

Rank College City


Dorm Cost


1 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ $545 $811 $266
2 Georgia State University Atlanta, GA $1,116 $1,139 $23
3 University of South Carolina-Columbia Columbia, SC $511 $671 $160
4 Kent State University at Kent Kent, OH $664 $751 $87
5 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA $731 $837 $105
6 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY $650 $866 $217
7 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY $730 $876 $146
8 University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus Norman, OK $470 $752 $282
9 The University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, TX $441 $546 $105
10 The University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX $693 $769 $76
11 University of Akron Akron, OH $733 $780 $47
12 University of Delaware Newark, DE $605 $813 $208
13 University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC $487 $715 $228
14 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX $427 $570 $143
15 Miami University-Oxford Oxford, OH $489 $831 $342

Coming in at number one on the list is The University of Arizona in Tucson, which Redfin real estate agent Misty Hurley says isn’t surprising.

Misty Hurley

“I’ve had lots of parents contact me after comparing the cost of renting versus buying a home for their college student,” she said. “They’re often coming from places like Washington D.C., Los Angeles or Seattle, where home prices are much higher. The median sale price in Tucson is $195,000, so well below the national median sale price of $293,000 that Redfin reported in August.”

Rounding out the top five list were Georgia State University, the University of South Carolina, Kent State University and Louisiana State University, all of which are in cities with median home prices below the national average.

In addition to saving on monthly housing costs in these cities, there are other perks to purchasing real estate.

“Homeownership can be a great way to build wealth,” said Hurley. “Students will build equity that they can one day use as a downpayment on a move-up home or to pay off student loans. If they choose not to sell right away, they’ll have a piece of property that’s ripe for renting, as there are always new college students looking for rentals.”