Real Estate: Investing in College Towns

By Suzanne Woolley - 2012-11-05T17:52:30Z

Photograph by Chris Richards/The New York Times via Redux

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Tucson, Arizona

School: University of Arizona
Students: 39,236
Median home value: $110,200

Outside magazine dubbed Tucson "The Hottest Playground" in its listing of "Best Towns 2011." It cited the relatively young population and the pro cycling teams and triathletes who train in the city, which is flanked by five mountain ranges. Two years is the time it takes before owning a home makes more financial sense than renting that same home (Zillow's breakeven horizon calculation). Monthly payments of $495 on a 30-year fixed mortgage at 3.5 percent are well covered by the median rent of $1,003, which is up 3.2 percent from a year ago August.