Real Estate: Investing in College Towns

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

Photograph by Peter Frank Edwards/Redux

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Charleston, South Carolina

School: College of Charleston
Students: 11,649
Median home value: $193,100

In 2011, Charleston was featured in Outside magazine's list of "Best Towns 2011" for its "90 miles of pristine coastline to surf, kiteboard, sportfish and sail." Its real estate market has been strengthening, and enrollment at the College of Charleston is up almost 3 percent over the past five years. One-third of the students live in school dorms or historic homes turned into student housing, and no new housing is expected anytime soon, according to the college. The breakeven horizon is two years, six months. Payments on a 30-year fixed mortgage at 3.5 percent would be $867 a month, more than covering the Zillow Rent Index's $1,440 median rent, which has risen 7.2 percent since August 2011.