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Special Report

College Towns

September 2022

Colleges Propel Many Smaller Metros into Prominence:
Analysis of 10 Notable College Town Apartment Investment Markets

College towns tend to rank among the country’s small markets that generate solid returns for apartment investment. Influencing these results, college towns have a couple of inherent advantages over other locations of similar size.

First, they tend to have stronger economies. The colleges themselves add some stability to the working environment. Also, some graduates choose to stay in the towns where they attended college, yielding a better educated general workforce and typically a larger concentration of higher-paying industries. The economic advantage for college towns is especially pronounced when an area serves as a regional health care center, creating what’s often called an “Eds and Meds” specialty.

Second, college towns are often simply comparatively appealing places to live. The schools and their students produce a wide array of cultural events, and entertainment-focused businesses tend to flourish in these settings.

Institutional Property Advisors has examined many of the nation’s college towns, and presents here those with noteworthy apartment market performance statistics and investment trends. Note that the analysis below focuses on what’s happening with conventional market-rate apartments, rather than off-campus purpose-built student housing properties. In most cases, however, the student housing developments in these locations also register positive results.

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