The Cheapest, Highest Rents Near Universities

June 3, 2019

College towns have long been appealing to investors because of steady rental returns, but rental prices can vary significantly depending on the nearby university. For example, the college town with the lowest rents is Champaign, Ill., home to the University of Illinois. The average rent within a one-mile radius of the university is $890, which is $506 cheaper than the city’s average.

RentCafe.com analyzed the price of apartments located within a one-mile radius of the top 100 universities in the U.S. In the study, researchers also found that Durham, N.C., home to Duke University, had some of the cheapest rents when compared with the top 10 college towns for investors. The average rent is $1,240 for properties within a one-mile radius of Duke, followed by University of Chicago at $1,249.

On the other hand, some of the universities with the most expensive off-campus housing: Rents for homes within a one-mile radius of Columbia University in New York average $4,217, while they average $3,958 near Stanford University in Stanford, Calif.

The universities in towns with the most affordable rent prices within one mile of the school are:

1. Champaign, Ill.-University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

  • Average rent within one mile of the school: $890
  • Average city rent: $1,396

2. Williamsburg, Va.-College of William and Mary

  • Average rent within one mile of the school: $934
  • Average city rent: $1,191

3. Bethlehem, Pa.-Lehigh University

  • Average rent within one mile of the school: $1,082
  • Average city rent: $1,234

4. Chicago-Loyola University

  • Average rent within one mile of the school: $1,110
  • Average city rent: $1,898

5. Troy, N.Y.-Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

  • Average rent within one mile of the school: $1,115
  • Average city rent: $1,110