I have written several posts over the past year about different college towns as potential retirement destinations. Although college educations continue to increase in cost, that doesn’t mean that the college towns themselves are becoming more expensive. A key retirement factor in every college town is how affordable the real estate is for a typical retiree. That data is now available for 120 different college towns, each home to a FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) School.
The most affordable college town home ($121,885 average price) was in Akron, Ohio, home of the University of Akron. I’ve spent time in Akron. No offense to its residents but I can’t picture it as a retirement destination. The weather alone would be a deterrent for me.
Indeed, six of the college towns in the list of ten most affordable were from the midwest (Ohio, Michigan and Indiana). Three were in Texas: Texas Christian in Ft. Worth; Rice and University of Houston in Houston; and University of North Texas in Denton. The other college town on the “most affordable” list was the University of Tulsa.
For college towns to avoid for their high real estate values, you can start with Stanford University. The average price in Palo Alto, California for our modest home: $1,489,726. If you can afford that as a retiree, you probably don’t need to be reading this blog!
Not surprisingly, four of the top ten most expensive college towns on the list were in California. What did surprise me was that Annapolis, Maryland (U.S. Naval Academy) was sixth on the list at $687,475 average home price.
One feature I like about the Coldwell Banker survey publication is that you can use its list to drill down into neighborhood information and home listings for each college town. Just use this link and select “2009 College Survey.”
If retirement in a college community appeals to you, I think it is important to investigate whether the college in that community has outreach programs for retirees. Typical examples of such outreach would be free or low cost access to college classes. If it does not offer such programs, some of the appeal of retiring near that college would be lost in my opinion.
Finally, no investigation of a college town as a potential retirement destination would be complete without also considering income tax burdens on retirees, the general retirement cost of living in that town, and other online information about the best places to retire.
Do any of you have any thoughts as a potential retiree in any particular college town?