With a 4-4 record, the Terps aren't in the Top 25 this year, but College Park is definitely in the top tier when it comes to ranking college towns by how much it costs to buy a house there.
The Terps' home turf ranked eighth on a list of the 10 most expensive college markets for home prices in 2005, according to a comparison released this week by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. The study, based on data compiled by the company's offices nationwide, compared average prices in 59 major football conference college towns, plus the University of Notre Dame, for a 2,200-square-foot, single-family dwelling, with four bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths and a two-car garage, in a "middle-management community."
At $462,035, College Park was nowhere near top-ranked Palo Alto, Calif., home of Stanford University, where housing prices averaged $1.55 million. But the Terps hometown was hundreds of thousands of dollars higher than the most affordable college market -- Lubbock, Tex., home of Texas Tech, where the average price was $164,133.
"College towns can be great places to live because they are family-friendly, lively communities with an abundance of activities," Jim Gillespie, president and chief executive of Coldwell Banker, said in a statement released with the study. He said a "large majority are also very affordable," leading some parents of some college students to get out of paying for room and board by buying investment properties for their children to live in.
The Terps' stomping ground, though, wasn't nearly as affordable as the towns in the South and Midwest that comprised the list of Top 10 most affordable college markets.
After Lubbock, came Starkville, Miss., home of Mississippi State University, $169,433; Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University, $173,317; South Bend, Ind., Notre Dame, $173,600; Knoxville, Tenn., University of Tennessee, $175,250; Clemson, S.C., Clemson University, $176,475; Waco, Tex., Baylor University, $178,500; Oxford, Miss., University of Mississippi, $179,550; Manhattan, Kan., Kansas State University, $185,850; and Columbia, S.C., University of South Carolina, $190,058.
The most expensive college markets, after Stanford, included Los Angeles, UCLA/USC, $1.27 million; Berkeley, Calif., University of California, $1.19 million; Chestnut Hill, Mass, Boston College, $811,525; Evanston, Ill., Northwestern University, $674,250; Coral Gables, Fla., University of Miami, $671,854; Boulder, Colo., University of Colorado, $546,350; College Park; Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, $397,133; and Seattle, University of Washington, $386,600.
Within the Atlantic Coast Conference, Maryland's home turf ranked third most expensive, after Boston College and the University of Miami.