Top 10: Most affordable college football towns

Coldwell Banker rates the same type of home in more than 100 markets.

By Les Christie, staff writer

NEW YORK ( -- Tulsa, Oklahoma is the most affordable, big-time college sports town in the United States, according to an annual survey released Tuesday by Coldwell Banker.

The Coldwell Banker College Home Price Comparison Index looks at the home towns of 119 Division 1-A college football programs to see how much the same type of house costs in each market. The benchmark: a 2,200-square foot single family house with four bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, family room and two-car garage in a middle-management type neighborhood. (See top 25 tables below.)

Jim Gillespie, Coldwell Banker's CEO, who dreamed up the index, points out that college towns can be good places to live. "They're more affordable than many major markets," he says.

"College towns have so much to offer residents, such as employment, continuing education, cultural opportunities and, of course, sports," Gillespie said in a release. "Many of these markets are very attractive to Baby Boomers who want to downsize or retire from urban areas, as well as first-time home buyers who are just entering the marketplace and realizing how far their money can go."

The type of house tracked by the index sells for $148,575 in Tulsa, home of the Golden Hurricane. A similar one in Palo Alto, California, where the Stanford Cardinal play, costs a whopping $1.65 million, the highest of any of the college towns surveyed.

It's probably just a coincidence that Tulsa's record is 7-1 and is ranked 25th in the nation by Harris Interactive, while Stanford has compiled an 0-8 mark.

The nation's No. 1 team, Ohio State, is in Columbus, Ohio, where the average home of the type costs $251,364, 62nd among football towns, right near the middle of the rankings.

West Coast offense

The most expensive conference is, predictably, the Pac-10, with its high concentration of California colleges. Homes in Pac-10 towns average $812,632 with California (Berkeley), USC and UCLA (both Los Angeles) joining Stanford in the seven-figure average house category.

The least expensive conference, the Mid American, is also no surprise. Many colleges there are located in such struggling Midwestern industrial cities as Muncie, Indiana (Ball State), Toledo, Ohio (Toledo) and Kalamazoo, Michigan (Western Michigan).

Even though Gillespie makes a great case for college towns, he doesn't live in one himself. That may have something to do with the fact that he roots for his alma mater, the University of Illinois.

The Fighting Illini are 2-7 on the year and have lost to such powerhouses (not!) as Syracuse (3-5) and Indiana (5-4) [see correction below]. They don't figure to improve on that record this week when they welcome the Buckeyes to Champaign, Illinois.

At least you can buy a nice house in Champaign for just $229,650.

Is your profession one that customarily receives holiday tips? Do you have an interesting tipping story or experience? Tell us about it. You could be featured in a future story.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, The Fighting Illini were said to have lost to Michigan State. Illinois actually defeated the Spartans, 23-20, on Jason Reda's field goal in the waning seconds of the game.

___________________________ Top of page

Most affordable college football towns
Here's the best bargains for big-time college sports and affordable housing.
School Town Avg. price
Tulsa Tulsa, OK $148,575
Southern Miss. Hattiesburg, MS $151,225
Ball State Muncie, IN $151,238
TCU Ft. Worth, TX $151,250
Louisiana-Monroe Monroe, LA $153,271
Houston Houston, TX $155,304
Rice Houston, TX $155,304
Texas Tech Lubbock, TX $158,225
Utah State Logan, UT $168,612
Arkansas State Jonesboro, AR $170,575
Toledo Toledo, OH $173,700
Marshall Huntington, WV $177,750
Baylor Waco, TX $179,475
Notre Dame South Bend, IN $181,066
Clemson Clemson, SC $181,789
Tennessee Knoxville, TN $184,933
Oklahoma Norman, OK $186,249
North Texas Denton, TX $191,450
South Carolina Columbia, SC $191,666
Akron Akron, OH $192,500
Memphis Memphis, TN $193,875
Central Michigan Mt. Pleasant, MI $198,000
Syracuse Syracuse, NY $198,293
Mississippi State Starkville, MS $201,333
Texas A&M College Station, TX $201,775
Source: Coldwell Banker
Most expensive college football towns
Here's where you'll pay the most to live in a big-time college sports town.
School Town Avg. price
Stanford Palo Alto, CA $1,652,042
UCLA Los Angeles, CA $1,565,099
USC Los Angeles, CA $1,565,099
San Jose State San Jose, CA $1,410,662
California Berkeley,CA $1,275,500
Hawaii Honolulu, HI $858,750
Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA $749,875
Northwestern Evanston, IL $715,125
Miami Miami, FL $690,855
Florida Intl. Miami, FL $690,855
San Diego State San Diego, CA $642,250
Florida Atlantic Boca Raton, FL $623,750
Navy Annapolis, MD $600,750
Colorado Boulder, CO $536,000
Temple Philadelphia, PA $518,700
Washington Seattle, WS $514,666
Fresno State Fresno, CA $440,000
Nevada Reno, NV $436,750
Maryland College Park, MD $431,250
Minnesota Minneapolis, MN $421,433
Rutgers New Brunswick, NJ $413,760
Army West Point, NY $400,000
South Florida Tampa, FL $393,750
UCF Orlando, FL $383,300
Arizona State Tempe, AZ $373,250

Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.

Or, visit Popular Alerts for suggestions.
Manage alerts | What is this?