Report: Buying Condo Could Be Cheaper Than Paying for Dorm

Dorms can be expensive and financial experts say buying a condo in some cities may save students money in the long run.

Real estate company Redfin compared the monthly dorm rates at 195 U.S. public colleges to the median monthly mortgage on a condo. Based on this study, students at the University of Texas at Dallas spend about $769 per month in a dorm — about $76 more than the median monthly mortgage cost.

Students at the University of Texas at El Paso spend about $546 per month in a dorm. In a condo, they could save $100 per month. Students at Sam Houston State University spend $570 per month in a dorm, and they would save nearly $150 every month if they bought a home.

Financial planner Laura Hoff said parents may feel uneasy about their kids living off campus during their first year. But year two and beyond could be a great time to move on to a home of their own.

"I think it's a great idea," Hoff said. "I have a number of clients who have gone ahead and bought houses in Waco and Austin or wherever. And then yes, their child can live there and have a friend or two also and then the rent supports the real estate investment in itself."

Redfin pulled on-campus housing data from the National Center for Education Statistics. They only looked at U.S. public institutions that grant Bachelor's degrees. They ranked the colleges by enrollment to narrow down the list to the 15 most popular colleges.

The results from this study do not ring true for every city in the U.S., such as areas like Los Angeles and Seattle where homes are notoriously expensive.

Another challenge to buying a home is inventory. If availability is stressed, a student might have a hard time finding a home, or they may already be priced out of the market.

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