Investment homes in cool school towns

Ithaca, New York

Address: 967 E. State St.
Price: $195,000
Square feet: 1,440
Price per square foot: $135

An Ivy League house doesn't necessarily mean an Ivy League price tag. Located a bit more than one-half mile from Cornell University, this three-bedroom, one-bathroom American Craftsman is one of the cheaper homes per square foot on our list. It features hardwood floors and wood accents throughout. The kitchen has been remodeled with wood cabinets, standard appliances and solid-surface counter tops. A formal dining room and a den round out the main level. And there's a private deck in the spacious backyard. You can expect your mortgage to be around $811 per month; average rent on a three-bedroom home is $1,486.

Ithaca took the top spot on the American Institute for Economic Research's ranking of the best college towns. University life is certainly the focus. But there are plenty of outdoor activities, including boating, swimming, hiking and cross-country skiing. Don't miss the gorges and waterfalls within 10 miles of downtown.

Barbara Blanchard: RE/MAX In Motion; 607-351-1273