Tempe ranked No. 4 most affordable college town

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Students have a slew of decisions to make when they graduate high school and gear up for college. From determining a major to which university is the best fit, students are faced with plenty of new experiences. There are a handful of great college towns in Arizona alone, whether you become a Lumberjack and move to Flagstaff, a Wildcat in Tucson or a Sun Devil in Tempe. A unique set of challenges and benefits comes with the territory.

On May 10, Colorado-based technology startup TurboTenant revealed its ranking of the top five most affordable college towns in America, placing Tempe and Arizona State University at No. 4. Citing its bicycle-friendly community, nightlife and degree programs, among other criteria, Tempe was able to edge out many of the 100 surveyed towns. The final list was also comprised of Ohio State University, Penn State, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Michigan State University.

But for TurboTenant, which provides free software for landlords, affordability is arguably the most important part, with the company primarily analyzing rental costs within five miles of each major university.

“For the most part they are picked basically because they’re a town that is both affordable for renters to live in, there’s lots of renters in those towns and they’re a place where landlords can get a good return on a rental property,” says Paul Ronto, Director of Growth, Outreach & Marketing for TurboTenant.

According to TurboTenant, the average two-bedroom monthly rental price is $1,266, and many such options are available near campus for students.

One such complex is Green Leaf Tempe Station. Close proximity to campus is just one major selling point for the apartments.

“We have direct access to the light rail which is convenient for those without transportation,” says Renee Castanos, community manager for Green Leaf Tempe Station. “We are centrally located just far enough from campus without having all the congestion.”

But for Castanos, it’s not just affordability that makes Tempe a great college town. Citing the weather, diversity and the many opportunities for social activity, this makes Tempe a great place for college students attending ASU, a sentiment oft-reflected by students as well.

“I think it’s a perfect place for students who live here to get their degree,” says ASU junior Abdul Al Buaij.

Tempe also features a host of activities and locales that TurboTenant took into consideration. In addition to the city’s 175 miles of bikeways, Tempe features the ever-popular Mill Avenue, a nearby hot spot filled with everything from nightlife to clothing shops and delicious and affordable pizza joints.

When the list was released, TurboTenant approached it with the desire to help their clients while 

DIFFERENT BY DESIGN: Crescent Highland is a recently constructed complex on Highland and 16th Street in Phoenix. The affordable luxury apartments are now leasing and feature three custom, hand-painted murals by local artist Tato Caraveo. Under-construction amenities include a pool, courtyards, a rooftop deck and fitness center. Alliance Residential Company, the developer behind Crescent Highland, is currently building a 150-unit community near Tempe Town Lake called Broadstone Lakeside.

also providing important information to Tempe residents.

“Our goal is to help independent landlords manage their rentals without the need for a property manager,” Ronto says. “What we do here is help landlords by offering free marketing services, free tenant screening services, like criminal checks, background checks, credit checks. We help landlords collect rent online.”

While Ronto says the process took approximately two weeks to complete, the company used data software blended with live research to achieve their results.

“We’ve got a software that we use that compiles actual demographic data from towns throughout the US on actual rentals that are being rented,” Ronto explains. “We can look at market trends on rentals over the last 12 months compared to the last 36 months and be able to tell how rent prices are going up.”

Through the research team, TurboTenant also blends this data with other aggregated information, such as walkability and livability scores for each city.

While the research was not short of college towns to study, Tempe and ASU were able to edge out many other strong candidates, continuing to show that Arizona has some of the best college opportunities in the country.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CRESCENT HIGHLAND.

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