Live

Watch CBSN Live

The 10 most affordable U.S. college towns

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Believe it or not, it's almost time for students to head back to school. Even more shocking? In this sellers' market, it's still possible to find good deals on homes in college towns that could appeal to students, parents, teachers, investors and everyone in between.

According to a new Realtor.com report, buyers looking in these areas will notice an interesting pattern.

"If you look at the list this year as compared to three years ago, these are markets that are fairly active," said Javier Vivas, manager of economic research at Realtor.com. "Don't always translate affordability into desirability. This year, these findings are important because we've gone through an inventory shortage. We're seeing activity in these markets again."

Less unusual, Vivas said, is that many of the college towns with the most affordable home prices are located in the Midwest -- places like Muncie, Indiana, and Charleston, Illinois.

The study looked at towns where 20 percent of the population is enrolled in a college or university and the total number of students topped 2,000. Then, for the sake of geographic diversity it limited the results to two cities per state. Among the areas classified as "college towns" under these guidelines, Realtor.com examined which places had the most affordable median home prices.

Think your favorite college hot spot made the cut? Click ahead to see 10 of the most affordable college towns.

10. Kirksville, Missouri

Photo courtesy of Derhai / Wikimedia Commons

Median home price: $118,500

Student population: 36.4 percent

Kirksville, Missouri, dropped from its fourth-place spot in 2015 to No. 10 this year, with a median home price increase of $8,600. It's home to both Truman State University, established in 1867, and A.T. Still University, established in 1892. Truman State University is the top public university in the Midwest, according to the 2017 Best Colleges ranking from U.S. News and World Report. Kirksville is located just over 200 miles northwest of St. Louis.

9. Orangeburg, South Carolina

Photo courtesy of Akhenaton06 / Wikimedia Commons

Median home price: $114,500

Student population: 24.4 percent

Orangeburg, South Carolina, is new to the top 10 list this year. The town is home to Claflin University and South Carolina State University. Claflin University was the first in South Carolina to open its doors to all, regardless of race or religion, in 1869, and South Carolina State University, established in 1896, is South Carolina's only public, historically black college or university. Orangeburg is about 40 miles south of Columbia, South Carolina.

8. Geneva, New York

Photo courtesy of RochesterNY / Wikimedia Commons

Median home price: $109,900

Student population: 25.1 percent

Geneva, New York, is another city that's new to the top 10 list this year. Located in New York's Finger Lakes Region on Seneca Lake, Geneva is home to the Hobart and William Smith Colleges. HWS was originally established as two separate colleges: Hobart College (for men) in 1822, and William Smith College (for women) in 1908. Today, the colleges share the same space, faculty and curriculum but maintain separate traditions, deans, student government and athletic departments.

7. Macomb, Illinois

Scott McDonald

Median home price: $104,500

Student population: 40.3 percent

Macomb, Illinois, is down four spots this year from its third-place spot in 2015, with a median home price increase of $3,600. It's home to Western Illinois University, which was established in 1902, and is tied as the No. 9 top public university in the Midwest (with the University of Wisconsin Whitewater), according to the 2017 Best Colleges ranking from U.S. News and World Report. Macomb is about 70 miles west of Peoria, Illinois.

​6. Fort Valley, Georgia

Photo courtesy of Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

Median home price: $103,500

Student population: 35.1 percent

Fort Valley, Georgia, located about 100 miles south of Atlanta, is new to this year's top 10 list. It's home to Fort Valley State University, which is part of the University System of Georgia. Established in 1895, Fort Valley State University regularly brings the local community onto campus for special events showcasing student achievements, according to the university website.

5. Alfred, New York

Photo courtesy of Benjamin D. Esham / Wikimedia Commons

Median home price: $89,000

Student population: 90.3 percent

Another new city to the top 10 list this year, Alfred, New York, is home to two colleges that make up nearly the entire population of the town. Alfred University, established in 1836, was named one of the top 50 small colleges of 2017 by Best College Reviews. Alfred State College, established, is a State University of New York College of Technology. Alfred is about 90 miles southeast of Buffalo, New York.

4. Pittsburg, Kansas

Photo courtesy of Ichabod / Wikimedia Commons

Median home price: $84,500

Student population: 26.5 percent

Pittsburg, Kansas, is just over 120 miles directly south of Kansas City. It's home to Pittsburg State University, which was established in 1903, and is new to the top 10 list this year. Pittsburg is also home to the Little Balkans Days festival, which celebrates the area's European heritage.

3. Charleston, Illinois

Photo courtesy of Jud McCranie / Wikimedia Commons

Median home price: $82,500

Student population: 38.5 percent

Down one spot from 2015, Charleston, Illinois, is home to Eastern Illinois University. Established in 1895, EIU is home to the Renewable Energy Center, which is one of the largest biomass facilities in the country. The school is also the No. 6 top public university in the Midwest (tied with the University of Michigan Dearborn), according to the 2017 Best Colleges ranking from U.S. News and World Report. Charleston is about 55 miles south of Champaign, Illinois.

2. Muncie, Indiana

Photo courtesy of Matt Ruddick / Wikimedia Commons

Median home price: $74,900

Student population: 25.6 percent

While it's down one spot from 2015, Muncie, Indiana, is actually more affordable than it was two years ago, according to Realtor.com. It's home to Ball State University, which was established in 1918. Muncie is just over 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis and home to several museums, including the Minnetrista (a local history museum), the AMA National Model Aviation Museum and the Muncie Children's Museum.

1. California, Pennsylvania

Photo courtesy of Wjmoore17 / Wikimedia Commons

Median home price: $73,500

Student population: 39.9 percent

California, Pennsylvania, is home to the California University of Pennsylvania and is new to the list this year. The university was established in 1852 -- just three years after the city itself -- and occupies 294 acres alongside the Monongahela River. California is part of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan area and is just 35 miles from the city. While having a California this far east might seem strange, it was named after the state due the timing of its founding, which coincided with the California Gold Rush in 1849.