The 10 most expensive college towns in America

College towns are vibrant, offering cultural events, exciting athletics, the option of auditing classes, and a wealth of job opportunities.

Of course, all of these perks come with a price tag.

If you settle down in Cambridge, home to Harvard and MIT, expect to pay about $US685,000 for a home. That’s the median housing price according to Relator.com, which recently released a list of America’s most and least expensive college towns ranked by median home price.

They looked at more than 300 college towns — “college towns” defined as areas where student residents number over 5,000 and make up over 20% of the town’s total population.

Here, we’ve highlighted the ten most expensive. We also included the cost of annual necessities (not including savings or discretionary spending) for a four person family (two adults, two children) using the Economic Policy Institute‘s (EPI) 2015 Family Budget Calculator.

10. Flagstaff, Arizona

Shutterstock
The Old Flagstaff Courthouse.

Median housing price: $US431,750

Estimated cost of necessities: $US71,135 per year

Rounding out the top ten is Flagstaff, where you'll find Northern Arizona University. You'll have access to Division I athletics, NAU's art museum, and a natural wonder: Drive 80 miles north and you'll find yourself at the Grand Canyon.

9. Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Grant Halverson/Getty
Living in Chapel Hill guarantees constant excitement at the Dean Smith Center.

Median housing price: $US450,000

Estimated cost of necessities: $US64,953 per year

Home to the University of Chapel Hill, it would be hard to run out of things to do in this college town with its vibrant scene on Franklin Street and exciting athletic rivalry with nearby Duke University.

8. Davis, California

Shutterstock
The Robert Mondavi Performing Arts Center at UC-Davis.

Median housing price: $US579,000

Estimated cost of necessities: $US69,296 per year

The beautiful campus of UC-Davis, a top public research university, can be found in this college town. Situated between Napa Valley and Sacramento, it's just 70 miles east of San Francisco.

4. San Luis Obispo, California

Shutterstock
Beach houses of San Luis Obispo.

Median housing price: $US690,000

Estimated cost of necessities: $US73,007 per year

In addition to excellent wine, you'll find California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. The institution owns more than 10,000 acres of land, and recently added a 450-acre avocado and lemon ranch thanks to a generous donation.

3. Boulder, Colorado

Shutterstock
Downtown Boulder.

Median housing price: $US789,000

Estimated cost of necessities: $US76,017 per year

A magnet for those with active lifestyles thanks to its endless bike paths and hiking trails, Boulder is also home to the first campus of the University of Colorado system: CU-Boulder. Living in this serene place will cost you, but jobs are prevalent through the university and established companies, including IBM.

2. Santa Cruz, California

Wikipedia
Downtown Santa Cruz.

Median housing price: $US814,000

Estimated cost of necessities: $US82,094 per year

You'll get the best of both worlds if you settle down in Santa Cruz: soothing beach life and vibrant college town life. The beach town is home to UC-Santa Cruz, which happens to be the city's biggest employer.

1. Berkeley, California

Shutterstock
Sather Tower and the UC-Berkeley campus.

Median housing price: $US849,000

Estimated cost of necessities: $US81,621 per year

The most expensive college town, where the real estate market has taken off thanks to the technology boom, also happens to be the most liberal town in California. Located on the east shore of San Francisco Bay, Berkeley's most well-known institution is UC-Berkeley, the flagship campus of the University of California system.

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.