How Hospitals and Colleges Can Change Your Housing Costs

SimCity 2000 made a strong impression on lots of millennials as kids. You could build a whole society any way you wanted, so long as you had the funds to do so. Sometimes this meant surrounding a single house with seven or eight amusement parks; sometimes it meant trying the more responsible route (inevitably ruined when tornados or an alien invasion wrecked your city).

Out in the real world, urban planners generally are a little more conscientious. Putting a home near certain amenities can affect how much it sells or rents for, for better and for worse. New research from the University of California, Riverside, looks into two particular institutions and their effect on price: hospitals and college campuses.

These are classified as "opportunity hubs," but they don't necessarily bump up prices by default. Instead, the findings are a little nuanced. Using 21 years of data from nearly 16,000 ZIP codes, the researchers found that housing prices are most expensive in ZIP codes with a medium-sized university (10,000 to 20,000 students). As for hospitals, homes near the largest were the most expensive, but homes near no hospitals were actually more expensive than those near small hospitals.

Buying a home is already a huge task no matter where you wind up. While it's definitely an uphill battle, more and more millennials are taking it on. Still, maybe avoid the listing smack in the middle of an amusement park — the price may be right, but at what cost?