In U.S. College Towns, Vacant Student Housing Poses New Opportunities for Buyers

The coronavirus pandemic disrupted back-to-school plans for millions of students this fall, including university students who normally pour into college towns in late August and generate major revenue for landlords who own off-campus housing.

With many colleges switching to remote coursework this semester—and perhaps more students than ever opting to take a gap year—much of the off-campus housing typically rented or purchased by students and their families is sitting empty. A survey of 1,050 full-time college students by the debt management company Student Loan Hero found that only half of students planned to return to campus this fall; of them, 34% said they would attend class in-person if given the option, while 16% said they would return to campus but take courses online. Roughly 29% of students plan to study online from home, according to the report, which was published in August.

In the Boston metro area, home to dozens

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