Forget the beach—the new place to retire that's growing in popularity is a college town. Retirees are returning to the campuses they fell in love with during their college years to root for the football team and for the opportunity to continue their education. In a recent report, Kiplinger compiled a list of 10 great college towns to retire to, assembling metrics such as state taxes that are forgiving for retirees, opportunities for senior citizens to attend classes at little to no cost, sports teams that unite campuses, and other community attractions that appeal to those who are no longer a student.

What’s more, two of the top towns—Ann Arbor, Mich., and Gainesville, Fla.—also made Zillow’s recent list of hottest college towns for real estate investments in place of student renting. For buyers considering retiring to the family college town where the kids followed in their footsteps, it would behoove them to buy a home even earlier while the younger generation is still in school to save money on increasing off-campus rents.

Overall, new-home prices are on the rise in these bustling, student-driven towns, and regional and local builders lead the way. Compiling data from Metrostudy Analytics, here is BUILDER's look at the closings and median prices for existing and new homes from 2011 through what's been recorded so far in 2014. 

Fort Collins, Colo.

Colorado State University


Top 5 Builders 2011-2014
1.       Journey Homes, 445 closings

2.       D.R. Horton, 363 closings

3.       Hartford Cos., 235 closings

4.       William Lyon Homes, 88 closings

5.       Shadow Creek Homes, 77 closings

Gainesville, Fla.

University of Florida

Top 5 Builders 2011-2014
1.       Robinshore, 138 closings

2.       Archer Road Properties, 96 closings

3.       Skobel Development, 63 closings

4.       New Atlantic Builders, 53 closings

5.       G.W. Robinson Homes, 41 closings

Athens, Ga.

University of Georgia

Top 5 Builders 2011-2014
1.       Putters Place, 27 closings

2.       Habitat for Humanity, 5 closings

3.       Ashford Homes of Georgia, 4 closings

3.       Chief Springs East II, 4 closings

3.       Star Home Builders, 4 closings

Boise, Idaho

Boise State University

Top 5 Builders 2011-2014
1.       CBH Homes, 344 closings

2.       Tahoe Homes, 142 closings

3.       Boise Hunter Homes, 123 closings

4.       Brighton Corp., 110 closings

5.       Paradigm Construction, 109 closings

Lexington, Ky.

University of Kentucky

Top 5 Builders 2011-2014
1.       Ball Homes, 732 closings

2.       Jamb2 Builders, 34 closings

3.       Webb Beatty Homes, 29 closings

4.       Via Vitae Development, 24 closings

5.       Jim Nash Homes, 21 closings

Ann Arbor, Mich.

University of Michigan

Top 5 Builders 2011-2014
1.       Norfolk Homes, 44 closings

2.       Peters Building Co., 39 closings

3.       Toll Brothers, 18 closings

4.       Trowbridge Cos., 17 closings

5.       Hunter Pasteur Homes, 16 closings

Oxford, Miss.

University of Mississippi

Top 5 Builders 2011-2014
1.       University Construction, 12 closings

2.       Lifestyle Homes, 11 closings

3.       Coleman Builders, 7 closings

3.       Walker and Walker Enterprises, 7 closings

5.       Marty Daniels Construction, 5 closings

Asheville, N.C.

University of North Carolina, Asheville

Top 5 Builders 2011-2014
1.       Baltimore Farms Homes, 61 closings

2.       Lifestyle Homes of Distinction, 38 closings

3.       King Land Development, 36 closings

4.       Habitat for Humanity, 35 closings

5.       Windsor Aughtry Co., 33 closings

State College, Pa.

Penn State University

Top 5 Builders 2011-2014
1.       S&A Homes, 125 closings

2.       The McKee Group, 30 closings

3.       Haubert Homes, 5 closings

3.       Wooded Hills, 5 closings

5.       Copper Beech, 4 closings

Charlottesville, Va.

University of Virginia

Top 5 Builders 2011-2014
1.       NVR, 248 closings

2.       Southern Development Homes, 127 closings

3.       Stanley Martin Homes, 165 closings

4.       Craig Builders, 32 closings

5.       Habitat for Humanity, 24 closings