If you ever find yourself on a university campus, it’s easy to tell when you stumble on Greek Row, thanks to the gorgeous old houses that most sororities and fraternities call home. These sorority and fraternity houses frequently have ornate entrances, impressive grounds, and drool-worthy architecture. Take for instance the 25,000-square-foot 1931 brick Tudor-style home that the Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers at the University of Arkansas call home. Their gorgeous mansion not only stands out amid a campus filled with cement block dorms and drab university buildings, but is quite valuable, too.
A new study from House Method breaks down the real estate holdings of some of the Greek organizations and it is a pretty impressive portfolio. For their study on sorority and fraternity real estate, the researchers looked at more than 1,300 fraternity and sorority properties that are home to active Greek organizations on 50 college campuses. What they found is that when you join the Greek system, you’re not only getting a new family, but you’re also getting some pretty serious real estate, too.
Sorority and fraternity houses serve as homes-away-from-homes, gathering spaces, gyms, libraries, study halls, dining rooms, movie theaters, dressing rooms, and, at some sororities anyway, party central, so it makes sense that they need a lot of space. According to House Method’s research, Panhellenic properties tend to be particularly expansive, averaging just under 30,000 square feet in size. That’s more than three times the size of the average American house.
Delta Tau Delta fraternity members enjoy some of the biggest Greek life properties with homes averaging 58,000 square feet. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that’s true at Texas A&M University where fraternity properties average 208,276 square feet. Keep in mind that a football field including its end zones is around 57,600 square feet. Of course, most frats and sororities have more members than the average American family, too, so they need space to house dozens of members and still leave plenty of room for activities and events.
House Method found that while fraternity properties are slightly larger on average (men do tend to take up more space after all), sorority properties tend to have a higher valuation. The average property value for sororities was $1.22 million, while frat houses had a $1.05 million valuation (guessing that all those stories of frat parties take a toll on real estate values).
As for the sorority that had the most expensive properties, that honor goes to Alpha Gamma Delta, which was founded at Syracuse University in 1904, and now has chapters at universities all over the South, including Auburn, the University of Georgia, Appalachian State University, and many more. According to the study, the average Alpha Gamma Delta property is worth $1.74 million. Meanwhile, the oldest sororities, Phi Mu and Alpha Delta Pi, had average market values over half a million dollars less than Alpha Gamma Delta, proving that age isn’t everything when it comes to building real estate wealth.
The most property-rich fraternity is Chi Phi, which was founded in 1824 at Princeton University, and has chapters at Florida State University, UT-Austin, the University of Virginia, and many others. Their fraternity properties are worth an average of $1.64 million each, according to the study.
If you’ve ever dabbled in real estate, you’ll know that location matters and that remains true in Panhellenic real estate, too. A Greek house’s location may make a bigger overall difference in value than whichever frat or sorority is lucky enough to call it home. For example, fraternity housing at Vanderbilt University had a combined value of $3.09 million, and sororities at the University of Colorado Boulder had the highest value of properties combined—$3.46 million.
Read more about Greek real estate here and see how your sorority stacks up.