If you worry that you're spoiling your child, then this might make you feel better: A mother in China has bought a $6.5 million New York City apartment -- for her toddler. According to reports by Chinese broadcaster CCTV, Sotheby's senior vice president Kevin Brown confirmed that the anonymous woman bought the apartment in preparation for her daughter's future college years at one of America's best universities.
"[The woman] said, well, her daughter was going to go to Columbia, or NYU, or maybe Harvard, and so she needed to be in the center of the city and that was why she was picking this one particular apartment," Brown told CCTV. "So I said: 'Oh, how old is your daughter?' And she said: 'Well, she's 2.' And I was just shocked."
The apartment is the One57 tower (pictured above), a 90-floor, 1,004-foot glass skyscraper overlooking Central Park. The New York Times reports that the tower is slated to be the tallest residential building in New York when it is finished next year.
According to Time, the extravagant purchase has left "tongues wagging" in China about where the money could have come from, with rumors floating around on social media that the woman is related to a "corrupt government official."
Fifth-best city: Atlanta Difference between rent and mortgage: 182.6%
DuBois says "Hotlanta" offers investors the potential of good rental income and solid capital appreciation.
That's because the 5.3 million-population metro area's real estate market -- which tumbled during the housing bust -- appears to be rebounding. Median Atlanta-area list prices on Realtor.com rose 9.8% over the past year to hit $174,900.
"Atlanta was hit hard by foreclosures, but prices are starting to appreciate there and I think we're seeing some stability," DuBois says.
Fourth-best city: Princeton, N.J. Difference between rent and mortgage: 209.8%
Rents in the home of 7,900-student Princeton University average $2,056 a month -- more than double the $980 monthly mortgage bill on a typical home in the area.
Besides hosting a world-famous school, Princeton serves as headquarters for Berlitz, the Educational Testing Service and other large local employers. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Dow Jones and other big firms also have significant operations in the area.
Third-best city: Pittsburgh Difference between rent and mortgage: 215.8%
The Steel City and surrounding communities are home to more than a dozen schools, from the 28,800-student University of Pittsburgh to 12,100-pupil Carnegie-Mellon University.
Buyers will also find the lowest home prices and monthly mortgage bills of any town on Realtor.com's list.
The median Pittsburgh home listed for just $140,000 as of July, with an estimated monthly mortgage payment of $520. That's less than half the average $1,122 asking rent investors can expect from tenants.
Best city: Boston Difference between rent and mortgage: 248.7%
Boston is perhaps America's biggest college town, with more than 100 schools and more than 250,000 students.
Best known as the home of Cambridge's Harvard University (19,900 students) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (10,900 enrollees), Beantown also hosts Boston University (32,400 pupils), Northeastern University (19,700 attendees) and other large schools.