This year's Super Bowl teams come from vastly different housing markets. Here's how homebuying in Los Angeles compares to Cincinnati.
On Super Bowl Sunday, some 100 million people will tune in to see the Los Angeles Rams take on the Cincinnati Bengals.
For football fans, there are plenty of storylines to follow:
- The Bengals making their first Super Bowl appearance in 33 years vs. the Rams returning after losing in 2019
- Soft-spoken veteran Rams QB Matt Stafford vs. flashy young Bengals slinger Joe Burrow, both making their Super Bowl debuts
- Defensive force Aaron Donald vs. a precarious Bengals offensive line
- Bengals rising start receiver Ja’Maar Chase vs. lockdown corner Jalen Ramsey
But for people that are less interested in the game, we’ve got another way of analyzing the matchup between Los Angeles and Cincinnati and some fun stats to sprinkle into Super Bowl party conversations.
Let’s take this matchup away from the gridiron and into the homebuying arena to see how the housing markets of Los Angeles and Cincinnati stack up.
What's in this Article?
While people in Los Angeles and Cincinnati share a common bond of cheering for a team in the Super Bowl, homebuyers in these cities are having drastically different experiences.
The topline stat: The median home sale price is $835,000 in Los Angeles and $236,000 in Cincinnati, according to December 2021 from real estate brokerage Redfin.
That’s right, the median home costs 3.5 times more in LA than Cinci.
To boil it down a little further, the median price per square foot for a home in Los Angeles is $551 compared to $140 in Cincinnati. Better mind your manners if you’re headed to a Super Bowl party in LA.
Not only are homes more expensive in Los Angeles, they’re also more likely to sell over list price and less likely to have a price drop.
In Cincinnati, only 37.3% of homes sell for above list price and 13.7% of listings have a price drop.
In LA, more than half (58.6%) of homes sell for above list price and only 11.1% have a price drop, according to Redfin.
|Median sale price||$835,000||$236,000|
|Price per square foot||$551||$140|
|Sold above list||58.9%||37.3%|
|Listings with price drops||11.1%||13.7%|
So home prices are much lower in Cincinnati than Los Angeles. After all, you’re not paying for year-round sun, ocean AND mountain views, and a chance to bump into Keanu Reeves out shopping.
But is buying a home really more affordable in Cincinnati than LA?
Yes. It absolutely is.
According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Opportunity Index, Cincinnati is one of the more affordable metros in the US while LA is one of the least (the second least, to be precise).
The Housing Opportunity Index measures the share of homes that are affordable at the area median income. Bengals fans making the local median income can afford more than 80% of the homes in Cincinnati. Rams fans earning the local median income can afford less than 10% of homes in LA.
|Los Angeles -Long Beach- Glendale||Cincinnati|
|Median household income||$80,000||$85,400|
|Median sales price||$801,000||$220,000|
|Share of homes affordable at median income||8.3%||81.0%|
|National affordability rank (out of 238 metros)||237||44|
The Rams may have home-field advantage in the Super Bowl, but when it comes to buying a home, Bengals fans have a clear edge in affordability.
What does $236,000 buy in LA?
Maybe you're a Bengals fan traveling to LA for the Super Bowl and decide you kind of like the sun and surf. What would you be able to afford based on the median home price back home?
In the Los Angeles metro area, $236,000 buys a one-bedroom apartment in North Hollywood, a double-wide trailer in Conago Park, or an undeveloped hillside.
Zillow currently has 40 listings for “homes” between $200,000 and $250,000, and most of them are sloping plots of land on which to build.
What does $835,000 buy in Cincinnati?
Now let’s reverse the roles. Now you’re a Rams fan that wants more bang for your 835,000 bucks so you take it to Cincinnati.
Theoretically, you could buy 3 median-priced homes and a sweet speedboat in Cincinnati for the same price as one median-priced home in Los Angeles.
But if you wanted to spend your LA budget on just one Cincinnati home, you might have a tough time finding one that suits you. There are only eight active listings for the $800,000 to $850,000 price range on Zillow, and only two of them are existing homes. The remaining listings are for empty lots and plans to build.
Perhaps the most viable option is a 7 bed/5 bath probably-haunted 1928 Tudor for $800,000.
Who's overpaying more?
After the Super Bowl is over, fans of the losing team may be left wondering what could have been if a single play went differently.
A similar thing is happening in the housing market after the pandemic caused home prices to grow at record rates in 2021.
Although homes are less affordable in Los Angeles, Rams fans aren’t paying nearly the pandemic premium that Bengals fans are. In fact, as of December 2021, home prices are only 7% above where they were expected to be if the pandemic had never happened.
Meanwhile, Bengals fans are paying a pandemic premium north of 30%, according to Beracha and Johnson Housing Market Ranking.
To be clear, models don’t set home prices – markets do. So neither fan base is actually “overpaying” for homes just because prices have gone up faster than models predicted. If anything, these graphs show that even if you do buy at a peak and go through a crash, you can still regain your home value over time.
Like the margin of error for quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Matt Stafford, inventory is razor-thin in the housing market. Los Angeles and Cincinnati are no exceptions.
In Cincinnati, there were 3,873 homes for sale in December 2021 representing a 1.4 months supply of inventory. A six months supply is considered balanced.
In Los Angeles, there were 6,855 homes for sale in December 2021 for a 1 month supply of inventory.
Both markets are extremely strapped for housing supply, which is causing homes to sell incredibly fast. Homes spend an average of 35 days on market in Los Angeles and 42 days on market in Cincinnati, according to Redfin.
|Homes for sale||6,855||3,873|
|Months Supply||1 months||1.4 months|
|Days on Market||35||42|
Like the NFL playoffs, the pandemic housing market has been high stakes, competitive, and full of plot twists. The Super Bowl promises to put an exclamation point on an exciting year, just as 2022 promises to bring a “new normal” to a housing market that reacted wildly to the pandemic.
Enjoy the game and impress your friends with these amazing Los Angeles vs Cincinnati housing market stats.