Redfin’s Big Game: Boston vs. Los Angeles

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Do Patriots or Rams fans have it better when it comes to life in these coastal cities?


This Sunday promises an age old tradition–pitting the East and West Coasts against each other. Oh yeah, and a ton of chips, dip, commercials, and some football action, too.

The Los Angeles Rams will face off against the New England Patriots to see who will take home football’s biggest title. The victor also wins serious hometown bragging rights. With that in mind, we talked to Redfin real estate agents and broke down each city to determine which city is best to call home.

“Boston is a vibrant, energetic city, with a good cross section of job opportunities and social and recreational activities, whether you’re right out of college or a more mature professional,” said Boston-based Redfin agent Dan Sharry. “It’s home to some of the world’s top universities, and both Boston and Cambridge have emerged as exciting top tech hubs on the East Coast. Plus, it’s compact, with four unique seasons–and we don’t have those six-lane freeways,” he said, a nod to the competition.

LA Redfin agent Alec Traub was quick with a worthy rebuttal. “While the rest of the country is minus 20 or 30 degrees, it’s 70 and sunny in LA,” he said. “LA is diverse and eclectic. There’s beach, mountains, desert, a huge food scene, and of course, Hollywood! But also a booming tech sector with people from San Francisco and Seattle moving to ‘Silicon Beach.’”

But what about the housing markets? Grab your favorite game-time snack and read on to see who takes home our housing bowl, without commercial breaks.


First Quarter: Affordability

Boston: According to Redfin data, the median home sale price in the Boston metro area was $451,000 in December, and a median of $268 per square foot. Redfin’s recent affordability report found that 55 percent of homes for sale in the metro area in 2018 were affordable on a median income.

LA: As of December 2018, the median sale price for homes in the Los Angeles metro area was $599,000, with a median of $406 per square foot. Redfin’s affordability report found that just 16 percent of homes for sale last year were affordable on a median income.

Winner: Boston. While both areas are expensive, Boston homes are less expensive on average than Los Angeles, and more affordable to the middle class.


Second Quarter: Real Estate Competition

Boston: It’s a hot market in Beantown, earning a Redfin Compete Score™ of 89 out of 100. Redfin found that the average home for sale in the city of Boston receives three offers and goes under contract in around 15 days, with the hottest homes selling for 2 percent above list price on average.

LA: While temps are warmer in Southern California, the Redfin Compete Score™ is cooler, with a 78 out of 100. That’s still quite competitive, and the average home for sale in the city of LA also typically receives three offers and goes under contract in around 41 days.

Winner: LA. While Boston boasts a piping hot market and super fast sales, we’re giving this quarter to LA, for being a bit more within reach for buyers with a lower Compete Score.


Third Quarter: Aspiration

Boston: New England QB Tom Brady has an estimated net worth of $44 million, is the world’s 15th highest-paid athlete, and is married to supermodel Gisele Bündchen, making them the second-highest paid celebrity couple. And they live like it. They once owned a mansion with a–wait for it–moat in LA, but now live in a palatial palace in Brookline, MA. Giselle opened their doors to Vogue, revealing a custom compound with five bedrooms, and a stunning, airy kitchen.

LA: Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff keeps up with the Kardashians. The football star purchased a $4 million mansion in the same gated community as many members of the famous reality TV family, with five bedrooms, five bathrooms, and 4,200 square feet. Fun fact: it was once owned by “Newlywed Game” host Bob Eubanks. Not bad for a 24-year-old!

Winner: Boston. We gotta give it to the GOAT. Tom Brady has won five championships, MVP awards, and has also racked up several homes along the way, becoming a real estate titan too.


Fourth Quarter: Agent Approval

Boston’s Dan Sharry on the market: “It’s competitive. In many neighborhoods, adjacent towns and suburban areas, there simply aren’t enough homes for sale to meet the demand.”

On sports culture: “My 29-year-old son doesn’t know anything other than world championships. There’s a whole generation who think world championships are essentially every year by our sports teams, and that’s an anomaly. It’s hard to fathom compared to any other town.”

On the competition: “I’ve been to LA many times but can’t imagine living there, even with the advantages to 12 months of warm weather. I don’t think it’s an offset for what Boston can offer.”


LA’s Alec Traub on the market: “There seems to be a constant demand for housing, and because people drive, there’s flexibility. Adding five to 15 minutes to a commute is easy and opens up a larger pool of inventory.”  
On sports culture: “There’s so much going on that sports sometimes comes secondary. With that said, there’s a buzz for the Rams now, or when the Dodgers were in the World Series. It might not always happen, but when it does, it goes to another level and brings the city together.”
On the competition: “LA has an advantage in that you don’t have to commit to living in specific areas. It’s very different than Boston, where where you want to be walking distance to a metro stop, because walking those extra minutes in the snow isn’t ideal.”

Winner: LA. While a spread out city brings challenges, it also creates, as Traub said, ample opportunity to find your dream home, and yes, the weather can’t be beat.



The score is tied-up and it comes down to the most favorited home on right now in each city. Last week, these were the homes that earned the most hearts.

Boston: This sun-drenched Cape-style home may be smaller than Tom Brady’s abode, but it’s a charming starting home set just outside Boston in the suburb of Melrose. It was the most saved home in the Boston area on last week with 228 hearts, and is now up to 250 and counting.

LA: Perched in the hills of Mount Washington in North East Los Angeles, this fixer upper on a supersized lot boasts hillside, city and mountain views, and earned 524 hearts on last week, and has since soared up to 594.


LA: This match-up was neck-and-neck, but LA won, edging out with far more favorites. Of course, both coasts presented a strong case and we’d be thrilled to call either home. Thanks for playing and good luck on Sunday!

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Emily Hochberg is Redfin's Lifestyle Editor, covering topics related to culture, trends, personal finance, decor, style and more. When not busy typing away, find her daydreaming over Redfin listings (seriously, should she buy and fix up a beach house in Hawaii?) or obsessively planning where to travel next.

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