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Can these home price trends predict the next NFL champion?

 

Philadelphia

It’s that time again--the start of a new year, snow storms, colder temperatures and the NFL playoffs. This year’s playoff teams are from a very diverse group of housing markets from all across the country.

There are an untold number of oddsmakers and prognosticators that purport to be able to pick the ultimate winner of the NFL's highest prize. But is there any specific relationship between home prices, mortgage rates and success in the NFL? Of course not. However, it's fun to forecast the winner of Super Bowl LII based off certain housing market characteristics.

Back in 2013, we picked the Super Bowl winner based on which market had the highest average mortgage rates. Based on that criteria, our pick (the Seattle Seahawks) took home the Lombardi trophy. In 2014, we  selected our winner based the metropolitan area market with the highest home prices in each head-to-head matchup. Ultimately, this predicted that New England would be the winner... which turned out to be correct, too!

Although we skipped the last couple of years of predictions, we decided to give it another go for this year. In years past, we waited until the wild-card round had completed before making our selections, but for the 2017-2018 playoff season, we thought we would mix it up a bit and include those games.

Just to be different, we've also changed the methodology we use to determine outcomes. For this year's picks, we'll use third quarter 2016 to third quarter 2017 home price appreciation for existing single-family homes as a reference. But as a twist, we'll swap our criteria from round to round.

For the Wildcard round, we'll pick teams whose markets had higher home price appreciation over the last four quarters; for the Divisional round, we'll choose markets with the lower year-over-year appreciation. Then for the Championship round, we'll switch back to higher and will then pick the market with the lowest annual appreciation as the Super Bowl winner.

The high-low, high-low winner? The New England Patriots win it all over the Minnesota Vikings. Currently, the Pats are the odds-on favorite with 2 to 1 odds of winning; Minnesota's odds are double this at 4 to 1.

Just for kicks, how about a reversal of the above method of choosing a winner -- wildcard round winner with the smallest year-over-year home price appreciation, then divisional higher, championship lower, Super Bowl higher?  

The low-high, low-high winner? The Atlanta Falcons best the Pittsburgh Steelers for the title. Based upon the odds, this would be a bit of a longshot, with 20-1 Atlanta overcoming 4.5 to 1 Pittsburgh, with the highest-ranked teams knocked out along the way.

On a straight-up basis, where the matchup would be determined by the markets in each conference with the greatest year-over-year home price appreciation? This would see the Los Angeles Rams (10.1% y-o-y) defeat the Buffalo Bills (9.1% y-o-y). This would be a 12-1 shot beating a 100-1 shot... but anything can happen in the playoffs!

For our pick, we'll choose the first group, the high-low-high-low method. See how the round by round matchups stack up on the second to last slide!

2/5/18 Update: Despite a convoluted path, our original forecast that a market with a lesser year-over-year home price appreciation would win it all proved true. However, we didn't expect the market with the smallest home price gain of all the playoff markets -- a real underdog -- would become the little market that could, but Philadelphia's 1.7% 3Q16 to 3Q17 home price gain was ultimately mightier than all comers, including last year's champion New England (Boston) gain of 6.6%. Congrats to the Philadelphia Eagles and their no-longer long-suffering fans, who will now have a Lombardi Trophy to put in the display case.

We hope you enjoyed our lighthearted football-and-real estate market associations. See you next year!

1/22/18 Update: It was a mixed bag for our home-price-based picks for this round. We thought higher-speed markets would prevail, but were only half-right, with New England 6.6% overcoming Jacksonville's 5.9% year over year gain. Conversely, Philadelphia's 1.7% annual increase -- the smallest of all markets in this year's playoffs -- overcame the Minneapolis metro's gaudy 7.3% annual rise. If our expectation that a lower-gain market will prevail in the final round comes true, there will be a lot of happy Eagles fans in just a couple of weeks.

1/15/18 Update: Even though all the opponents from the first round weren't as expected, outcomes for the second round were pretty close to our expectations, where 75 percent of our home-price picks from the Divisional round are moving on to the AFC and NFC Championship games. One got in with a last second miracle!

1/8/18 Update: Wow. After Wildcard weekend, we sure wish we had picked the low-high, low-high version of each pairing, as the winner in all four contests had lower annual home price increases than did their opponent. On to the next round!

Boston

  • Median-home price: $464,100
  • Price increase, Q316 to Q317: 6.6%
  • Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent
  • Homeownership rate: 57.5 percent
  • Required salary to afford median-priced home: $97,465.24
  • Average ticket cost: $130.73
  • Stadium name: Gillette Stadium
  • Last time in playoffs: 2016 season
  • Last time Super Bowl winner: 2016 season
  • Current odds: 1/2/18 - 2 to 1
  • Updated odds 1/8/18 - 1.75 to 1
  • Updated odds 1/15/18: 1 to 1
  • Updated odds 1/22/18: Patriots favored by 5.5 points to win.

2/5/18 update: Eliminated. Despite throwing for more than 500 yards, the most every by a quarterback in a Super Bowl, Tom Brady couldn't carry the Patriots to another title, but it was a down-to-the wire affair. A highly-efficient offense wasn't enough - there was one one punt in the game between the two teams -- but New England's defense gave more than 40 points for the third time this season. Brady's drive for six rings will have to wait until next year.

1/22/18 update: On to the Super Bowl... again. New England didn't play their greatest game ever, but were good when it counted most. A late, come-from-behind winning drive late in the fourth quarter to win the game was nearly as predictable as the team's propensity for securing home-field advantage in the playoffs. The script seems the same, but will the outcome also be? We'll see what Philadelphia has to say about that in two week's time.

1/15/18 update: On to the Championship round. We thought that the Pats would be moving on, but that the opponent they faced to do so would be different. Like their local housing market, New England continued to efficiently move forward with a solid performance all around, and a 6.6% annual price gain bested the 1.9% of the Nashville metro. New England's next opponent has also seen strong gains and could be an unpredictable challenger.

Pittsburgh

  • Median-home price: $146,000
  • Price increase, Q316 to Q317: 4.3%
  • Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent
  • Homeownership rate: 74.0 percent
  • Required salary to afford median-priced home: $35,205.49
  • Average ticket cost: $93.56
  • Stadium name: Heinz Field
  • Last time in playoffs: 2016 season
  • Last time Super Bowl winner: 2008 season
  • Current odds: 1/2/18 - 6 to 1
  • Updated odds 1/8/18 - 5 to 1

1/15/18 update: Eliminated. Despite a heroic effort by Ben Roethlisberger (469 yds, 5 TDs) the Steelers came up short in a high-scoring shootout. We thought that Pittsburgh's steady price gains would overcome the higher-flying Jacksonville metro, but the Jags are nearing a full recovery from a period of malaise, just the same as its home real estate market, and that proved too much for the Steelers and a market that really didn't boom or bust over the last decade.

Jacksonville

  • Median-home price: $232,000
  • Price increase, Q316 to Q317: 5.9%
  • Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent
  • Homeownership rate: 63.5 percent
  • Required salary to afford median-priced home: $51,020.85
  • Average ticket cost: $63.36
  • Stadium name: EverBank Field
  • Last time in playoffs: 2007 season
  • Last time Super Bowl winner: Never
  • Current odds: 1/2/18 - 20 to 1
  • Updated odds 1/8/18 - 16 to 1
  • Updated odds 1/15/18 - 9 to 1

1/22/18 update: Eliminated. Despite a solid all-around effort, the Jaguars couldn't get a key stop when they needed to in the fourth quarter, when they gave up 14 points to the Patriots and couldn't get a touchdown of their own to win the game. Blake Bortles put up numbers nearly equivalent to Tom Brady, except where it mattered most - Brady's 2 TDs versus Bortles' 1. We thought New England's 6.6% year-over-year price gain would prevail in this round, and it did.

1/15/18 update: On to the Championship round. A usually defensive-minded Jaguars team gave up 42 points, had an unexpected offense breakout, putting up 45 points on the day. Jacksonville had Pittsburgh's number twice this year, but the numbers here saw Jacksonville's 5.9% price gain best Pittsburgh's 4.3% rise. The Jags will probably need a return to form to continue toward the Super Bowl.

1/8/18 update: On to the Divisional round. Eleven years ago, home prices here were at peak and the Jags made the playoffs. Both the housing market and the team saw difficult times since then, but a steady recovery in home prices in recent years and improving fortunes on the field sees the Jacksonville market and the Jaguars approaching peak levels of success.

Kansas City

  • Median-home price: $197,800
  • Price increase, Q316 to Q317: 5.2%
  • Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent
  • Homeownership rate: 62.8 percent
  • Required salary to afford median-priced home: $44,616.20
  • Average ticket cost: $73.79
  • Stadium name: Arrowhead Stadium
  • Last time in playoffs: 2016 season
  • Last time Super Bowl winner: 1969 season
  • Current odds: 1/2/18 - 16 to 1

1/8/18 update: Eliminated. An unsustainably hot start for the Chiefs gave way to a cold streak which ended their season. It's a good thing for homeowners in the Kansas City metro area that home prices aren't following suit, where prices remain hot and are almost 21% above last decade's "boom time" peaks.

Nashville

  • Median-home price: $243,300
  • Price increase, Q316 to Q317: 1.9%
  • Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent
  • Homeownership rate: 68.8 percent
  • Required salary to afford median-priced home: $47,433.50
  • Average ticket cost: $67.15
  • Stadium name: Nissan Stadium
  • Last time in playoffs: 2008 season
  • Last time Super Bowl winner: Never
  • Current odds: 1/2/18 - 100 to 1
  • Updated odds 1/8/18 - 40 to 1

1/15/18 update: Eliminated. The Titans did what they could, but the Patriots just continued to do what they do. Although we thought that a lower-appreciating market would move on in this round, the 1.9% year-over-year growth rate was the least of the AFC teams and couldn't overcome the relentless and solid pace of the Boston metro area.

1/8/18 update: On to the Divisional round. Home prices in the Nashville market has been on a hot streak for a number of years, powering though the troubles of the last decade. The Titan's running game did much the same, pushing forward steadily in an adverse climate to continue to advance.

Buffalo

  • Median-home price: $151,600
  • Price increase, Q316 to Q317: 9.1%
  • Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent
  • Homeownership rate: 65.4 percent
  • Required salary to afford median-priced home: $41,648.23
  • Average ticket cost: $88.18
  • Stadium name: New Era Field
  • Last time in playoffs: 1999 season
  • Last time Super Bowl winner: Never
  • Current odds: 1/2/18 - 100 to 1

1/8/18 update: Eliminated. Buffalo's first foray into the playoffs since before Y2K didn't go well. Normally a market where home prices grind it out (not having boomed or busted in the last decade), it may be that success (for home prices or on the gridiron) is something that will take some getting used to.

Philadelphia

  • Median-home price: $239,900
  • Price increase, Q316 to Q317: 1.7%
  • Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent
  • Homeownership rate: 63.9 percent
  • Required salary to afford median-priced home: $56,194.50
  • Average ticket cost: $98.69
  • Stadium name: Lincoln Financial Field
  • Last time in playoffs: 2013 season
  • Last time Super Bowl winner: Never
  • Current odds: 1/2/18 - 10 to 1
  • Updated odds 1/8/18 - 12 to 1
  • Updated odds 1/15/18 - 7 to 1
  • Updated odds 1/22/18 - Eagles are 5.5-point underdogs.

2/5/18 update: Champions. The loudspeakers will proclaim: "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome for the first time, your world champion Philadelphia Eagles!" A near-flawless offensive performance by backup quarterback Nick Foles included some trickery, with Foles becoming the first QB to catch a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl (his first reception in the NFL. The Eagle's defense came up with a key late strip-sack of Tom Brady (the only sack of the game), leading to three crucial points to expand a 5-point lead, and the Eagles did just enough on the Patriots final drive to prevent another last-minute comeback by the Patriots to secure their first-ever title.

1/22/18 update: On to the Super Bowl. There would be no Minnesota Miracle this week, and the Eagles not only came ready to play but execute efficiently on both offense and defense, crushing Minnesota's hope of hosting a "home" Super Bowl. We thought the stronger home price gains of the Twin Cities metro area would prevail, but if our expectation that the market with the lower home price trend will prevail as champion comes true, Philadelphia will win its first title in just a few weeks' time.

1/15/18 update: On to the Championship round. In the battle of the birds, the Eagles overcame the Falcons despite having the weakest year-over-year growth in home prices of the remaining markets. We thought a lower market would beat a higher one in this round and expected to see the Eagles moving on.

Minneapolis

  • Median-home price: $257,800
  • Price increase, Q316 to Q317: 7.3%
  • Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent
  • Homeownership rate: 68.4 percent
  • Required salary to afford median-priced home: $56,245.56
  • Average ticket cost: $91.67
  • Stadium name: U.S. Bank Stadium
  • Last time in playoffs: 2015 season
  • Last time Super Bowl winner: Never
  • Current odds: 1/2/18 - 4.5 to 1
  • Updated odds 1/8/18 - 3.5 to 1
  • Updated odds 1/15/18 - 1.75 to 1

1/22/18 update: Eliminated.. There was no last second Minnesota Miracle this week to propel the Vikings onward. Instead, the Vikings ran into an Eagles team that was firing on all cylinders, where both a smothering defense and a flowing offense overwhelmed them. The stronger home price market didn't win in this case, and there will be no "home" Super Bowl for Minnesota.

1/15/18 update: On to the Championship round.. Case Keenum and the Vikings continue an improbable run to the title. Solid play and solid home price gains don't necessarily go hand in hand, but a 7.3% year-over-year rise and perhaps more than a little bit of luck to best the Saints were enough to see them moving on.

1/15/18 update: On to the Championship round. Case Keenum and the Vikings continue an improbable run to the title. Solid play and solid home price gains don't necessarily go hand in hand, but a 7.3% year-over-year rise and perhaps more than a little bit of luck to best the Saints were enough to see them moving on.

Los Angeles

  • Median-home price: $595,100
  • Price increase, Q316 to Q317: 10.1%
  • Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent
  • Homeownership rate: 46.6 percent
  • Required salary to afford median-priced home: $115,068.77
  • Average ticket cost: $72.71
  • Stadium name: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
  • Last time in playoffs: 2004 season
  • Last time Super Bowl winner: 1999 season
  • Current odds: 1/2/18 - 10 to 1

1/8/18 update: Eliminated. Perhaps in a case of too much success, too quickly, the upstart Rams got worn down by a steady, experienced Atlanta team. Home prices in the Los Angeles market surged again this year with a leap large enough to push the market back to a "fully recovered" level, but perhaps a more sustainable trend of greater success will come next year.

New Orleans

  • Median-home price: $204,300
  • Price increase, Q316 to Q317: 4.01%
  • Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent
  • Homeownership rate: 57.6 percent
  • Required salary to afford median-priced home: $44,131.30
  • Average ticket cost: $91.25
  • Stadium name: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
  • Last time in playoffs: 2013 season
  • Last time Super Bowl winner: 2009 season
  • Current odds: 1/2/18 - 10 to 1
  • Updated odds 1/8/18 - 6 to 1

1/15/18 update: Eliminated. An improbable ending to a remarkable game saw the Minnesota Vikings pull off a last-play, last-second win against the Saints. New Orleans' annual gain of 6.8% was overcome by Minneapolis' 7.3% lift for the year; overall, there was not much of a difference between the two, but just enough, even as one single play can change the outcome of game.

1/8/18 update: On to the Divisional round. Home prices in the the Big Easy metro area may not currently be as high-flying as the Saints passing game, but both were certainly strong enough to see New Orleans on fine footing as it moves deeper into the playoffs.

Charlotte

  • Median-home price: $233,300
  • Price increase, Q316 to Q317: 8.0%
  • Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent
  • Homeownership rate: 62.8 percent
  • Required salary to afford median-priced home: $47,467.51
  • Average ticket cost: $79.04
  • Stadium name: Bank of America Stadium
  • Last time in playoffs: 2015 season
  • Last time Super Bowl winner: Never
  • Current odds: 1/2/18 - 25 to 1

1/8/18 update: Eliminated. Third time wasn't the charm for the Panthers, as the Saints beat them in all three matchups this year. Oh well. At least homeowners in the Charlotte metro are can gloat about winning the home price appreciation battle over the last year.

Atlanta

  • Median-home price: $204,300
  • Price increase, Q316 to Q317: 6.7%
  • Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent
  • Homeownership rate: 61.8 percent
  • Required salary to afford median-priced home: $43,388.44
  • Average ticket cost: $78.83
  • Stadium name: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
  • Last time in playoffs: 2016 season
  • Last time Super Bowl winner: Never
  • Current odds: 1/2/18 - 20 to 1
  • Updated odds 1/8/18 - 7.5 to 1

1/15/18 update: Eliminated. The Falcons failed to get the better of the Eagles, and are returning home to watch the remainder of the playoffs. Even though they didn't achieve the success they hoped for, the Falcons can at least boast that home values in their market are on a superior path.

1/8/18 update: On to the Divisional round. Mimicking the Atlanta metro's steady and balanced improvement in home prices produced success for the Falcons, who bested a high-powered Rams team in a local housing market where both may have run a little too hot to produce sustainable success.

NFL playoff brackets
Click to enlarge

Sources:

  • Median-home price: National Association of Realtors
  • Price increase, Q316 to Q317: National Association of Realtors
  • Mortgage rate: Freddie Mac PMMS
  • Homeownership rate: Census Bureau
  • Required salary to afford median-priced home: HSH.com
  • Average ticket cost: TeamMarketing.com
  • Stadium name: Google search results
  • Last time in playoffs: pro-football-reference.com
  • Last time Super Bowl winner: pro-football-reference.com
  • Current odds: vegasinsider.com
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