House Flipping Staging a Comeback?

April 26, 2013

More Americans are once again on the hunt to snag a home at bargain prices, fix it up, and then try to resell it for a quick profit. Home flippers mostly vanished from the market during the housing downturn a few years ago. But with home values inching up, flipping is coming back. 

RealtyTrac says flipping increased for the second year in row, rising a slight 0.33 percent in 2012 from 12 percent in 2011. The company defines flipping as buying and selling a property within six months. 

RealtyTrac reports the average gross profits for these types of transactions was $37,375 in 2012. According to the company, some of the best places to flip homes in 2012 were Orlando, Fla.; Richmond, Va.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Charlotte, N.C. 

For example, homes flipped in Orlando were purchased for $100,397, on average, and then for $174,895 — earning a gross profit, on average, of nearly $75,000, RealtyTrac reports. 

Investors are showing signs of being more cautious with flipping than they were during the housing boom. More investors are coming in with all-cash deals to purchase the homes. They also are holding onto the properties longer than they once did. On average, the flipping time from purchase to resale stands at about 106 days today, according to RealtyTrac. 

"That seems to be the sweet spot for a profitable deal," says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "Back in the housing bubble, many flippers were solely relying on price appreciation, sitting back and selling for big profits within a month or two." 

Source: “The New Rules of House Flipping,” Reuters (April 18, 2013)

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