House Flips Up 16% as Prices Rebound

January 30, 2014

Investors are flipping houses again, a trend that had become popular during the housing boom but fell off after home prices started dropping. Now, with home prices back on the rise again, many markets are seeing flips on the upswing.

Homes that were purchased and then resold within six months accounted for 4.6 percent of all U.S. single-family home sales during 2013, according to RealtyTrac's fourth-quarter 2013 Home Flipping Report. House flipping was up 16 percent from 2012 and up 114 percent from 2011, the report shows.

Rising home prices have helped investors see profits again. The average gross profit on flips was $62,761 in the fourth quarter of 2013, up from $52,746 a year earlier.

“Strong home price appreciation in many markets boosted profits for flippers in 2013, despite a shrinking inventory of lower-priced foreclosure homes to purchase,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

In 2013, 21 percent of all homes flipped were purchased out of foreclosure, down from 27 percent in 2012 and 32 percent in 2011, the report shows. But investors are still finding homes to buy at an average discount of 13 percent below market value, the same average discount as 2012, “indicating that investors are finding discounted buying opportunities outside of the public foreclosure process — particularly in those markets with the biggest increases in flipping for the year,” Blomquist says.

The largest increases in flipping nationwide occurred on homes with a price of $400,000 or more.

What’s more, the average time to complete a flip is shrinking: 84 days in 2013, down from 86 days in 2012 and 100 days in 2011, according to RealtyTrac’s report.

Metro Areas With Largest Increase in Home Flipping in 2013

  1. Virginia Beach: +141%
  2. Jacksonville, Fla.: +92%
  3. Baltimore, Md.: +88%
  4. Atlanta: +79%
  5. Richmond, Va.: +57%
  6. Washington, D.C.: +52%
  7. Detroit: +51%

Meanwhile, the major metros that saw the biggest decreases in home flipping in 2013 were Philadelphia; Phoenix; Tampa, Fla.; Houston; and Denver, the report showed.

Source: RealtyTrac

Read more:

Top Markets for House-Flipping Profits
Next Big Investment: A Million-Dollar Flip
Investors Embrace Risk in High-End Flipping