Home Flips Plunge as Distressed Inventory Dries Up

September 6, 2018

The rate of home flipping in the U.S. plunged almost to a four-year low in the second quarter as the number of distressed or low-priced homes dropped, according to a new report by real estate data firm ATTOM Data Solutions. A flip is defined as a home that has been sold more than once in a 12-month period.

A total of 48,768 single-family homes and condos were flipped in the second quarter, comprising about 5.2 percent of all sales. That is down from 5.4 percent a year ago.

Home flipping

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“Fewer distressed sales are limiting the ability of home flippers to find deep discounts even while rising interest rates are shrinking the pool of potential buyers for flipped homes,” says Daren Blomquist, ATTOM’s senior vice president. “These two forces are squeezing average home flipping returns, pushing investors to leverage financing or migrate to markets with more distressed discounts available to achieve more favorable returns.”

Homes flipped in the second quarter sold for an average of $65,520 more than what the investor had purchased the home for, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. That marks a two-year low and the lowest since the second quarter of 2016. It’s also down from an all-time high average gross flipping profit of $69,500 in the first quarter.

Out of the homes flipped during the second quarter, 32.3 percent were purchased through a distress sale, a home either in foreclosure or a bank-owned home. The first quarter of 2010 saw a peak in distressed sales purchased by home flippers at 68.2 percent.

The highest home flipping rates in the country during the second quarter were in Washington, D.C. (8.3 percent), followed by Nevada (7.4 percent), Tennessee (7.2 percent), Arizona (6.7 percent), Maryland (6.5 percent), and Alabama (6.4 percent).


Additional findings from the report:

  • The average time to complete a home flip was 186 days, which is running close to the 185 day average from a year ago.
  • The median year of built homes flipped in the second quarter was 1978, which tied for the oldest median year built according to ATTOM’s data, which dates back to 2000.
  • The median square footage of homes flipped was 1,408 square feet, the smallest square footage on record, according to ATTOM’s report.
U.S. Home Flipping Returns Drop to Nearly Four-Year Low in Q2 2018,” ATTOM Data Solutions (Sept. 4, 2018)