During the Great Recession (2007-09), many properties lost equity as the housing market began falling. Short-term investors then started buying up properties that had fallen into foreclosure in order to flip them at a profit.
By contrast, flipping houses in today’s seller’s market is all about buying fixer-upper properties, making improvements and then reselling them to millennials and other first-time buyers.
Since the data firm CoreLogic first began tracking quarterly statistics on home flipping in 2002, the highest rate of home flipping as a percentage of all residential properties sold occurred during the first quarter of 2018 at 11.4 percent.
This upward trend continued last year with a higher rate in the fourth quarter than any previous fourth quarter – reaching almost 10.9 percent of all home sales. This marked the culmination of 12 consecutive quarters with residential flipping rates increasing on a year-over-year basis.
While flipping rates as a percentage of all homes sold vary widely across the U.S., the numbers tend to be highest in the Sun Belt. Eight of the top 10 metro areas are located in the southern half of the country: Birmingham, AL; Memphis, TN; Tampa, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Camden, NJ; Phoenix, AZ; Palm Bay, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Lakeland, FL; and Atlanta, GA.
Most of the metros where flipping has the highest rate of return on investment (ROI) are in areas that have a significant number of older homes to flip: Detroit, MI; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Cleveland, OH; Akron, OH; Baltimore, MD; Buffalo, NY; Wilmington, DE; Toledo, OH; and Milwaukee, WI.
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