Home Flipping Returns Spike in 2013

From DSNews 6/22/14

Home flippers reported more gains in 2013 than in any year on record, according to national real estate brokerage Redfin. The average home flipped last year was sold for $90,200 more than it was purchased, and in 11 of the 30 markets Redfin analyzed, flippers received gains of more than $100,000 per house. Redfin considers flipping the act of purchasing and then reselling a home within 12 months.Seven of those 11 markets were located in California with San Francisco topping the list. In San Francisco, the average gain from a home flipped was $194,600. Long Island, New York, and San Jose, California, ranked second and third with gains of $152,500 and $152,000, respectively.

On a more micro level, Redfin found homes flipped in nine neighborhoods broke $200,000 in gains in 2013. In the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C., the average home flipped brought a gain of $312,400. In the Beaumont neighborhood of Portland, the average gain on a flipped home was $285,600.

On the other hand, homes flipped in Las Vegas had average gains of $50,200, and homes flipped in Atlanta had average gains of $53,000.

“It’s worth noting that gains are not profits,” Redfin stated in its report. Home flippers often complete repairs and improvements before reselling homes, and these projects vary widely in price.

While home flippers experienced greater gains in 2013 than in years prior, the actual number of homes flipped was smaller last year than in 2012. In Redfin markets, a total of 67,000 homes were flipped last year, and the number is expected to decline to about 58,500 this year. This is down from 75,000 in 2012 and from a peak of 101,800 in 2005.

However, as the number of homes flipped declined, the rate of homes flipped for more than their purchase price increased. Last year, 77 percent of homes flipped recorded gains. In 2008, it was close to the reverse, according to Redfin.

Another trend Redfin pointed out is a heightened number of homes flipped by banks instead of individuals since the housing crisis. After a low of 6.5 percent in 2006, bank-flipped homes shot up to 72.2 percent of flipped homes in 2008.

By 2013, the share had fallen to 35.2 percent, but Redfin has already noted increased activity from banks so far this year.

Redfin also noted increasing flipping activity in a few markets, in particular, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Philadelphia.

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