Flipping houses, always a risk-reward proposition, is still very popular in the U.S. post-recession.
The rate of house flips hit a six-year high as a share of sales in the first quarter of 2018, according to a report in ATTOM Data Solutions. New York City saw a 20 percent increase in home flipping year over year, while Chicago saw a 7 percent increase. But there were stark differences around the country.
Tight markets made it hard for speculators to find homes to flip. Miami experienced the largest drop. There was a 16 percent decline in home flips as a percentage of sales year over year. Los Angeles, meanwhile, saw a modest 3 percent dip.
A total of 75 of the 136 markets ATTOM Data studied posted year-over-year decreases. Some smaller markets across the country experienced major upticks in house flipping. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, spiked 70 percent; while Lincoln, Nebraska; and Madison, Wisconsin, both rose above 55 percent.
The overall number of house flips declined 4 percent to just under 48,500 in the first quarter year over year, but that accounted for about 7 percent of sales, a level last reached in the first quarter of 2012. Last year, investors flipped more than 207,000 condominiums and single-family homes in 2017, the most since 2006.
The average gross profit from a home flip was $69,500, the highest level since 2000. That was a slight decline from the fourth quarter of 2017.