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Business Observer Friday, Sep. 23, 2016 2 years ago

Investors flip over home sales

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Gulf Coast cities led the nation in the second quarter in home flips, according to a new report from Attom Data Solutions, the new parent company of real estate researcher RealtyTrac.

Gulf Coast cities led the nation in the second quarter in home flips, according to a new report from Attom Data Solutions, the new parent company of real estate researcher RealtyTrac.

Tampa ranked third in the quarter for major U.S. metro areas with at least 90 or more homes flipped, or purchased and then re-sold to an arm's length third party within 12 months of the original purchase. In all, 10% of Tampa homes in the quarter ended June 30 ranked as flips. Memphis led the nation, at 11.1%.

The Lakeland-Winter Haven area also cracked the Top 10 in the quarter, with 9.5% of all sales attributed to flipping, Attom found.

But a pair of Gulf Coast areas also topped the researcher's list for the longest amount of time it took to re-sell properties. While the average nationwide in the quarter was 185 days — a 10-year high — homes in Naples required an average of 222 days, and in Punta Gorda, in Charlotte County, the time was 212 days.

Home and condo flipping hit a six-year high nationwide in the 2016 second quarter, with 51,434 homes trading hands. The amount was up 3% over the same time frame in 2015.

“Home flipping is becoming more accessible for smaller operators thanks to an increasingly competitive lending environment with more loan options for real estate investors, who are also benefitting from historically low mortgage rates,” says Daren Blomquist, an Attom senior vice president, in the report.

Blomquist says the volume of flips was “somewhat concerning” because the figures are approaching levels seen in 2006, just prior to the U.S. housing market collapse. Yet he points out there are significant differences from 2016 and a decade ago.

“First, home flippers are realizing a much bigger gross ROI in 2016, averaging 49% in the first two quarters, compared to an average gross ROI of just 27% in 2006,” Blomquist says.

Additionally, some two-thirds of all flips today are being done on an all-cash basis, whereas just one-third were cash transactions a decade ago.

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