House flipping is back – it’s just not as profitable as it used to be

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It seems Americans have finally shed their post-recession fears and gotten back into the house flipping game.

The latest report from ATTOM Data Solutions reveals that the house-flipping rate spiked to a nine-year high in the first quarter of the year, with 7.2% of all home sales representing a flip – up from the previous quarter’s 5.9%.

But it appears flippers are making less – way less – than they used to.

ATTOM’s report revealed that the average return on investment calculated by the cost of acquisition versus the cost of sale was 38.7% in Q1 – the lowest level in nearly eight years. This is down nearly 10 percentage points from one year ago.

Of course, there are always those who buck the trend.

In 11 markets, investors actually doubled their ROI on house flips. The standouts with the highest ROIs were Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Flint, Michigan; Shreveport, Louisiana; Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Knoxville, Tennessee.

The average flip sold for a median price of $215,000, ATTOM revealed, and the average gross flipping profit in Q1 was $60,000. The average timeframe to complete a flip was 180 days.

“With interest rates dropping and home price increases starting to ease, investors may be getting out while the getting is good, before the market softens further,” said Todd Teta, ATTOM’s chief product officer.

“While the home flipping rate is increasing, gross profits and ROI are starting to weaken and the number of investors that are flipping is down 11% from last year,” Teta continued. “Therefore, if investors are seeing profit margins drop, they may be acting now and selling before price increases drop even more.”

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