Even as home-flipping activity has generally declined in the past year, it continues to be quite widespread in parts of the country. In some counties, home flippers still buy large numbers of properties to renovate and resell at a potentially significant profit.
There were 22 U.S. counties that had at least 1,000 home flips each in the 12 months between April 2013 and March 2014. Among these, 10 counties had more than 1,500, while Suffolk County, New York, had more than 7,000 in that time. Based on recently released data from home data site RealtyTrac, 24/7 Wall St. determined the 10 counties with the highest number of home flips.
In parts of the U.S. where home flipping is common, there is often a strong investor presence, Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, told 24/7 Wall. St. Additionally, many of these areas have “low inventory of new homes for sale, combined with a lot of older inventory of existing homes.” These two factors, combine to create a distinct niche for recently flipped properties.
Indeed, many of the most popular counties for home flipping were located in metro areas where flips still accounted for a large percentage of sales. In the New York, Jacksonville, and Omaha metro areas, home flips accounted for more than 10% of all sales — among the higher percentages in the nation.
The size of the county also plays a role in driving home flip totals, since a higher number of residents generally indicates a larger housing market. All but one of the 10 counties with the most flips were among the nation’s 100 largest by population. Additionally, six were among the 15 most populous counties nationwide.
Flippers aim to enter “markets at or near the bottom to maximize profits from flips,” Blomquist said. “The data suggests these markets are primed for a strong rebound, and some are already in the process of rebounding.” It is hardly a coincidence that the principal counties of the Las Vegas and Phoenix metro areas, as well as a number of counties in recession-battered southern California, were among the most popular for flippers.