Is House Flipping Still a Good Idea? RealtyTrac Shows 10% to 60% Gains

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The housing market numbers may have recently softened up a tad, but things in the housing market are still much better for those wanting buy and own a home compared the last five years. Many homebuyers are still financial buyers, meaning that they are buying to either resell or to rent out. RealtyTrac has recently issued its top 25 markets for flipping a house. We wanted to look closer because the average gains imply 10% in all but one of the top 25 markets and over 60% in the best of the 25 markets.

For starters, flipping a house is not for the timid. If you have seen the TV show “Flipping Vegas” you understand this. Being a house flipper can come with serious risks. For starters, something far worse could be happening with a house than a buyer knows going in. The costs to refurbish, repair, or remodel can easily become much higher than expected. A flipper can also suddenly get caught and unable to sell because of a turn in the market or because of something that is localized in a neighborhood.

RealyTrac’s list of the top 25 markets for flipping homes also readers just like a criminal’s rap sheet of the biggest housing market offenders of the recession. The worse markets from the recession are suddenly the best markets again. In fact, the three states of Arizona, California, and Florida have 19 of the top 25 cities.

Orlando led the list on gross profit percentages at 63%, followed by Las Vegas at 53%. But on a raw gross dollar basis, San Jose ruled with a $103,000 raw profit to be followed by San Diego at about $85,700 and then by San Francisco at about $80,300. We have also been hearing more and more radio commercials of late calling for investors to jump back into this flipping segment. If you did not buy into this notion two years ago then you are coming late into the game and the peak prices of the housing market in 2007 or 2008 are not likely relevant if you worry about the economy being soft or if rates rise ahead.

Here is an infographic of the RealtyTrac full list:


RealtyTrac said:

Flipping homes — buying, rehabbing and reselling for a profit usually within about 90 days — will likely become more favorable for investors in 2013 as home prices are expected to continue climbing. And while buying homes as rentals still offers a solid rate of return in many markets, even buy-and-hold investors typically flip properties periodically to fund their ongoing rental purchases.