Home-flipping activity remained high during the first three months of the year after a sharp drop. Profits also rose slightly, according to property data firm Attom.
Readers who prioritize second homes and investment properties turn to Inman’s weekly Property Portfolio email newsletter, whether they’re agents who work with this special class of clients or investors themselves. This month, we’ll go deeper on everything from the latest at Airbnb and Vrbo to the changes investors are making to their portfolios in a shifting real estate market.
Home-flipping activity rose sharply in the first three months of the year despite profits sitting near the lowest point since 2000, according to a new report.
Among all single-family homes and condos sold during the first three months of the year, 72,960 were after being renovated by an investor, according to property data firm Attom. That represented 9 percent of all sales.
That’s the second-highest share of sales in at least the past 23 years, Attom said, indicating that flipping activity has continued at a high rate despite difficult financing.
“In the first quarter, profit margins showed a slight upward turn after an extended slump, while interest in flipped homes continued to rise among buyers,” said Attom CEO Rob Barber. “However, investors shouldn’t assume they’re out of the woods yet.”
The higher price of holding a home while conducting renovations involved in a flip means that investors face slim margins. The typical profit margin was 22 percent, which was up slightly after three straight years of decline during the COVID-19 housing market when home prices spiked.
What’s more, Barber added, “it’s possible that the recent gain is merely a temporary blip.”
The rate of home flipping hit a high point in the first quarter of last year before quickly dropping throughout the rest of 2022.
“Nevertheless, the first-quarter trends offer some hope for investors indicating that brighter times may lie ahead,” Barber said.
Gross profit, accounting only for the purchase price and resale price and not including renovations, was $56,000 for the quarter, Attom said. That’s down 20 percent from the same time a year earlier but slightly up from the fourth quarter of 2022.
“The recent profit turnaround — modest as it was — continued an unusual pattern of home-flipping fortunes running counter to the broader U.S. housing market. For the prior three years, investment returns were mostly dropping,” Attom said. “That was happening despite prices and profits for traditional sellers soaring during an extended, decade-long boom period for the overall market.”
The median investor paid $249,000 for a typical flipped home during the first quarter and sold them for $305,000.
Flippers sold at a loss in Austin (10.2 percent loss), Phoenix (2.4 percent), Ogden (0.5 percent) and Las Vegas (0.3 percent).
Email Taylor Anderson
Get Inman’s Property Portfolio Newsletter delivered right to your inbox. A weekly roundup of news that real estate investors need to stay on top, delivered every Tuesday. Click here to subscribe.