Data from RealtyTrac shows that 6.6 percent (43,740) of all single family home and condo sales in the first quarter of 2016 were flips, a 20 percent increase from the previous quarter and up 3 percent from a year ago to the highest rate of home flips since the first quarter of 2014.
For the report, a home flip is defined as a property that is sold in an arms-length sale for the second time within a 12-month period based on publicly recorded sales deed data collected by RealtyTrac in more than 950 counties accounting for more than 80 percent of the U.S. population (see full methodology below).
The 6.6 percent share of total home sales that were flips in Q1 2016 was still 26 percent below the 9.0 percent share at the peak of home flipping in Q1 2006, but was 55 percent above the recent trough in home flipping — 4.3 percent of total home sales in Q3 2014.
“After faltering in late 2014, home flipping has been gaining steam for the last year and a half thanks to falling interest rates and a dearth of housing inventory for flippers to compete against,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac. “While responsible home flipping is helpful for a housing market, excessive and irresponsible flipping activity can contribute to a home price pressure cooker that overheats a housing market, and we are starting to see evidence of that pressure cooker environment in a handful of markets.
Home flipping hits new all-time highs in 7 percent of markets
Counter to the national trend, the share of home flipping reached new all-time highs in Q1 2016 in nine of 126 metropolitan statistical analyzed (7 percent) including Baltimore, Maryland; Buffalo, New York; Huntsville, Alabama; New Orleans, Louisiana; and York-Hanover, Pennsylvania.
Other markets where the share of home flipping has reached new highs since home prices bottomed out in 2012 include Seattle, Washington; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Bakersfield, California; and San Diego, California.
Flipping share up from a year ago in 60 percent of local markets
Home flipping as a share of total sales increased from a year ago in 75 out of 126 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed for the report (60 percent). Among markets with a population of at least 1 million, those with the biggest increases in the rate of flipping were New Orleans (up 45 percent), San Antonio (up 34 percent), Nashville (up 26 percent), Cleveland (up 26 percent), Columbus, Ohio (up 23 percent), and Dallas (up 22 percent).
Markets with the highest share of flipping in the first quarter were Memphis, Tennessee (13.3 percent); Clarksville, Tennessee (12.5 percent); Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Florida (11.8 percent); Fresno, California (11.3 percent); and Visalia-Porterville, California (11.1 percent).