Home Flipping Hits Some Milestones

ATTOM Data Solutions released its Q2 2016 U.S. Home Flipping Report, which shows a total of 51,434 U.S. single family home and condo sales were completed flips in the second quarter of 2016, up 14 percent from the previous quarter and up 3 percent from a year ago to the highest number of home flips since Q2 2010 — a six-year high.

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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 ATTOM Data Solutions in more than 950 counties accounting for more than 80 percent of the U.S. population (see full methodology below).

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Homes flipped in Q2 2016 accounted for 5.5 percent of all single family and condo sales during the quarter, down from 6.7 percent of all sales in the first quarter but up from 5.4 percent of all sales in Q2 2015.

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A total of 39,775 investors (including both individuals and institutions) completed at least one home flip in Q2 2016, the highest number of home flippers since Q2 2007 — a nine-year high.

“Home flipping is becoming more accessible for smaller operators thanks to an increasingly competitive lending environment with more loan options for real estate investors, who are also benefitting from the historically low mortgage interest rates,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “That favorable lending environment for flippers has helped to fuel the recent flipping frenzy we’ve seen over the past five quarters.

“We’re starting to see home flipping hit some milestones not seen since prior to the financial crisis, which is somewhat concerning, but there are a couple of important differences in the home flipping of 2016 compared to 2006 when home flipping peaked during the last housing boom,” Blomquist continued. “First, home flippers are realizing a much bigger gross ROI in 2016, averaging 49 percent in the first two quarters compared to an average gross ROI of just 27 percent in 2006. Second, while an increasing number of flippers are financing their purchases, more than two-thirds are still using cash to purchase compared to about one-third using cash to purchase back in 2006.”

Of the 51,434 homes flipped in the second quarter, 68.3 percent were purchased with cash by the flipper, down from 71.1 percent in the previous quarter and down from 69.6 percent in Q2 2015 to the lowest level since Q3 2008 — a nearly eight-year low.

“The single family real estate sector is becoming more institutional, which means that more financing is available and more attractive,” said Varun V. Pathria, CEO at Asset Avenue, a company that provides investor rehab, bridge and rental loans. “The entrepreneurs are also becoming savvier and as a result are looking to leverage their capital more. There continues to be a fringe group of people who enter and exit the sector based upon opportunity and those people are hard to predict but generally look to take maximum leverage.”

Pathria noted that 79 percent of the rehab loans Asset Avenue has originated so far in 2016 have been purchase loans while the remaining 21 percent have been refinance — typically an investor who purchases with cash at a foreclosure auction or some other auction and subsequently finances the property.

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