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Home Flipping Plummets Across U.S. in 2023 as Profits Slump Again – ATTOM Data Solutions

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Flipping Activity by Investors Declines at Fastest Pace in 15 Years; Investment Returns on Flips Sink to Lowest Level Since 2007: Two-Thirds of Flipped Homes Still Purchased with Cash

IRVINE, Calif. – Mar. 21, 2024 — ATTOM, a leading curator of land, property, and real estate data, today released its year-end 2023 U.S. Home Flipping Report, which shows that 308,922 single-family homes and condos in the United States were flipped in 2023. That was down 29.3 percent from 436,807 in 2022 – the largest annual drop since 2008.


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The report further reveals that as the number of homes flipped by investors declined, so did flips as a portion of all home sales, from 8.6 percent in 2022 to 8.1 percent last year.

In yet another sign of down times for the home-flipping industry, profits and profit margins also sank on quick buy-renovate-and-resell projects.

Gross profits on typical home flips in 2023 dropped to $66,000 nationwide (the difference between the median sales price and the median amount originally paid by investors). That was down from $70,100 in 2022 and translated into just a 27.5 percent return on investment compared to the original acquisition price. The latest nationwide ROI (before accounting for mortgage interest, property taxes, renovation expenses and other holding costs) was down from 28.1 percent in 2022 and 35.7 percent in 2021, hitting the worst level since 2007.

Investors saw their profit margins decrease for the sixth time in the past seven years as the median price of the homes they flipped dipped slightly faster than the median price they had paid to purchase properties – 4.4 percent versus 4 percent.

“In 2023, the landscape for home flipping across the U.S. became increasingly challenging,” remarked Rob Barber, CEO at ATTOM. “Whether the overall market has soared or seen just modest gains in recent years, investors have missed out on the action.”

He added that “the sharp decline in the number of home flips likely reflected a combination of a tight supply of homes for sale as well as dwindling returns. Either way, it will take some significant reworking of the financials for home flipping fortunes to turn back around.”

The latest drop-off in home-flipping profits came during a year when the nation’s decade-long home-price runup began to stall, leading to the weakest annual price gains since 2012 and a slight dip in profits for sellers of all kinds. But margins for home flippers had already been declining during earlier years when the broader housing market was booming. As that happened, the profit gap between investors and all sellers gradually widened.

Typical returns in 2023 remained at levels that could easily be wiped out by the carrying costs during the renovation and repair process, which usually consume 20 to 33 percent of the resale price.

Home flipping rates fall in most housing markets, with biggest decreases in the South and West
Home flips as a portion of all home sales decreased from 2022 to 2023 in 112 of the 212 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed in the report (53 percent). The top 25 largest decreases in annual flipping rates all were in the South and West. They were led by Gainesville, GA (rate down from 15.1 percent in 2022 to 9.9 percent in 2023); Phoenix, AZ (down from 16.3 percent to 11.9 percent); Prescott, AZ (down from 9.8 percent to 6 percent); Charlotte, NC (down from 14.2 percent to 10.6 percent) and Provo, UT (down from 10.9 percent to 7.5 percent).

Aside from Phoenix and Charlotte, the biggest decreases in flipping rates from 2022 to 2023 in metro areas with a population of 1 million or more were in Las Vegas, NV (rate down from 12.2 percent to 8.9 percent); Sacramento, CA (down from 9.9 percent to 6.9 percent) and Tucson, AZ (down from 14.6 percent to 11.8 percent).

Metro areas where home flipping rates increased from 2022 to 2023 were led by Macon, GA (rate up from 12.1 percent to 17 percent); Gulfport, MS (up from 3.9 percent to 7.7 percent); Jackson, MS (up from 5.8 percent to 8.4 percent); Columbus, GA (up from 10.9 percent to 13.5 percent) and Dayton, OH (up from 10 percent to 12.4 percent).

Home flips purchased with financing tick upward
Nationally, the percentage of flipped homes originally purchased by investors with financing increased in 2023 to 36.5 percent, up from 35.7 percent in 2022 and from 36.2 percent in 2021.

U.S. Home Flipping Financing Trends

Meanwhile, 63.5 percent of homes flipped in 2023 were originally bought with cash only, down from 64.3 percent in 2022 and from 63.8 percent two years earlier.

Among metropolitan areas with a population of 1 million or more and sufficient data to analyze, those with the highest percentage of flipped homes purchased by investors with financing in 2023 included San Diego, CA (56.4 percent); Seattle, WA (56.1 percent); Fresno, CA (52.2 percent); Providence, RI (49.2 percent) and Boston, MA (48.6 percent).

In that same group, the metro areas with the highest percentage of flips purchased with all cash included Detroit, MI (81.6 percent); Cleveland, OH (76.3 percent); Buffalo, NY (75.5 percent); Pittsburgh, PA (71.1 percent) and Birmingham, AL (70.2 percent).

Typical gross profits on home flips decline in nearly two-thirds of nation
Homes flipped in 2023 were sold for a median price nationwide of $306,000, generating a gross flipping profit of $66,000 above the median original purchase price paid by investors of $240,000. That national gross-profit figure was down from $70,100 in 2022 and from $75,000 in 2021, which was the highest level this century.

U.S. Home Flipping Gross Profits

Among the 56 metro areas in the U.S. with a population of 1 million or more, those with the largest gross flipping profits on median-priced transactions in 2023 were San Jose, CA ($275,250); San Francisco, CA ($170,000); Boston, MA ($158,000); New York, NY ($154,750) and San Diego, CA ($153,000).

The weakest gross flipping profits among metro areas with a population of at least 1 million in 2023 were in Austin, TX ($18,640 loss); San Antonio, TX ($12,289 profit); Dallas, TX ($14,817 profit); Houston, TX ($16,932 profit) and Phoenix, AZ ($25,000 profit).

Home flipping returns fall in two-thirds of metro-area markets
The profit margin on the typical home flips in the U.S. last year fell to 27.5 percent – the smallest investment return since 2007. The ROI on median-priced home flips nationwide has dropped 18 percentage points since 2020 and is off by 27 points since 2016.

Margins fell again last year as the median nationwide resale price on flipped homes went down 4.4 percent, from $320,000 in 2022 to $306,000 in 2023. That represented a slightly larger decrease than the 4 percent dip in the price investors had originally paid for properties they flipped ($249,900 in 2022 versus $240,000 in 2023).

Among metro areas with a population of 1 million or more, the biggest percentage-point decreases in profit margins during 2023 were in Pittsburgh, PA (ROI down from 149.8 percent in 2022 to 105.3 percent in 2023); Buffalo, NY (down from 125.2 percent to 87.4 percent); Oklahoma City, OK (down from 57.6 percent to 43.7 percent); Richmond, VA (down from 88.3 percent to 75.1 percent) and Austin, TX (down from a 9 percent profit to a 4.1 percent loss).

In that same group of markets with populations of at least 1 million, the largest increases in returns on investment for typical home flips came in Cincinnati, OH (ROI up from 40.5 percent in 2022 to 59.6 percent in 2023); Cleveland, OH (up from 39.5 percent to 54.7 percent in 2023); Honolulu, HI (up from 15.3 percent to 27 percent); Sacramento, CA (up from 9.5 percent to 19.6 percent) and Hartford, CT (up from 48.5 percent to 56.4 percent).

Among metro areas with a population of at least 1 million, the biggest gross profit margins in 2023 were in Pittsburgh, PA (105.3 percent); Buffalo, NY (87.4 percent); Baltimore, MD (75.5 percent); Richmond, VA (75.1 percent) and Philadelphia, PA (74.3 percent). The worst came in Austin TX (4.1 percent loss); Dallas, TX (4.4 percent profit); San Antonio, TX (5 percent profit); Salt Lake City, UT (6.2 percent profit) and Houston, TX (6.2 percent profit).

Average time to flip nationwide increases
Home flippers who sold homes in 2023 took an average of 169 days, or about 5 ½ months, to complete the flips. That was up from 165 days for homes flipped in 2022 and 158 days in 2021.

U.S. Average Days to Flip

FHA buyers purchase larger portion of flipped homes
Of the 308,922 U.S. homes flipped in 2023, 10.8 percent, or one of every nine, were sold to buyers using a loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). That was up from 8.3 percent in 2022, or one in 12, and from 8.1 percent in 2021.

Among the 212 metro areas with a population of at least 200,000 and at least 100 home flips in 2023, those with the highest percentage of flipped homes sold in 2023 to FHA buyers — typically first-time homebuyers — were Merced, CA (29.3 percent); Modesto, CA (25 percent); Visalia, CA (24.7 percent); Bakersfield, CA (24.6 percent) and Kennewick, WA (23.7 percent).

Nearly 200 counties had a home flipping rate of at least 10 percent in 2023
Among 866 counties with at least 50 home flips in 2023, there were 204 where flips accounted for at least 10 percent of all home sales last year. The top five were all in Georgia: Cobb County (Marietta) (22.4 percent); Bibb County (Macon) (18.6 percent); Douglas County (outside Atlanta) (18.4 percent); Houston County (Warner Robins) (18 percent) and Clayton County (outside Atlanta) (17.2 percent).
 
High-level takeaways from fourth-quarter 2023 data:

      • The 65,656 home flips in the fourth quarter of 2023 were completed by 52,701 investors, a ratio of 1.25 flips per investor.
      • The share of homes flipped in the fourth quarter of 2023 that were purchased by investors with financing represented 36.1 percent of all homes flipped in the quarter, down from 37.2 percent in the previous quarter but up from 34.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022. The share purchased with cash rose to 63.9 percent, up from 62.8 percent in the third quarter of 2023 but down from 65.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022.
      • The gross-flipping profit on median-priced home flips in the fourth quarter of 2023 was $65,000, down from $68,154 in the third quarter but up from $59,900 in the fourth quarter of 2022. The latest figure represented a typical 27.7 percent return on investment (percentage of original purchase price). That was down from 28.8 percent in the previous quarter but up from 24.4 percent in the same period of 2022.
      • The quarterly decrease in the ROI – common during that time period each year – followed gains in the second and third quarters of 2023.
      • Home flips completed in the fourth quarter of 2023 took an average of 156 days, down from 165 days in the fourth quarter of 2022.

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Report methodology
ATTOM analyzed sales deed data for this report. A single-family home or condo flip was any arms-length transaction that occurred in the quarter where a previous arms-length transaction on the same property had occurred within the last 12 months. The average gross flipping profit is the difference between the purchase price and the flipped price (not including rehab costs and other expenses incurred, which flipping veterans estimate typically run between 20 percent and 33 percent of a property’s after-repair value). Gross flipping return on investment was calculated by dividing the gross flipping profit by the first sale (purchase) price.

About ATTOM
ATTOM provides premium property data to power products that improve transparency, innovation, efficiency, and disruption in a data-driven economy. ATTOM multi-sources property tax, deed, mortgage, foreclosure, environmental risk, natural hazard, and neighborhood data for more than 155 million U.S. residential and commercial properties covering 99 percent of the nation’s population. A rigorous data management process involving more than 20 steps validates, standardizes, and enhances the real estate data collected by ATTOM, assigning each property record with a persistent, unique ID — the ATTOM ID. The 30TB ATTOM Data Warehouse fuels innovation in many industries including mortgage, real estate, insurance, marketing, government and more through flexible data delivery solutions that include ATTOM Cloudbulk file licensesproperty data APIsreal estate market trendsproperty navigator and more. Also, introducing our newest innovative solution, making property data more readily accessible and optimized for AI applications– AI-Ready Solutions.
 
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