Home flipping finds solid ground, rebounds from recent slide

Home flippers enjoyed a bounce financially during the third quarter, ending several periods of sliding profits for those buying, renovating and selling homes.

The average California flipped home generated a $120,000 profit for sellers – a 20% return on their investment compared to 13% a year ago, according to ATTOM Data. The statewide dollar figure was better than the national average of $70,000 but smaller than the 30% return on investment. 

The home-flipping craze started to attract flippers several years ago, prompted by do-it-yourself shows on HGTV and DIY that boasted huge profits. But as home prices and mortgage rates increased in spring 2022, the profit margin for flipped homes narrowed. 

“The comeback for the home-flipping industry is looking more like a real trend than a temporary break in what had been a pretty bleak couple of years,” says ATTOM CEO Rob Barber. “For sure, investment returns still aren’t close to where they were a couple of years ago. The latest nationwide profit margin also remains barely within the spread that covers the usual holding costs on flips, with wide variations around the country. Nevertheless, home flippers continue to head back in the right direction.”

BAKERSFIELD BEATS SLO

Indeed, ATTOM’s profit data is based on the purchase vs. the sale price of homes and does not include construction costs, insurance or interest related to the property. ATTOM defines a flipped house as one bought and sold within a year.

Profits ranged from a nation-leading $351,000 in San Jose to less than $33,000 in San Luis Obispo County (check table, below). 

Profit margins – the best way to determine whether a flipped home was worth the effort compared to other opportunities – ranged from 43% in Bakersfield to a paltry 4% in San Luis Obispo County, the only county where the percentage gain tumbled from a year ago in the state.

Nationwide, Warren County in Tennesee enjoyed the largest percentage return at more than 400%. Maryland’s 68% home flipping profit margin was the best in the U.S.

Flipped home profits and profit margins during Q3 2023

CityProfitQ3 profit margin Profit margin a year ago
California$120,00020%13%
Bakersfield$90,25043%39%
Fresno$90,00036%32%
Los Angeles$107,15114%11%
Orange$206,81322%11%
Riverside$87,75018%15%
Sacramento$110,00031%10%
San Diego$189,00027%16%
San Francisco$382,44335%9%
San Jose$351,00030%13%
San Luis Obispo$32,5004%8%
Stockton$98,50032%22%

Source: ATTOM Data

More Los Angeles-area residents are checking out homes outside the region than those in the Bay Area, a first for the Redfin inflow-outflow report. ADOBE STOCK

Escape from LA edges out those willing to leave their homes in San Francisco

As the Covid peak fades away in the rearview mirror and fewer employers can work from home, the number of consumers looking to leave their cities has dropped to an 18-month low.

About one of every four consumers clicking on homes is looking outside their current hometown, from Manhattan to Manhattan Beach, according to Redfin. 

Affordability, thanks to higher mortgage rates and still-near-record home prices, has closed the door on buying – and maybe even dashed the dream of online house shopping in California.

Only about one of every seven (15%) of households could afford to buy the median-priced home in California during the third quarter, the lowest level in 16 years, according to the California Association of Realtors. And, in some regions, the figure is near 10%.

That dismal figure – and the financial reality of needing to earn at least $200,000 to buy the median-priced home in the state – may be enticing some consumers to look outside their cities or even (gulp) leave the state, according to Redfin.

SACRAMENTO AGAIN THE TOP REGION SEARCHED BY OUT-OF-TOWNERS

For example, the Sacramento area commands the top spot of inflow data nationwide, with 5,100 more consumers looking to come to the capital region than those planning to leave in November. But the figure is almost 2,000 less than a year ago.

The Bay Area boasts the most likely out-of-the-area consumers considering the Sacramento region. The four-county capital region is more affordable, with an annual income of $142,000 needed to buy a home, compared to $400,000-plus in San Francisco.

Sacramento remains the top destination for Bay Area households looking to leave. ADOBE STOCK

Of course, Bay Area homeowners, especially those with a bucket of equity, and renters are always looking for a hefty payday in exchange for lower-priced housing options. The Bay Area has dominated the largest number of let’s-get-out-of-here online home searches during the past two years.

Until now. 

Redfin data has determined there are more disgruntled Los Angeles-area residents than the Bay Area. About 26,000 households were looking to leave Los Angeles in November, slightly more than the 25,400 in the San Francisco-San Jose region.

And many of those folks in Los Angeles were looking at Las Vegas – and leaving the state, a concern for a state facing a record budget shortfall.

Iconic General Hospital to become hundreds of homes

One of the best-known hospitals in the nation – based on daytime soap viewers – and a longtime landmark in Southern California will become housing and health care facilities.

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved converting the iconic-but-closed LA County General Hospital in Boyle Heights to 800 to 1,000 housing units, with at least 30% reserved for affordable housing for low-income residents. However, some community members and neighbors would like more affordable housing as part of the project.

Centennial Partners, a partnership between Primestor and Bayspring Development, was selected for the high-profile project by supervisors. A hotel, medical offices and laboratories, and retail space are also part of the 25-acre project. More than 50 developers submitted proposals. 

The Art Deco building opened in December 1933 but closed about two decades ago. Much of the 1.2 million-square-foot building was damaged after the Northridge earthquake in 1994.

A new hospital, Los Angeles County and USC Medical Center, opened in 2008. That hospital was recently renamed Los Angeles General Hospital.
The original LA County General Hospital was featured in the opening of General Hospital, an ABC daytime soap opera that has been on the air for more than 60 years. Another interesting note: actress Marilyn Monroe was born at General Hospital.

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