By Scot Meyer of SwitchYard Media
Before the housing market crashed, house-flipping was a sport that even amateurs could play. Investors would swoop in, buy a property or two, and watch as the buoyant forces of the market brought the price higher and higher.
These days, as real-estate prices fall and fall, and more homeowners face foreclosure, those fire-sale-priced foreclosure properties have created new, lucrative opportunities for flippers.
RealtyTrac, which tracks foreclosures, says 831,574 foreclosures or bank-owned properties sold in 2010. They sold at an average discount of more than 28% compared with properties not in foreclosure.
In some parts of the country, a significant percentage of those foreclosed homes sold again within 180 days, which meets RealtyTrac’s definition of flipping. The national average was 7.9% of foreclosure properties, RealtyTrac says.
Duval County, Fla.
Median value of owner-occupied homes*:$175,400
Jacksonville, Fla., Duval County’s county seat, is the largest city by land area in the continental United States. Thus, this northeast Florida city and its surrounding county have had their share of foreclosures: 3,635 in 2010, RealtyTrac says. Of those, 493 properties — 13.6% — were flipped.
Here’s an example of what you can find on the market: This 1,808-square-foot home has four bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. Described as having “a few things that need fixing,” it has an estimated market value of $113,417 and a list price of $75,000.
- Address: 7437 Cinnamon Lakes Drive, Jacksonville
- Size: Four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 1,808 square feet
- Lot size: Not available
- Built: 1992