A combination of rising home prices and a stronger labor market have helped push home-flipping numbers to their highest levels in a decade. Approximately 6.1 percent of all home sales in 2016 qualified as a "flip," defined as the purchase of a house at a market rate and the subsequent sale of the same property at a higher price due to improvements or short-term pricing gains. That figure marked a near percentage-point increase over the 5.3 percent rate recorded in 2015.
Trulia's data indicates that flipping saw particular gains in markets hard-hit by the past decade's housing downturn as well as in distressed cities where home values are far below national averages. For example, Las Vegas — among the markets stung by the foreclosure crisis that unfolded alongside the recession — saw 10.5 percent of all home sales qualify as flips. Close behind were Florida's Daytona Beach area (9 percent of all sales) and Tampa (8.4 percent), which also saw prices plummet.
Much of the flipping activity recorded in 2016 appears to stem from a near-nationwide jump in home prices. Trulia's research indicates that average home prices increased in all but one — Hartford, Connecticut — of the 100 U.S. metros analyzed in its flipping report. Some 44 of those housing markets saw percentage gains of at least 5 percent during the 12-month span analyzed.
Trulia said 2016's flip ratio was the highest on record since 2006, when home prices reached peak levels in many U.S. metros and when 7.3 percent of all sales qualified as flips.
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