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California tops the home-flip market

Zillow • Nov 18, 2013 at 5:37 PM

By S.E. Slack

Before you think about hopping on the home-flipping bandwagon, take a good look around town. Sure, there are some great deals to be had in Norwalk, Ohio. But for the highest return on your home-flipping adventures, head to the West Coast with your cash, hammer and tape measure. According to data provider RealtyTrac, eight of the top 10 home-flipping markets are scattered throughout California. The other two hot markets are in Seattle and New Jersey.

Despite declining 9 percent since the last quarter, Long Beach and nearby Los Angeles had the largest market of home flips in the country, with 2,116 turning over. Home prices are leveling off in Southern California, so if you’re going to make some fast cash flipping, you’ll need to get on the plane now. Nonetheless, the average flipped home sold for just under $514,000.

Tops in the state were located in the San Jose metro area. Not many homes are available to flip – the market is down about 40 percent from last year – but gross profits were astronomical at nearly three times the national average. If you’re lucky enough to snag a good flip here, you could end up pocketing around $165,000. The average flipped home sold for more than $700,000.

Once you’ve had your fill of flipping in California, head north to Washington to snag a few deals. Home values in Seattle have been rising since early 2012, according to Zillow. At the same time, home flips rose considerably, peaking at 711 in the second quarter of 2013 with an average gross profit of $97,002 per home. Activity is dropping, however, due to tight real estate market in the area.

Flipping homes isn’t for the faint of heart, of course. Numerous foul-ups can occur, putting even the most experienced flipper behind schedule. But if you have the will to make a lot of money by doing all your homework in the right markets and you’re willing to jump in to pound nails when needed, the flipping market out West might be the place for you.

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