Tampa Bay’s flipping frenzy may be coming to an end as rising home prices squeeze profits.In the first three months of this year, the number of flips plunged 13 percent compared to the same period a year ago, a new analysis by ATTOM Data Solutions shows.And while there’s still money to be made in flipping — flippers in Tampa’s 33603 ZIP code area saw a median profit of $120,000 — the returns on investment dropped in 65 percent of the bay area ZIPS included in the analysis.Nationally, gross returns slumped to a nearly third-year low. "The 2018 housing market is a double-edge sword for home flippers,’’ said Daren Blomquist, ATTOM’s senior vice president. While low inventory is driving up prices at the back end, "those same marketing realities are eroding flipping returns at the front end by forcing flippers to pay more to acquire homes to flip,’’ Blomquist said. EARLIER COVERAGE: Tampa Bay still a prime location for house flippers Flips are defined as a home that sells in an arm’s length transaction twice or more in a 12- month period. For the Tampa Bay area, ATTOM’s analysis looked only at those ZIP Code areas with at least 10 flips in the first part of this year — a total of 57. The flipping rate was highest in Pinellas County’s 33714 ZIP, the Lealman area north of St. Petersburg, where nearly 20 percent of all homes sold were flips. That was also an area where flippers could still pick up homes cheaply — the median purchase was $73,500, the third lowest in the bay area. In raw numbers, the most flips — 47 — were in Pasco County’s 34668 ZIP. It’s in the New Port Richey area, where flippers also were able to find homes at a median of just $74,000. Flippers in Hillsborough County’s 33617 ZIP, the area east of Busch Gardens, enjoyed the biggest increase in gross return on investment — up 99 percent compared to the first quarter of last year. ZIPs 33763 in Clearwater and 33709 in the Kenneth City area near St. Petersburg also saw jumps of more than 75 percent. (Gross returns do not include often substantial renovation and carrying costs.)MORE: Go here for more Business News By far the biggest drop in gross returns was in Seffner’s 33584 ZIP where they plunged 78 percent. The second-biggest decline, 68 percent, was in the 33607 ZIP, which includes parts of the West Shore area and West Tampa. Other Tampa Bay flipping facts:• Flippers paid the most for homes in Zephyrhills’ 33543 ZIP, a median of $215,200. They paid the least in Holiday’s 34690 ZIP ($61,000) and Ybor City’s 33605 ZIP ($61,125)• Flippers sold for the highest prices in South Tampa’s 33611 ZIP, where flips brought a median of $302,500. Other areas with high flip prices were Valrico’s 33596 ($297,450), Tampa’s 33618 ($259,00), Zephyrhills’ 33543 ($254,500) and Tampa’s 33603, the area between booming Seminole Heights and Tampa Heights ($250,000).• Homes took the longest time to flip — 239 days — in New Tampa’s 33647 ZIP. They took the shortest time to flip — 132 days — in Tampa’s 33607 and Seffner’s 33584.Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.