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  1. Business

Tampa Bay had nation's fourth highest flipping rate in 2018

House flipping has slowed in Tampa Bay but still makes up a significant part of home sales. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times]

House flipping has waned a bit in the Tampa Bay area but still accounts for a significant percentage of all home sales.

Last year, 8.2 percent of bay area home sales were flips, down 8 percent from 2017. But that was still above the national rate and fourth highest among the top 53 metro areas analyzed by the property tracker ATTOM Data Solutions.

"With mortgage rates remaining strong and people staying in their homes longer, we have started to see a bit of a flipping rate slowdown,'' Todd Teta, ATTOM's chief product officer, said in a news release. "However, this isn't to say flipping is going away. The market is still ripe with investors flipping and bargains still await, especially in the lowest-priced areas of the country where levels of financial distress remain the highest.''

In 2018, the bay area had a total of 12,480 flips, with a flip defined as a home sold in an arm's length transaction at least twice in a 12-month period. Investors bought homes for a median price of $124,000 and flipped them for $180,000. That amounted to a 45 percent gross return on investment, down 18 percent from a year earlier. (Gross return does not include often considerable renovation and carrying costs.)

Flipping in Tampa Bay and many other parts of the country hit its peak in 2005, when even people with poor credit and modest incomes could get 100 percent financing. The housing crash wiped out many of those investors but the foreclosure crisis spurred a new wave of flipping as buyers with cash snapped up bank-owned homes whose values had plunged.

Cash remains king: Last year, investors paid cash for almost 75 percent of the bay area homes they flipped.

Nationally, flips accounted for 5.6 percent of all sales last year as the gross return on investment averaged about 45 percent, down from 2017. Memphis had the highest flipping rate followed by Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Birmingham, Ala.

Some other facts about 2018 flips in Tampa Bay:

• Median year of construction of a flipped house: 1989

• Median size of a flipped house: 1,340 square feet

• Average number of days between purchase and flip: 176

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.