Flip-flop: Returns sink in Texas

While home flips in the state shot up in 2021, lone star flippers had some of the lowest returns in the country


Texas, whose biggest cities lead the nation in terms of home flipping, have a more dubious honor: people in that business have the lowest returns.

In cities with a population of more than 1 million, the rate rose by at at least 50 percent last year, jumping by more than 100 percent in Austin, according to a report from Attom Data Solutions.

On the flip side, gross profits in Houston dropped to 14 percent, or about $32,300, the lowest in the nation. In North Texas, gross profits fell to 16.1 percent, or $40,800. San Antonio had an average return of 17 percent, or $34,357.

That’s about half the national average of 31 percent, or about $65,000, still the lowest since 2008. Across the nation, flipping reached its highest volume since 2006, with numbers rising in 99 metro areas with populations of 1 million or more.

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The decline in overall profits represented a “rare crack in the foundation of the U.S. housing market, which otherwise boomed in 2021 both because of and in spite of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic,” the Attom report said.

Returns did jump in a number of California cities, as well as Seattle and Washington, D.C. They rose more than 90 percent in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Buffalo.

Flips as a portion of all home sales decreased from 2020 to 2021 in more than half of the metro areas analyzed in the report. The same goes for Texas, except for Austin, where two zip codes made it to the list of only 13 areas where flips accounted for at least 20 percent of all sales.

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