Are Home Flippers Get Burned by US Housing Market’s Sudden Slump?

After an abrupt end to the US housing boom, home flippers who were winning big just months ago are now racing to stem losses.

Since January, the doubling of mortgage rates has crushed buyer demand and depressed values in investors’ most favored locations, from Phoenix and Las Vegas to Jacksonville, Florida. It’s a swift turnabout for flippers such as those stuck with homes to sell and loans to pay.

Investors say, “It’s a high-risk, high-reward business — and now we’re facing the high risk, and I’m just praying for break even.”

Flippers with loans must repay them, and rising interest rates make carrying costs even more significant. Their troubles can reverberate across the market: Just as investors bid prices higher on the way up, they can accelerate the move downward.

For most fix and flippers, the focus will be on selling, and the faster, the better. A small number will keep buying even though finding truly undervalued homes is near impossible and a guessing game of how far the market will drop.

Home-flipping activity reached a record at the start of the year, making up one in 10 transactions, surpassing the levels in the last bubble, according to Attom, an Irvine, California-based data provider, which tracked sales of properties that previously sold within the last 12 months. While the share remains elevated, it fell to 8.2% in the second quarter of 2023.
Conditions have deteriorated more since then, with mortgage rates near the highest level in 20 years. Demand has cooled particularly fast in Sun Belt markets such as Phoenix, Jacksonville, and Atlanta, pandemic boom areas where affordability has been strained. Fix and Flippers made up about 14% of transactions in those regions in the second quarter, but those shares sank in July and August, according to more recent monthly data provided by Attom.
Phoenix property investors have had to slash prices after the slowdown caught investors. A lot of investors are getting hammered.
Losses will grow, but even thin margins are a big problem when you’re a full-time flipper.
We have hard-money loans with 10% to 14% interest rates. It’s a constant dance — do I wait it out, or does the price drop? Both cost money.

For the most part, investors are paying back their loans, said Matt Prosory RI/Broker at Level 4 Funding, a hard-money lender in Phoenix, Colorado, and Texas. The default rate was 1.25%, which has climbed to 2.5% in the past two months. But it remains below pre-pandemic norms.

Matt said fix and flippers with nicely renovated turn-key properties will stand out in this market. But it will be painful for those who overpaid, counting on rapid appreciation to make them money, he said.
“Lots of them, in hindsight, were making bad buys. Anybody fix and flipping right now must look closely at the property pricing: Price it to sell. Today is not the time to get greedy.
Phoenix flippers are trying to put things in perspective. Flippers have purchased much more over the last two years than they will likely lose. Fix and Flippers are giving back the money they made.
I ask my flippers if flipping is dead or at least dying. Here in the Phoenix, Arizona, metro area, I have watched the margin on deals become slimmer and slimmer. During the past few years, television shows and seminars have flooded the flipping market with people who believe flipping homes is an easy way to riches. Trustee auction prices are near MLS prices (retail), and I cannot believe what people are paying.
I recommend that flippers take an extended vacation and return later to see how the market is going.
NCO Enterprises LLC
Dba Setabay Private Hard Money
26731 N 90th Drive
Peoria AZ 85383
Telephone: 623-582-4444
NMLS 2062278 NMLS 1118493
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