MarketWatch: Million-Dollar Homes Flipping Like Hamburgers

Friday, 18 Oct 2013 01:47 PM

By Michelle Smith

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Flipping houses was a hot business that cooled off as the financial crisis took hold. Now, it's making a comeback, most notably among million-dollar houses.

Flippers buy, fix and quickly resell property. For the most part, the business went bust with the housing market. But the appearance of a housing recovery has brought a new flipping frenzy.

Flips among single-family homes fell during the third quarter, according to data from RealtyTrac. But at the higher end of the market, MarketWatch says, “homes seem to flip as quickly as a griddle full of hamburgers.”

Editor’s Note:
Obama Donor Banned This Message (Shocking)

Flipping increased 34 percent among homes worth $750,000 and over. Deals rose 42 percent among houses in the $1 million to $2 million range, and a staggering 350 percent increase was reported for properties ranging from $2 million to $5 million.

According to DataQuick, a firm that compiles property data, million-dollar home sales rose 37 percent in the first half of the year, reaching a level unseen since 2007.

“Flipping happens when prices are rising rapidly even if price levels are low,” Jed Kolko, chief economist for real-estate firm Trulia, told MarketWatch.

The Los Angeles Times says even celebrities are getting caught up in the million-dollar real estate frenzy.

Actors Jeremy Renner and Kristoffer Winters have roughly two dozen house flips under their belts, including an estate in Holmby Hills that sold for $24 million, the Times reported.

Brad Blumenthal, who starred in “Pulp Fiction," has 16 sales on his home-flipping resume, which dates back to the 1990s. This year he and co-investor Leo Hauser had a contemporary compound in Hollywood Hills West on the market for $28.8 million and expressed confidence about the outcome of the investment.

“I've never come close to losing money on a house,” Blumenthal told the Times. “I don't get involved unless it's a no-brainer.”

Generally, to qualify as a flip, a property must be purchased and resold within six months. In the luxury niche, however, home flips typically require at least a year to complete, Jan Brzeski of Arixa Capital Advisors told the Times.

Arixa provides funding for homes in prime locations being renovated for resale. Brzeski confirms that those with the patience can reap hearty rewards. Flippers on Arixa's client list reportedly average profits ranging from 12 percent to 20 percent.

"Rising home prices and falling foreclosures are dousing the market for middle- to low-end bread-and-butter flips,” Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, tells MarketWatch.

However, many are optimistic about the outlook for flippers with the money to play in the million-dollar market.

With the right neighborhood and property, and, ideally, a view, it’s possible to double the value of a home, San Francisco-based Realtor Jeff Salgado tells MarketWatch.

He says investors can buy a dilapidated $1.2 million home, make $600,000 in improvements, and sell it for $2.4 million.

“Our buying community is driven by the biotech and high-tech sectors,” he explained. “These people are brilliant at what they do, but a good portion of them don’t know the difference between a screwdriver and a hammer.”

Editor’s Note:
Obama Donor Banned This Message (Shocking)

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