House 'flipping' back in vogue in Sacramento

House flipping, the timeless buy-low, sell-high strategy, is back.

Thousands engaged in it during the real estate boom. Hundreds are trying it in the bust.

Property researcher MDA DataQuick tells Home Front it is seeing more houses sold within three weeks to six months of being purchased. Almost 5 percent of Sacramento County's December home sales fell into the "flipping" category.

Today's numbers rank right up there with the flipping rates of early 2005, just before the housing price bubble burst. At that time, 5.3 percent of Sacramento County sales were considered flips, says DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage. Often-amateur buyers simply bought houses and re-sold them as values rose 25 percent per year. Flipping is one of the factors that eventually spoiled the party and ruined those last arrivals.

By December 2007, with the market collapsing, only 1.7 percent of Sacramento County sales were flips.

But now at the bottom, investors have picked up the game with cheap bank repos. They add carpet, paint and countertops and resell for more, said LePage.

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