Tampa Bay now ranks third in the nation in house flipping

Article From: http://www.tampabay.com/

By Susan Taylor Martin, Times Senior Correspondent

In the Tampa Bay area, there’s a whole lot of flippin’ going on. One out of every 10 homes sold in the second quarter of this year was a flip, RealtyTrac reported today. That’s 13 percent more than a year earlier and enough to rank Tampa Bay third-highest nationally in flips — defined as any property bought and resold in an arms-length transaction in a 12-month period.

“There are loads and loads of (flippers) out there,” said Bruce Harris, a broker associate in St. Petersburg. “Most of them buy houses that Mr. Joe America can’t unless he has the cash.”

According to RealtyTrac, 80 percent of all bay area flips were cash purchases. Flippers paid a median of $92,800 and sold for $150,000 — a gross profit of $57,200. That doesn’t include repairs, improvements and carrying costs, which can considerably reduce the true profit.

Tampa’s trendy Seminole Heights showed the biggest gross return on investment for flippers — 149 percent. Other profitable areas include north Tampa, Temple Terrace, Zephyrhills, Dover, Plant City, the Lealman-Kenneth City section of Pinellas County and the ZIP code that includes St. Petersburg’s Crescent Lake, Snell Isle and Old Northeast neighborhoods.

Only Memphis and California’s Porterville area had a bigger percentage of flips than Tampa Bay as flips nationally surged to their highest level in six years.

Kathy Bombard and her husband, who own Bombard Builders, have been flipping homes since 1993. She remembers the bay area’s flipping frenzy of 2005-06.

“Prices started going up and that’s when people started jumping on board — the flippers were thinking it was a very lucrative market,” she said. “I had a guy lecturing me that I should obtain more property. He had, like, eight (houses). But we have moved slow and steady and are doing just fine.”

Among their more recent flips, the Bombards bought a three-bedroom, two-bath home in St. Petersburg’s Tyrone area for $120,000 in November 2014. They added a room, did other remodeling and sold it in August 2015 for $218,000.

The same month, they paid $137,500 for a 1,029-square-foot house in Kendale Park, east of Tyrone. After remodeling, they sold that in February for $175,000.

Right now they are trying to sell a three-bedroom, two-bath house they bought for $126,000 in April in St. Petersburg’s Lake Pasadena area. Although it has “lots of new updates,” including stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops, they’ve reduced the price to $254,000 from $259,000.

“The problem with that is that it doesn’t have a garage,” Bombard said, quickly adding that there is room for one.

The couple can hold down costs on their flips because she is a real estate agent who lists the property and he does all the work except for the electrical, plumbing and roofing. But they look back wistfully on those days when St. Petersburg was not nearly as popular as it is now.

“It was easy to get houses, a lot easier,” Bombard said. “Now we’re paying more for the same type of property than we were three years ago.”

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.