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House flipping is suddenly a hot market for America’s lenders

Christopher Maloney, Adam Tempkin and Shahien Nasiripour, Bloomberg News on

Published in Home and Consumer News

His optimism comes partly due to the company’s newfound ability to source cheaper funding, as it was recently acquired by Pacific Western Bank.

Before the deal, Civic’s cost of funds were around 5%, Tessar said, but now that it’s part of a bank it can rely on cheap deposits to fund new loans. The average U.S. bank paid 0.24% in interest for its funds last quarter, a record low, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. That gives Civic the opportunity to significantly increase its margins, Tessar said.

Wilmington, Delaware, has been eager to bring in builders and contractors that rehab houses to help encourage neighborhood renewal, according to John Rago, deputy chief of staff in the city mayor’s office.

City officials transferred ownership of vacant properties to a land bank that works with developers to fix and sell the houses, Rago said. In the last two years, the land bank has sold more than 100 properties.

Not everyone is hopeful about the future for flipping, though. With housing inventory so low, there aren’t necessarily a lot of opportunities for finding underpriced homes to fix up, said Curt Altig, CEO of Seattle-based lender Builders Capital. More flippers are chasing fewer transactions now, he said.

 

Flippers often focus on the lower end of the housing market. Almost 68% of all home flippings last year sold for $300,000 or less, according to data from Attom. The median price of an existing home sale at the end of December was $309,200.

These homes also tend to be on the smaller side, averaging around 1,450 square feet over the last five years. The median size of a single-family home in the U.S. is around 2,300 square feet.

Almost 60% of firms rehabbing homes fund themselves, according to Attom. Parties that get financing can usually only get loans equal to between 60% to about 75% of the assessed home value, leaving more cushion to protect the lender.

“The reality is people want to move into a house that is move-in ready,” Toorak’s Beacham said. “Most people are not handy with fixing things up.

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