The 10 Best Cities in the U.S. for House Flipping
Where you choose to flip a house is as important as the house itself. Here are some of the top cities to consider.
This article is part of Bob Vila’s Guide to House Flipping in 2022, a month-long series dedicated to showing you the best places for house flipping, crucial steps for selecting a property, must-do upgrades and repairs, and surprising ways to reduce your costs to get the most from your house flipping sales. Each week, we’ll bring you fresh insights mixed with Bob’s tried-and-true advice, our vetted shopping guides, and the inside track to the right professionals to get your flip to the finish line.
The idea of flipping a house—and making a tidy profit—appeals to many, but before taking the leap, it pays to research the market. Some communities are much better for house-flipping than others. The general rule for a successful flip is to purchase a cheap house in need of repairs in a place where the local economy is strong, the population is growing, the real estate market is stable, and there is a demand for homes. Other important considerations include average household income, the going cost of remodeling, and homeownership rates.
Many communities offer good opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to buy distressed homes, fix them up, and sell them at a profit. Things can change on a dime, however, so don’t quit your day job until you start seeing repeated success. Right now, the following 10 locations are among the best cities for flipping houses, and someone stands to make some serious money.
1. Scranton-Wilkes-Barre-Hazelton, Pennsylvania
As long as an investor adheres to good house-flipping practices, turning a profit in the Scranton Area of Pennsylvania should be easy. According to financial and investment guru, The Motley Fool, the house-flipping market in this state’s northern region is hot, hot, HOT! In the first quarter of 2022, flippers realized a 115-percent return on their investment (ROI) when they sold a flip house, making Scranton and the surrounding metropolitan area a top house-flipping pick.
2. Kingsport-Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia
Located in the border region of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, Kingsport and Bristol are bustling communities that offer house flippers an average of 114 percent ROI for their efforts, according to The Fool. Here, house flippers will find various post-modern and historic homes in need of repairs that can be fixed and sold for a healthy profit. With that kind of return on investment, lenders will likely be interested in making loans for fix-and-flip properties.
3. Reading, Pennsylvania
The fourth-largest city in the state, Reading, Pennsylvania, offers its citizens a range of arts and educational opportunities. It’s conveniently located at the edge of the Nolde Forest, which offers pristine recreational trails and streams, and it’s currently a hot spot for flipping houses. The average flip house nets its investor a whopping 108 percent ROI, making Reading a lucrative area for buying, fixing, and reselling properties.
4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is on fire in our lineup of the best cities for flipping houses. When turning a flip house here, investors can realize an average of 105 percent ROI. Pittsburgh is home to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the city boasts architecturally stunning bridges. With a low cost of living, good schools, and a growing population, Pittsburgh has all the factors that give it good house-flipping potential.
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5. Seattle, Washington
With a higher-than-average income, no local income tax, and an enviously low unemployment rate, Seattle, Washington, is an attractive place to live. This popular western community is also a top spot for house flippers, according to Fortune Builders. The real estate market is hot, and the only downside may be finding that perfect fixer-upper to flip. But, if you can find it, you can make a nice profit.
6. Phoenix, Arizona
Flippers in the Phoenix, Arizona, housing market may shell out more money per fixer-upper than in other parts of the country because the median listing price for a home is over $480,000. Still, Fortune Builders ranks the community as being a good risk for real estate investors due to its growing population and very low unemployment rate. Phoenix has long been known as an oasis in the desert, and its relaxed southwestern lifestyle draws residents from around the country.
7. Charlotte, North Carolina
For investors with a sharp eye, Charlotte, North Carolina, is currently a top spot for flipping a house—and not just for the textbook employment and economic reasons. Charlotte boasts a stable economy, but Fortune Builders explains that it also offers flippers increased odds of selling at a profit due to other investors in this city holding and renting their houses after purchase. That opens up the market for flippers to have a willing pool of buyers at the ready.
8. Tampa, Florida
The real estate market is hot right now in Tampa, Florida, with the average house spending just seven days on the market before selling. Combine that with an ever-increasing population and a low unemployment rate, and this Gulf Coast city becomes a lucrative spot for house flipping. As with any top site for real estate, however, the investor must choose the right house and follow savvy house-flipping policies.
9. San Antonio, Texas
Sunbelt communities figure prominently among the best cities for house flipping, and San Antonio, Texas, is right up there with the best, according to real estate guru Zillow. Mid-sized metro areas like San Antonio benefitted from an influx of buyers moving from larger cities during the pandemic and staying because they could work remotely. As a result, the housing market saw a jump, and house flippers are well-positioned to make a profit by turning the right house.
10. Detroit, Michigan
The Motor City has had its share of economic woes in the past couple of decades, but that’s led to an exciting development—it’s chock-full of potential fixer-uppers, according to Storage Café. House flippers who want to get in on the ground floor in a community might consider Detroit, where the job market has been steadily increasing. Flippers will have plenty of options to choose from, as 22 percent of the houses on the market are in need of repairs.