In the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, millions of amateur investors kept adding fuel to the overheating U.S. housing market by betting on quick profits in hotspots like Las Vegas or Miami. A decade later, house-flipping is making a comeback, but this time in some Rust Belt cities the last boom passed by.
Not only the scenery has changed. Today’s house-flippers – those buying properties and selling them within 12 months – are mainly contractors and professional renovators who buy run-down properties in promising neighborhoods and fix them up, boosting the resale value.
Today, old industrial cities such as Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Cleveland are among those offering the greatest returns. They have struggled to recover from the recession, but now are beginning to attract tech firms, such as Google-parent Alphabet Inc, Uber Technologies Inc, and Amazon.com Inc.
The influx of new workers is boosting demand for urban homes in areas that have some of the oldest housing stock in the nation and not much new construction, creating richer opportunities for flippers than in Las Vegas or Miami at the height of the housing boom more than a decade ago.