Average home buyers hurt by Tampa "flipping"

Posted at 5:14 PM, Mar 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-03 17:14:52-05
Tampa is one of two areas in Florida leading the country in the rate of homes "flipped," according to a study newly published by RealtyTrac.
Home-flipping is when someone buys a home, fixes it up, and then sells it within a year.
4,561 homes were were flipped last year, according to RealtyTrac, making up a little over 9 percent of the homes purchased in the Tampa Bay Area.
That 9 percent rate was similar to the rate in the Daytona Beach area, and just behind only three other U.S. cities: Memphis, Tennessee; Fresno, California; and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Realtors say the local house-flipping business is so competitive in the Tampa Bay Area, it's also hurting the average home-buyer.
"From a consumer standpoint if you're trying to buy a house it makes it a little more difficult because you have somebody with large amounts of cash competing with you," explains local realtor and investor Al Coton. "It's very difficult to get a client to understand, 'hey you're not going to buy this house at asking price, you're gonna have to pay more because its a nice home," adds Coton to ABC Action News.
Coton says he finds himself either competing with regular home-buyers, or looking for houses that aren't typical "flips" like newer homes or homes further from metropolitan areas.
"The market is getting so competitive now as investors we're looking at houses at retail value as well to maybe try to hold onto them rent them and sell them later," says Coton.
Tampa Bay Area was among the hardest-hit areas by the housing bubble burst, and the foreclosures created a lot of inventory, but that market is starting to dry up.
"That along with the weather and all the other things that draw people into the area we have tons of people moving into Florida again," says Coton.
Nationally, about 5.5% of home sales were flips in 2015.