Lucas Machado makes his living flipping houses in South Florida. But that real estate market has gotten so flipping hot that he now feels like he's in a different line of work.
"It feels like I run a marketing company that does real estate deals," says Machado, president of House Heroes.
With intense competition from U.S. and foreign buyers alike, Machado's biggest concern these days is just finding properties he can acquire at decent prices. As for attracting families to actually buy the homes after his company has fixed them up? That's easy by comparison, he says.
Chalk it up to today's crunched real estate market. As demand for housing across the country rises — thanks to an improving economy and soaring rents that are forcing many families to consider buying instead — the appeal to flip a property for a profit intensifies. That rising demand coupled with the lack of available homes for sale means that prices are climbing through the roof.
This has forced flippers to broaden their search — geographically, but also in terms of the types of homes they're considering. The average flipped house, for instance, has never been smaller, measuring out to only 1,422 square feet, on average.
Nevertheless, there is money to be made. Gross profits for flipped properties was almost $63,000 in 2016, with a 49.2% gross return on investment, according to RealtyTrac.
To get a sense of the top places to flip a home among the country's largest metro areas, MONEY combined data from two separate surveys (from Trulia and RealtyTrac) that measured each market's home flipping rate — that is, flips as a percentage of total home sales.
We then took the 25 top markets and then ranked them by their average return on investment (based on 2016 data). Because ROI is a measure of profitability that factors in acquisition costs, this allowed us to judge pricey cities like Los Angeles against less-expensive markets such as Birmingham, Ala.
Click through the above slideshow to see what we came up with.