Admit it: You’re an HGTV addict. Like those of us who’ve seen every episode of “Flip or Flop” — twice — you’re eager to gut your first house and turn a six-figure profit. 

Not so fast there, El Moussa couple wannabe! Before you demo that pink-tiled ’80s kitchen, you need a stern reality check from the Property Brothers. Any experienced home flipper would caution you that transforming a real-estate beast into a bankable beauty is never as easy as it looks on TV. 

In other words, don’t get your hands dirty until you’ve learned a thing or two about real estate, construction and how much damage your project could do to your wallet — and to the beam that’s keeping the roof from collapsing. Just because that dilapidated Victorian treasure only cost you the price of a new Prius doesn’t mean you’ll easily earn back your investment and pocket another $55,000 — the average gross flipping profit in 2015. While home flipping enjoys its highest rate since 2007, according to RealtyTrac, homeownership is near a half-century low, which means fewer potential buyers off the bat.

So choose the right market to list your masterpiece. At least there we can help. WalletHub’s number crunchers compared the 150 largest cities based on 19 key metrics to assist with finding the best markets for home flipping. Our metrics range from “median purchase price” to “average full home remodeling costs” to “housing-market health index.” Scroll down for the winners, expert advice and the full description of our methodology.

 

Ask the Experts

Flipping houses can be a tricky business, especially for novices. For insight on the house-flipping market and advice on choosing a good candidate property as well as financing, we asked a panel of housing and real-estate experts to weigh in. Panelists’ profiles offer bios and thoughts on the following key questions:

  1. What are the most common mistakes people make when trying to flip a house?
  2. What is the best way to finance a flip? Should people try to go all cash or borrow?
  3. What type of people is typically well suited to house flipping?
  4. What factors — financial and otherwise — should go into the decision of whether a house is a good candidate to be flipped?
  5. Is house flipping a contributing factor to the overheating of some real-estate markets? Should this type of business be more regulated?

 

 

Methodology

In order to identify the best and worst cities to flip homes, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 150 most populated cities across three key dimensions: 1) House-Flipping Market Potential, 2) Renovating & Remodeling Costs, and 3) Quality of Life.

We evaluated these categories using 19 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a scale from 0 to 100, with 100 representing the most favorable conditions for house flipping.

We then calculated overall scores for each city using the weighted average across all metrics, which we then used to construct our overall rankings.

With regard to our sample, please note that “city” refers to city proper and excludes surrounding metro areas.

House-Flipping Market Potential – Total Points: 35

  • Average Gross Return on Investment (ROI): Triple Weight (~11.67 Points)
  • Median Purchase Price: Full Weight (~3.89 Points)
  • Percentage of Home Flips: Full Weight (~3.89 Points)
  • Home Turnover Rate (2015 vs. 2014): Full Weight (~3.89 Points)
    Note: This metric specifically measures the percentage of all homes sold in one year.
  • Housing-Market Health Index: Full Weight (~3.89 Points)
  • Average Sale-to-List Price Ratio: Full Weight (~3.89 Points)
  • Number of Real-Estate Agents per Capita: Full Weight (~3.89 Points)

Renovation & Remodeling Costs – Total Points: 35

  • Average Kitchen Remodeling Costs: Full Weight (~8.75 Points)
  • Average Bathroom Remodeling Costs: Full Weight (~8.75 Points)
  • Average Full Home Remodeling Costs: Full Weight (~8.75 Points)
  • Average Construction-Worker Salary: Full Weight (~8.75 Points)
    Note: “Construction Worker” includes plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc.

Quality of Life – Total Points: 30

  • Crime Rate: Full Weight (~3.75 Points)
  • GreatSchools City Score: Full Weight (~3.75 Points)
  • Percentage of Population with Walkable Park Access: Full Weight (~3.75 Points)
  • WalletHub “Best Cites for Families” Ranking: Full Weight (~3.75 Points)
  • Annual Job-Growth Rate: Full Weight (~3.75 Points)
  • Unemployment Rate: Full Weight (~3.75 Points)
  • Median Salary (Adjusted for Cost of Living): Full Weight (~3.75 Points)
  • WalletHub “Fastest Growing Economies” Ranking: Full Weight (~3.75 Points)

 

Source: 2016's Best Cities to Flip Houses, Richie Bernardo, wallethub.com