House flipping thriving in Chicago area, study says

As house flipping picks up steam throughout the nation, the Chicago area is in the top 20 percent of 126 U.S. metro areas for making money on fixer-uppers, according to a RealtyTrac analysis released Wednesday.

On average, flippers earned a return of 74.2 percent on the homes they bought and sold quickly in the Chicago area during the first quarter of this year. That compares with a national average of 47.8 percent measured by RealtyTrac.

Flippers look for cheap homes they can fix up and then sell for a large profit. Activity nationwide has increased 20 percent since the previous quarter. But it still lags by far the frenzy that preceded the housing bust, said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of RealtyTrac.

About 6.6 percent of homes sold in the nation during the first quarter of this year were sold to flippers. That’s 26 percent less than the flipping peak in the first quarter of 2006.