RealtyTrac: Philly zip codes tops for hipster home flipping

Seven Philadelphia-area "hipster" zip codes - five in the city, and Ardmore and Upper Darby - are among the top 30 nationally for profitable home flipping, says RealtyTrac, the Irvine, Calif., foreclosure search engine.

RealtyTrac analyzed single-family homes and condos flipped (sold twice within a 12-month period) in 2015 in more than 15,000 zip codes nationwide and identified the top 30 so-called "hipster" zip codes for flipping.

Flips in most of these local zip codes account for relatively few of the total home sales in 2015 - 3.3 percent in Upper Darby to 12.9 percent in 19146, comprising Southwest Center City and Point Breeze.

But, said Kevin Gillen, chief economist for Meyers Research and senior research fellow at Drexel University's Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, "I count 1,000 sales out of a total of 6,000 in those five Philadelphia zips that transacted at least twice in the period 2014-15. That is well above the average for the city."

In the 19125 zip code, which includes ever-hipper Fishtown and Kensington, flipping accounted for 12.4 percent of 2015 sales.

"It is a great zip code for that," said Chris Somers of Re/Max Access in Northern Liberties, who has done several flips there, as have many of his clients.

"Construction in those neighborhoods is definitely a catalyst for successful flipping," Somers said.

What makes 19125, 19146, 19147, and 19148 - the last two include Pennsport, East Passyunk, Bella Vista, and others east of Broad Street - good for flipping? A large inventory of older housing stock in need of updating to hipster tastes, he said.

"You can still grab some assets at 'hipster' price points in 19146 close to the edge of Grays Ferry, and some smaller two-bedrooms in 19147," said Mickey Pascarella of Keller Williams Real Estate.

"In today's red-hot flipper market, 19148 and 19145 [south of Tasker Street and west of Broad Street] are better suited to the unshaven entry-level developer," he said.

Although 19120 - Olney - would appear to be out of the hipster universe - Carol McCann of Re/Max Millennium in Fox Chase said "there does seem to be an increase in flips" in the neighborhood, "mostly in upper Olney closer to Cheltenham Avenue."

RealtyTrac's inclusion of Ardmore (19003) and Upper Darby (19082), however, left Realtors baffled.

"Ardmore is a huge area," said John Duffy of Duffy Real Estate in Narberth, and "while they are trying to make it more hipster, if someone is able to buy a house to flip, the seller vastly underpriced it."

Tyler Wagner of Wagner Real Estate in Havertown said he wouldn't call Upper Darby 'hipster.' "

"I've heard about flipping in Lansdowne," Wagner said, but hasn't seen much in Upper Darby, where investors like himself buy homes for rentals.

215-854-2472 @alheavens

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