Real estate investors appear to be back in full force, especially so in the single-family home market. According to recently released data* from real estate analytics firm RealtyTrac, 180,000 homes were flipped last year and made up 5.5 percent ofWanting to Flip all residential 1-4 unit sales. A flip is technically defined as a buy and sell within a 12 month period. In addition, the article said, flips aren’t an isolated event with flipping showing a year over year increase in 75 percent of the country.

There are several factors that seem to be having an impact and one of those is obviously consumer sentiment. Investors feel confident the homes they buy will soon be sold to a qualified buyer and those qualified buyers are feeling confident enough to make the commitment to obtain a long-term mortgage.

Another reason flips are on the rise is the continued availability of low-interest rates. As the economy continues to struggle investors are pouring money into Treasuries as well as mortgage bonds which is keeping a lid on interest rates. And speaking of mortgages, mortgage lenders have relaxed lending guidelines for investors lifting the cap on how soon a home can be sold after an initial sale. Overall, lenders have returned to a more traditional view of mortgage applications and using more “common sense” underwriting while still complying with lending standards.

Home prices have also been on the rise over the past year and unit sales are continuing to march along. Recent data for existing home sales showed there were 5.47M sales for the month of January and as we get closer to late Spring/Summer homes sales should continue their momentum especially if interest rates continue to remain near current levels. For investors who want to avoid stocks and aren’t that attracted to low-yielding bonds, real estate seems to be the answer.

*Diana Olick, March 3, 2016.