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Home appraisal’s ugly history and uncertain future

This is Part I of a deep dive into the home appraisal industry. Today we explore the origins of the appraisal industry and its current lack of diversity.

The digital journey starts at acquisition

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Real Estate

The nation’s hottest home-flipping market might surprise you

Midwestern city beats Miami and Las Vegas

When you think of the nation’s hottest markets for real estate investing, cities like Miami or Las Vegas probably come to mind.

You might not think of St. Louis, Missouri, the Midwestern city best-known for baseball and beer. But a ranking on Monday from economists at put it as the No. 1 metro area in the nation for home flipping.

Almost one in every five homes sold in St. Louis is purchased by companies or people who renovate and resell within a year, said in a report.

The median home price is $189,900 in St. Louis, and most of the flipping is happening in the segment of the market priced over $175,000, Dennis Norman of MORE Realtors told Homes priced $125,000 and under typically are being turned into rentals, says Norman.

Two decades ago, St. Louis real estate investors were all local, Norman said. Now, “we have a lot of investors from California, from Colorado, and even international investors,” he said.

Nationally, real estate investors purchased 7.7% of all homes in the second quarter, the highest share since 2013, said.

“The return remains attractive,” says George Ratiu, senior economist of The typical difference between purchase and sales price for flips was $62,700 in the second quarter, which didn’t include the cost of fixing up the property, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. That translates to profits between 20% and 33% of the home’s value after repairs, said.

No. 2 on’s list of the top home-flipping markets might also be a surprise: Birmingham, Alabama, where 17.3% of home sales went to investors. Miami was No. 3, at 17%, followed by Tampa, Florida, at 16.2%, Memphis, Tennessee, at 16.1%, Las Vegas, at 15.7%, and Phoenix at 15.1%.

In the No. 8 and No. 9 slots were: Orlando, Florida, at 15.1%, Columbus, Ohio, at 13.8%, said.

Philadelphia was No. 10, at 13.6%.

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