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Aaron Impens has been flipping houses in Lincoln for more than a decade, and it's been at least that long since he's seen the market as busy as it is now.

"It's amazing the amount of people that are doing it," said Impens, who flips houses in both Lincoln and Omaha.

He said his company, ATI Properties, hosts monthly investor seminars that recently have been attracting 60 people or more, about half of whom are novice flippers.

The Lincoln market has been one of the most active in the country, at least in terms of how much flipping activity has increased over the past year.

According to a report released Thursday by Attom Data Solutions, there were 79 homes flipped in the Lincoln area in the first quarter, 62 percent more than in the first quarter of 2017.

Of the 136 metro areas Attom examined, only Baton Rouge, Louisiana, saw more growth in house flipping over the past year than Lincoln.

Lincoln's rapid growth comes as home flipping is slowing down nationally. The Attom report said overall flipping fell 3 percent to a two-year low in the first quarter.

Lincoln's rapid increase in prices is likely playing a role in the interest in flipping. The median price of an existing home was up 15 percent in the first quarter compared with a year ago, according to the Realtors Association of Lincoln.

"Everybody gets the craze when you see good houses selling for good prices," Impens said.

The high prices are a double-edge sword, however, said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at Attom Data Solutions.

“Rapidly rising home prices boosted by low available inventory of homes for sale or for rent are padding profits at the back end when flippers sell, but those same market realities are eroding flipping returns at the front end by forcing flippers to pay more to acquire homes to flip," Blomquist said in a news release.

That's not stopping people in Lincoln. According to the report, nearly one out of every 11 homes sold in Lincoln in the first quarter was a flip. That compared with about one in 15 nationally.

The report also said the average gross flipping profit was $60,000 in Lincoln, although Impens said that's way too high.

"I'd say a good average is 20 to 25 grand," he said.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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