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They're back: Return of the flippers (seriously)

July 17, 2008 |  7:15 am

41059594They're baaaaaack. Flippers. Flipping houses, again. This time flipping foreclosed houses in the Inland Empire. Pay attention, there will be a quiz at the end of this item.

From Peter Hong's story in this morning's L.A. Times: "Low prices are luring both first-time buyers and full-time real estate investors such as Kurtis and Cindy Squyres of La Quinta.

"The couple have been buying two to four houses a month, most of them foreclosures in the Coachella Valley and Inland Empire. They look for the cheapest properties they can find, aiming to buy and quickly resell for a modest profit of perhaps $10,000.

"'That's the new market,' Kurtis Squyres said of foreclosures, which made up 62% of all home sales in Riverside County last month. ... After buying a property, the couple try to unload it as soon as they can to investors they court on their website, Those buyers typically try to flip the homes for a quick profit too."

OK, here's your quiz. Median sales prices in the Inland Empire are falling rapidly -- down 31% over the past year in Riverside County, and 34% in San Bernardino. Rapidly falling prices make this ...

   a) A bad time to flip houses -- prices are falling and you risk getting stuck.
   b) A great time to flip houses -- prices are near bottom and now is the time to buy.

Posted by Peter Viles
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Photo credit: L.A. Times.