Big Banks Behind Growth in Home Flipping

Despite rising home prices, house flipping is still hot. And it’s the banks that are being credited as helping investors jump back in lately.

Banks are offering up greater financing vehicles for house flippers. Bank giants like Wells Fargo & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., for example, have extended credit lines to companies that specialize in lending to home flippers, The Wall Street Journal reports. J.P. Morgan reportedly is lending an estimated $60 million to 5 Arch Funding, a company that offers financing to home flippers in Irvine, Calif.

“The floodgates have opened,” Eduardo Axtle of Oakland, Calif., who has taken out about 50 home loans over the past five years.

In the first nine months of 2016, the number of investors who flipped a house reached the highest level since 2007. Further, about a third of the deals in the third quarter were financed.

Private lenders reportedly are even, in some cases, offering debt in excess of the value of the home (also known as a high loan-to-value ratio). Lenders reportedly also are loosening up their documentation rules. They may still require bank statements to get a loan but not a W-2 tax earnings statement. What’s more, home flippers are finding greater financing opportunities through online lenders, such as LendingHome Corp. and Asset Avenue Inc., or crowdfunding websites, such as Groundfloor Finance Inc.