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House flippers ‘unaffected’ by pandemic, face uncertainty

August 1, 2020 GMT
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A construction crew working for Anton Downing, right, and his twin brother Anthony work on a bedroom of an apartment building that they are currently rehabbing in the south side, in Chicago, Saturday July 11, 2020. Chicago-area residents who have made a career out of flipping foreclosed or decrepit houses for a profit say the coronavirus pandemic that’s hurt many businesses hasn’t had much impact so far on house flipping. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune via AP)
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A construction crew working for Anton Downing, right, and his twin brother Anthony work on a bedroom of an apartment building that they are currently rehabbing in the south side, in Chicago, Saturday July 11, 2020. Chicago-area residents who have made a career out of flipping foreclosed or decrepit houses for a profit say the coronavirus pandemic that’s hurt many businesses hasn’t had much impact so far on house flipping. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune via AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago-area residents who have made careers out of flipping foreclosed or decrepit homes for profit say the coronavirus pandemic that’s hurt many businesses hasn’t had much impact, so far, on house flipping.

Andy Goldman, whose family has been flipping houses since the 1980s, said his business “has been surprisingly unaffected” by the pandemic.

“The future is just so hard to predict,” Goldman said. “It’s just up to seeing what the economy’s going to look like, you know?”

The coming months will show the full impact on the market through 2020 and beyond, according to Todd Teta, chief product officer at the real estate research firm ATTOM Data Solutions.

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A June report by ATTOM shows that that 7.5% of the houses sold in the U.S. in the first three months of 2020 were flipped houses. That figure is the highest rate since 2006 and a spike from the end of last year.

But Teta explains that it’s still too early to fully understand the pandemic’s impact on the market.

“Profits are down and are lower than they’ve been since the dark days following the Great Recession,” Teta told the Chicago Tribune. “Enter now the coronavirus pandemic, and the prospects for house flipping are notably uncertain, at least in the short term.”

Ryan Muehling, a managing real estate broker at The Porter Group, said the pandemic has slowed down condo renovations because entry was curtailed to limit potential exposure to the virus.

“The pandemic really disrupted our spring market, especially in the downtown area where we work in larger buildings,” Muehling said.

Meanwhile, Chicago house flippers Anton and Anthony Downing shared Goldman’s sentiments, saying they have done well this year even during the pandemic.

“We’ve definitely been doing consultations,” Anthony Downing said. “We’ve been on-site for plenty of renovations.”

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