Flipping Houses

The Top 30 U.S. “Hipster Hotspots” for Profitable Home Flips

Expertise: Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary
40 Articles Written
hipster-hotspots

Ah, hipsters.

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A hard-to-define term, the word “hipster” generally refers to 20 to 35(ish) year olds who shun the cultural mainstream and strive to live a life built on “unique,” vintage memorabilia and progressive-yet-unconventional beliefs. For whatever reason (although I fall within this demographic, I am still trying to figure out the “hipster” concept myself), no one really wants to be labeled a “hipster” — and yet, love ’em or hate ’em, this cultural phenomenon colors everything from fashion to housing trends.

In an interesting new study, RealtyTrac names the top 30 “hipster zip codes” across the country for profitable home flipping based on the average flipping returns along with demographic data from the U.S. Census.

“Hipsters typically aren’t looking for just any place to live; they are looking for a place that matches their particular vision of what a city, a neighborhood and a home should look, sound, feel, smell and taste like,” said Daren Blomquist, SVP at RealtyTrac. “When they find that vision, they are willing to pay a premium to experience it, which represents a boon for home flippers operating in those areas appealing to the hipster aesthetic — especially given that many of the hipster hot spots are urban core neighborhoods with plenty of older homes in need of major renovation.”

Related: Flipping Levels at an 8 Year High: These 5 U.S. Markets Are Seeing the Highest ROIs

5 Hipster Home Flipping Hotspot Requirements

In order to be considered a “hipster home flipping hot spot,” markets needed to meet the following requirements:

  1. In 2014, 20 to 34-year-olds accounted for at least 25 percent of the area’s total population.
  2. The area showed an increase of 20 to 34-year-olds from 2013 to 2014.
  3. The share of the population that walked or took public transit to work in 2014 was 20 percent or more.
  4. The zip code saw at least 10 single family homes or condos flipped in 2015.
  5. The flips of 2015 yielded an average gross flipping return on investment of at least 50 percent.

The Top 30 Hipster Markets for Profitable Flips

The following data reflects those U.S. zip codes that not only met the above criteria but that showed the highest percentage of the above factors.

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 10.31.25 AM

via: RealtyTrac; for the full, interactive chart, click here

In addition to the flipping data, RealtyTrac also provided before and after photos of properties in some of the “top hipster flipping” markets, similar to the screenshot below, which you can view by clicking here.

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 10.34.39 AM

via: RealtyTrac; click through the full slider here

Investors:

  • What do you think?
  • Do you try to cater to this demographic?
  • If you’re located in any of the listed areas, have you seen an uptick of 20-somethings buying real estate?

Leave your comments below!

A career writer, editor and blogger, Allison serves as the Director of Content for BiggerPockets.com. In the past, she has channeled her passion and curiosity for all things real estate into her jobs by working in real estate law and heading a blog about real estate market trends. Don’t ask about her dog, Ace, unless you want to see approximately 500 photos of his (adorable) face.

    Bob Baldwin Investor from Shelbyville, Kentucky
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Contrary to most peoples opinion , I am surprised NOT to see any towns listed in Florida . I am seeing this trend in the Jacksonville AND Tampa area .
    Conway Churaman from New York City, New York
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    My eye is heavily on Jacksonville and Tampa. I’m thinking of moving to the area with the long term goal of investing in those markets.
    Neema Fotoohi from New York City, New York
    Replied over 3 years ago
    I’ve been told the same about Jacksonville and Tampa. As a former Florida resident (south Florida), we’re seeing jobs moving to Jacksonville (Fidelity has a headquarters there and the Shadi Khan is looking to change up the city). Not sure if I agree with some of the cities on here.
    Shawn Kleinz State Employee, part time investor. from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    I saw number 30 on the list was Upper Darby PA. There is no way that it is a hipster spot. I grew up in the next town over Secane,PA. Upper Darby has a lower age because it is a immigrant hot-spot. Also, it is near West Philly which isn’t the best area. And the demographics of Upper Darby , PA doesn’t fit the stereotypical hipster in the least.
    Troy Sheets Developer from Philadelphia, PA
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    I was just going to post the same thing about Upper Darby! There’s not a hipster in that whole zip code! The criteria they used is ridiculous. It’s a really, really poor area; no kidding at least 20% walk or take public transit to work…
    Luke
    Replied over 3 years ago
    I think the idea is that certain factors give it the potential of becoming a hipster haven, not that it already is one.
    Darren Sager Realtor from Summit, NJ
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Oh those zip codes of Newark, NJ are NOT Hipster areas. Just my opinion. Funny there were no pictures of them too.
    Patrick Campbell Lender from Tualatin, OR
    Replied over 3 years ago
    I’m surprised that Portland, OR was not included in this list. Way more hipsters than some of these other towns!
    Steve Vaughan Rental Property Investor from East Wenatchee, WA
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Do these ‘hipsters’ have capital to purchase? Hard to cater to a population just leaving or still in their parents’ basement.
    Aleksandar P. Investor from Chicago, Illinois
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Good point Steve. My thoughts exactly.
    Jacob Pereira Real Estate Agent from Austin, TX
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Wow, this data is a bit too specific to really be of much use, in my opinion, and it appears that the commenters above me agree. A single zip code includes a lot of factors that weren’t considered in this study. The fact that an area may only have 10-20 flips in 2015 but still account for 10% of the total market tells me that it’s just a bit too specific to have validity and accuracy (I happen to be a statistical analyst in my W-2 job). I love the methodology and the idea, however. I would love to see this expanded to a city or county level. That, in my opinion, would be much more valuable, and it might also make it so that it’s not almost entirely focused on the North part of the country.
    Jacob Pereira Real Estate Agent from Austin, TX
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Wow, this data is a bit too specific to really be of much use, in my opinion, and it appears that the commenters above me agree. A single zip code includes a lot of factors that weren’t considered in this study. The fact that an area may only have 10-20 flips in 2015 but still account for 10% of the total market tells me that it’s just a bit too specific to have validity and accuracy (I happen to be a statistical analyst in my W-2 job). I love the methodology and the idea, however. I would love to see this expanded to a city or county level. That, in my opinion, would be much more valuable, and it might also make it so that it’s not almost entirely focused on the North part of the country.
    Denise Brown-Puryear from Julian, North Carolina
    Replied over 3 years ago
    I’m surprised that certain areas of Brooklyn New York are not on the above list as well as Charlotte NC.
    Eric F. Real Estate Investor from Raleigh, North Carolina
    Replied over 3 years ago
    How do they determine their number of flips? Their website criteria says it is a house sold 2 times in 1 year. 14 in 27601 is insanely low. You can ride down 4 streets in that zip code and see 14 flips in progress right now. It has picked up even more in 2016 so I may be victim of recency bias, but I think I could personally identify more than 14 flips in that zip code in 2015 just looking through my e-mails.