According to a report from DataQuick, a real estate research firm, there were 1,377 houses flipped in the Southland in May of 2013. In June of 2005, at the height of the residential real estate boom, buyers looking to make a profit bought 1,394 homes, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.
The housing market's fast-paced recovery could be a sign of two things, according to the paper. Some economists simply see it as a sign of healthy recovery after the housing crisis and ensuing market recession.
But others warn that the increase in quick flipping, which is generally defined as buying and selling a home within six months, is an indication that the bubble could be about to burst once again.
DataQuick also reported that median sale prices have shown year-over-year increases of more than 20 percent for each month, culminating with a 28 percent increase in June 2013.
"No matter how you look at it, flipping levels are high in a historical context," DataQuick spokesman Andrew LePage told the Los Angeles Times. "If the rate shot up from here, then I think that does become a warning sign."
Investors flipped 133 houses in Orange County in June, down 60 from the 2005 peak. However, buyers in San Diego County were well above the peak numbers, turning 301 homes around last month.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the houses flipped vs. total sales ratio for this year is higher than it was pre-recession.
Additionally, house flipping has become more than merely a real estate investment, as some buyers and sellers are becoming quasi-celebrities. Tarek El Moussa, an Orange County real estate agent, flipped 20 houses last year, according to the newspaper. This year he expects the total to exceed 50.
His presence in the market allowed him to star in a reality show on HGTV called "Flip or Flop," which debuted in April.
"I absolutely loved it," El Moussa told the Los Angeles Times about that first house flip. "I made a good profit, and I saw the opportunity to do it not only once, but do it over and over."