Single-family home flipping is on the rise as flippers see growing profits from their endeavors in most markets, according to a report released by RealtyTrac.

The volume of house flipping increased 19 percent from the first half of this year to the first half of last year, according to RealtyTrac.

At the same time, profits from flipping increased 246 percent.

Over the first half of this year, investors earned an average gross profit of $18,391 per home flipped, up from $5,321 in the first half of last year and a vast improvement from the first half of 2011 when flippers lost an average of $13,206 on flips.

The $18,391 represents a 9 percent return on investment.

Investors working in markets where foreclosures have ticked up recently are earning the greatest profits, according to RealtyTrac, because they are able to purchase at a discount.

As such, “home flipping is tapering off in markets where fewer of those distressed bargains are available,” said Daren Blomquist, VP at RealtyTrac.

While about two-thirds of the markets RealtyTrac observed are experiencing growth in home flipping, some former “flipping hot spots” are experiencing declines in flipping.

Markets falling into this category include Las Vegas, where flipping declined 41 percent; Phoenix, where flipping declined 35 percent; Atlanta, where flipping declined 24 percent; and markets in Southern California such as Las Angeles, where flipping declined 19 percent.

While investors may prefer higher profits on their flips, Craig King, COO at Chase International brokerage in the Reno-Sparks, Nevada area says, declines in flipping are “actually a positive sign of the housing recovery we are experiencing.”

Rising prices are contributing to the decline in flips in Southern California, according to Rich Cosner, CEO of Prudential California Realty, who told RealtyTrac, “While flipping of homes continues to be of great interest to many people in the general public as they see this as an easy way to make a fast profit, the opportunity to buy and flip homes in Southern California is diminishing each month, as the price to purchase fixer-uppers continues to increase rapidly.”

Markets seeing the greatest gross profit as a percent include Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Florida, where the return is 82 percent; Omaha-Council Bluffs, Nebraska-Iowa, where the return is 56 percent; and Palm Coast, Florida, where flipping yields a return of 34 percent.

by Krista Franks Brock