Finding bargain homes in metro Phoenix is a lot tougher now that foreclosures have plummeted and home prices have nearly returned to peak levels.
But five ZIP codes made a new top 25 list for the best U.S. communities for investors to make money buying homes and turning them into rentals.
All of the Phoenix-area neighborhoods that rank on the list are affordable areas with many newer homes.
The Laveen ZIP code 85339 ranked No. 11 on the Attom Data Solutions list, the highest of any Valley area. According to the national real-estate research firm, the southwest Valley neighborhood has an average rental return of 11.3 percent and a vacancy rate for investment homes below 1 percent.
The Queen Creek ZIP code 85143 ranked No. 13, with an 11.1 percent average return for rental owners and a vacancy rate for investment properties below 1 percent.
No. 20 on the list is the El Mirage ZIP code 85335, with a 10.4 percent return and an investment home vacancy below 1 percent.
The south Phoenix ZIP code 85043 came in at No. 21, with a 10.3 percent return rate and an investment home vacancy rate below 1 percent.
The city of Maricopa's 85319 ZIP code ranked No. 25, with a 10 percent return rate for investors and an investment home vacancy rate below 1 percent.
The Phoenix-area neighborhoods that made the list all have median home prices well below the Valley’s overall median of $245,000. Four out of the five have median home prices below $200,000.
Investors looking for bargain homes to buy and flip or rent out have gotten more aggressive in metro Phoenix. Homeowners who have equity again are regularly getting calls, letters and knocks at the door from groups that want to buy their homes fast for cash.
Home flips are up 16 percent in the Valley.
The Atlanta suburb of Jonesboro's 30238 ZIP code topped Attom's list for best neighborhoods for buying homes to turn into money-making rentals. The area posted a rental return of almost 18 percent and an investment home vacancy rate of almost 5 percent. The median price of a home in the Georgia neighborhood is $90,000.
Attom used data on rents, property taxes, home prices, insurance and property management costs for its ranking.