As you already know, flipping properties was a way of life for close to half of the population in the early 2000's. As lenders loosened up contingencies and qualification standards, more properties were purchased for investment purposes and things quickly spun out of control. Mistakes were made that lead to a disastered market and crippled economy. The market has been reshaped and government infiltration has placed strict restraints and precedents to control a downfall market such as the likes of the 2000's. As the real estate market place inches itself into recovery, investors are capitalizing on a sea of foreclosures and short sales. Below are the stats on current to date flips as of January 2012.
If you are looking to buy one of these houses, there are professionals that strictly find these homes for investors at drastically reduced prices. A good start is to do some of your own research on your local markets. Visit websites such as www.trulia.com, www.realtytrac.com, www.city-data.com, or local investment real estate websites. A service provider that can locate these properties for you can be found at www.newwestern.com.
Good luck, and do your neighborhood a good thing by flipping that horrid house on the end of your street!