It is definitely not an east coast thing. I happens all over the country. The first I ever heard the term was watching shows of people flipping houses in the LA area.
The practice actually goes a lot further back though. I went to school with a girl whose family would buy a house and take 3-5 years remodeling it, sell it at a profit, and do it all over again. Before she graduated they had paid cash for a house they built to their specifications. They had planned on living there forever but medical issues made it difficult to keep up the yard. They sold that house at a huge profit and moved into a community that yard maintenance is included in the HOA.