Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Lawler: Update on Home Builder Sales

by Unknown on 5/02/2012 02:31:00 PM

From economist Tom Lawler:

Standard Pacific Homes, the 12th largest US home builder in 2010, reported that net home orders (excluding jvs) in the quarter ended March 31st totaled 934, up 43.3% from the comparable quarter of 2011. SPF’s sales cancellation rate, expressed as a % of gross orders, was 13% last quarter, down from 14% a year ago. The company said that its average community count last quarter was up 14.5% from a year ago. Home deliveries (ex jvs) last quarter totaled 642, up 46.2% from the comparable quarter of 2011. The company’s order backlog on 3/31/12 was 973, up 55.2% from last March. The company’s CEO said that “(a)fter a strong finish to 2011, we are pleased to report that the positive momentum has continued into the first quarter,” and that “(w)e believe our solid first quarter results reflect the execution of our strategy and suggest that there may be some stabilization in the economy and the overall housing market." The company’s average selling price was up 4.9% from a year ago, which the company attributed to “general price increases and a product mix shift to move-up home deliveries.” Standard Pacific is one of several builder reporting moderate gains in pricing in some markets.

Beazer Homes, the 9th largest US home builder in 2010, reported that net home orders (including discontinued operations) in the quarter ended March 31sr totaled 1,511, up 26.0% from the comparable quarter of 2011. The company’s sales cancellation rate, expressed as a % of gross orders, was 22.5% last quarter, up from 20.0% a year ago. Home deliveries last quarter totaled 845, up 44.9% from the comparable quarter of last year. The company’s order backlog on 3/31/12 was 1,975, up 39.5% from last March. The company CEO said that the YOY increase in orders and closings reflected “both the initial operational benefits of our path-to-profitability strategies and gradually improving conditions in the housing market,” and he remains “hopeful, but cautious, about the prospects for a sustained market recovery.”

MDC Holdings, the 11th largest US home builder in 2010, reports results for the quarter ended 3/31/12 tomorrow.

Here is a summary of some stats reported by publicly traded home builders for last quarter.

SettlementsNet OrdersBacklog
3/20123/20113/20103/20123/20113/20103/20123/20113/2010
D.R. Horton4,2403,5164,2605,8994,9436,4386,1895,2816,314
NVR1,9241,6341,9193,1572,4032,9404,9093,6854,552
PulteGroup3,1173,1413,7954,9914,3454,3205,7985,1886,456
The Ryland Group8486889841,3579661,1672,0231,4651,915
Meritage Homes7596788081,1448401,0641,3009401,351
M/I Homes507439475764654765933747936
Beazer Homes8545838521,5111,1991,6731,9751,4161,781
Standard Pacific642439537934652759973627821
Total12,89111,11813,63019,75716,00219,12624,10019,34924,126
YOY % change15.9%-18.4%23.5%-16.3%24.6%-19.8%

In the March New SF Home Sales Report, the Census Bureau’s preliminary estimate of new SF home sales in the quarter ended March 31st was up 16.0% (not seasonally adjusted) from the comparable quarter of 2011.

In looking at some history of Census new SF home sales and builder reports, it appears as if the timing of the “recording” of a sale by builders may be slightly ahead of the timing reported to Census as a sale. Stated another way, Census new SF home sales appear to be “correlated” to builder sales reported both in the current quarter and one quarter lagged.

While I’ll update this estimate following tomorrow’s MDC report, right now I estimate that revisions will lift Census’s estimates of new SF home sales last quarter from an average seasonally adjusted annual rate of 337,000 to a SAAR of 350,000.

CR Note: This was from housing economist Tom Lawler.

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