Monday, January 26, 2015

Lawler: D.R. Horton reports Home Sales Soared Last Quarter

by Bill McBride on 1/26/2015 02:24:00 PM

From housing economist Tom Lawler:

D.R. Horton, the nation’s largest home builder, reported that net home orders in the quarter ended December 31, 2014 totaled 7,370, up 35.1% from the comparable quarter of 2013. Net orders per active community were up about 27% YOY. Horton’s average net order price last quarter was $286,000, up 3.8% from a year earlier. Home deliveries last quarter totaled 7,973, up 28.8% from the comparable quarter of 2013, at an average sales price of $281,000, up 6.6% from a year earlier. A company official said that the YOY increase in its average sales price reflected a 4% increase in the average size of a home closed and a “small” increase in the average price per square foot. Company officials said that they expect the company’s average sales price in 2015 to be “flat” relative to 2014. The company’s order backlog at the end of December was 9,285, up 20.8% from last December, at an average order price of $293,600, up 6.8% from a year ago.

“Express” Homes, Horton’s “lower priced/fewer amenities” brand targeted at “entry-level” buyers, accounted for about 13% of last quarter’s net home orders (in units), up from 7% in the previous quarter and 3% in the comparable quarter of 2013, and about 10% of home deliveries, up from 5% in the previous quarter and 4% a year ago.

The company’s gross margin last quarter was down both from the previous quarter and a year ago, but was in line with guidance given by officials in the previous two quarters.

Horton “surprised” many analysts and competitors last spring by saying that it had increased its sales incentives from “unusually” low to “more normal” levels in order to drive its unit sales pace. As a result, Horton’s market share increased significantly since last spring. More recently a number of other builders have “warned” that they have had to increase incentives.