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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Hovnanian Reports Huge Loss

by Calculated Risk on 6/03/2008 10:01:00 PM

Here are some words that shareholders hate:

"We expect to persevere ..."
CEO Ara K. Hovnanian, June 3, 2008
Expect? Oh yeah, that inspires confidence.

From Reuters: Hovnanian reports 2Q loss grows tenfold (hat tip barely)
[T]he company reported a net loss of $340.7 million, or $5.29 per share, for the quarter that ended April 30. This compared with a loss of $30.7 million, or 49 cents per share, for the same period a year ago.
Ouch. That is much worse than expected.

And the little bit of good news:
Hovnanian's contract cancellation rate, excluding the joint ventures, improved to 29 percent from 38 percent last quarter and 32 percent in last year's second quarter.
Hovnanian Cancellaton Rate Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the Hovnanian cancellation rate by quarter since 2004 (note that Hovnanian just finished fiscal Q2 2008).

The cancellation rate is now declining after peaking last year at 40%. One of the key reasons to track cancellation rates is to estimate the error in the Census Bureau numbers. Since it takes about 6 months to build a home, the usual comparison is current quarter vs. 6 months ago. The cancellation rate is declining (from 40% to 29%) and that suggests that the Census Bureau is currently underestimating sales.

Note that Hovnanian's cancellation rate was in the 20% range during the boom years (Toll Brothers' cancellation rate was running around 4.5% in 2004). The cancellation rate tends to be builder specific because of different down payment and pre-qualification requirements.