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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Lawler: Home Builder Results for Last Quarter

by Calculated Risk on 2/02/2012 06:31:00 PM

From economist Tom Lawler:

Of the nine large publicly traded home builders whose fiscal quarters end on the same day as calendar quarters, eight have published earnings and operating stats. I don’t comment on earnings, put below are some selected stats on orders, settlements, and order backlogs.

Pulte, of course, noted that in the quarter ended December 31, 2010 there was a “one-time pickup” of about 200 net orders “associated with a change in the Company’s order recognition process,” and that as of result a “like-to-like” comparison of the latest quarter vs. the comparable year-ago quarter would show a YOY gain of “about” 8%. Adjusting the totals for all eight builders for the “Pulte shift,” the YOY gain in net orders for the above group would be 13.3% (and the YOY decline for the previous year would be 16.7%). For these eight companies combined, the backlog of orders at the end of last year was up 18.1% from the end of 2010, though it was little changed from the end of 2009.

 SettlementsNet OrdersBacklog
End 2011End 2010End 2009End 2011End 2010End 2009End 2011End 2010End 2009
D.R. Horton4,1183,6375,5293,7943,3634,0374,5303,8544,136
The Ryland Group1,0409091,6669157759691,5141,1871,732
Meritage Homes8948371,2027497136219157781,095
Beazer Homes8825499617245537281,309800 
MDC Holdings9508651,1095235196371,043842826
M/I Homes667650858505460448676532650
YoY % Change5.2%-27.8% 11.3%-15.1% 18.1%-16.8%

MDC Holdings, by the way, reported that January 2012 net sales were up “about 30%” from January 2011 sales.

Census new SF home sales data showed a YOY increase in sales for the fourth quarter of 2011 (NSA, of course), of just 3.0%, while the YOY % decline for Q4/10 was 20.5%. Unfortunately, the Census new SF sales data are not directly comparable to reports from home builders, partly because of the treatment of sales cancellations, and partly because the timing of a “sale” can differ slightly. As such, it’s difficult to ascertain the degree to which “large” builder sales gains have exceeded Census’ gains reflects market share gains, different reporting, or “bad” Census data!

Net, though, my gut is that the large builders were seeing better net orders last quarter than Census new home sales data might have suggested.