Beazer Homes Posts Loss in Third Quarter

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Builder Beazer Homes (BZH) posted a loss in the quarter as the weak housing market continued to be affected by economic factors such as high unemployment. Following the expiration of the New Home Buyer's Tax Credit on April 30, 2010, Beazer saw a decline in orders.

The company said Thursday it lost $27.8 million, or 41 cents per share, in its fiscal third quarter ending June 30. That compares with a loss of $28 million, or 72 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue rose 52% to $339.9 million from $224.1 million. Analysts were expecting a loss of 29 cents a share on revenue of about $325.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

Beazer reported home closings from continuing operations jumped 73% from the year ago period, but new orders slumped 33%. New orders in the quarter were substantially impacted by a fall-off in demand following the expiration of the federal tax credit and continuing high unemployment levels, Beazer said.

The cancellation rate also increased, rising to 28.9% in the third quarter compared to 23.0% in the third quarter of the prior year. And the average selling price fell to $206,200 for the third quarter from $235,100 last year, but that was mostly due to a geographical shift, the company said.

"As we anticipated earlier this year, the third quarter represented two distinctly different business environments for us. Through the expiration of the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit on April 30th, traffic and new home orders were tracking well above prior year results," said President and CEO Ian McCarthy.

He added, "In May and June traffic and new home orders were substantially below the levels experienced in the prior year. While new home affordability and mortgage rates are at historically attractive levels, homebuyers continue to be concerned about employment, the impact of additional foreclosures and general conditions in the economy. We believe employment growth and improved consumer confidence remain the keys to a sustainable recovery in the homebuilding industry. In the meantime, we are taking the steps necessary to position the Company to fully participate in the eventual housing recovery."

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