KB Home Beats, Expects Demand to Remain Strong

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constructionKB Home (NYSE: KBH) reported fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2012 results before markets opened this morning. The homebuilder posted quarterly diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.10 on revenues of $578.2 million. In the same period a year ago, KB Home reported EPS of $0.18 on revenue of $479.9 million. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.07 and $567.1 million in revenue.

The company noted that last year's results included one-time items that pushed the company to profitability. Excluding the items net income would have been negative in the fourth quarter of 2011.

For the full year, KB Home posted a net loss of $0.59 per share on revenues of $1.56 billion. The consensus estimates had called for a loss of $0.81 per share on revenues of $1.55 billion.

The company offered no guidance, but the consensus estimates for the first quarter call for a net loss of $0.21 per share on revenues of $363.3 million. For the full year, the EPS estimate is $0.12 on revenues of $1.99 billion.

The company's CEO said:

The tightening supply of homes available for sale, high housing affordability and favorable mortgage interest rate environment are driving increased demand and providing us with more opportunities to generate greater revenues. We anticipate housing demand will continue to strengthen, particularly as more households facing rising rental costs consider the benefits of homeownership and emerge from the sidelines. Although the strength of the economy and pending federal budget decisions are important considerations that could potentially disrupt the housing recovery and cause us to shift our current plans, we believe that, with our higher backlog, more community openings on the horizon, and the continued improvement we are expecting in our performance as we move ahead, we are well positioned to be profitable for 2013.

When KB Home's CEO talks about "federal budget decisions" that could disrupt the recovery in homebuilding, he's referring to any changes to the federal mortgage deduction. Any change to that deduction could have a significant impact not only on this company, but on every other builder. High-end builders like Toll Brothers Inc. (NYSE: TOL) could be particularly hard hit.

Gross profit margins on building rose slightly from 15.1% in the year-ago quarter to 15.2% this year. Housing backlog is up 35% on a dollar basis going into the first quarter of 2013, and up 20% on a number of homes basis.

New net orders are up 4%. The small gain was attributed to a reduction in the number of communities the company owns, which has dropped from 234 at the end of November 2011 to 191 this year.

Shares are down 1.2% in premarket trading this morning, at $16.45 in a 52-week range of $6.17 to $17.30. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $14.40 before today's results were announced.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Earnings, Housing Tagged: KBH, TOL
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