Toll Brothers fiscal 4Q homebuilding revenue drops

AP News
Posted: Nov 10, 2009 6:04 PM

Toll Brothers Inc. said Tuesday buyers signed 42 percent more contracts for new homes in its fourth fiscal quarter, but revenue dropped because the luxury builder has fewer communities around the country.

The company, based in Horsham, Pa., said buyers signed contracts for 765 homes valued at $430.8 million in the three months ended Oct. 31.

Toll saw a spike in orders despite having 26 percent fewer communities than in the same period last year.

The builder completed 860 sales transactions generating $486.6 million in revenue for quarter, a decline of 30 percent from the year-ago period.

Still, the company noted its completed sales exceeded its own initial estimates, in part because fewer buyers backed out of contracts.

Robert Toll, the builder's chairman and chief executive officer, said consumer confidence, increasingly stable home prices and a gradual decline in the supply of unsold homes suggest the market for new homes is improving.

"We sense that it is, though slowly and through choppy waters," Toll said in a statement.

The company said the rate at which buyers walked away from new home contracts during the quarter was just shy of 7 percent, which is in line with what the builder historically averaged before the downturn.

Toll estimated it will book between $50 million and $125 million in write-downs related to land and other assets for the quarter.

The builder will release final quarterly results on Dec. 3, and analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect a loss of 37 cents a share on revenue of $386.2 million.

Toll shares added 16 cents to close at $18.39 on Tuesday. The stock jumped $1.36, or 7.4 percent, to $19.88 in aftermarket trading following the release of the preliminary results.


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