Industry News

Excess supply, low consumer confidence impair market

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Housing markets are bad across the country and Toll Brothers was the latest large home builder to reflect that sentiment in a preliminary fourth-quarter earnings report Thursday. Fourth-quarter home-building revenues declined 36 percent to $1.17 billion compared to the same period in 2006 at Toll Brothers, while the company's $2.85 billion backlog declined 36 percent compared to fiscal 2006. Toll Brothers reported 417 cancellations for the quarter, totaling approximately $328.5 million, compared with 585 cancellations totaling $412.3 million a year ago. That left fourth-quarter net signed contracts for 656 homes, or approximately $365.2 million, a decline of 35 percent in units and 48 percent in dollars compared to the same quarter in 2006. Cancellations were heavily concentrated in high-priced markets and product lines, the company said. "We continue to believe that excess supply created by cancellations, speculative buyers and overly ambitious builders; customer concer...