Toll Brothers (TOL), the nation’s largest luxury homebuilder, reported a 65% drop in its net income for fiscal year 2013 versus fiscal year 2012, following a fourth quarter that beat estimates, but was still down from last year.

The firm's fiscal-year 2013 earnings declined to $170.6 million, or $0.97 per share diluted, compared to earnings of $487.1 million, or $2.86 per share diluted, for fiscal year 2012.

Fourth-quarter earnings for 2013 were $94.9 million, or $0.54 per share diluted, compared to $411.4 million, or $2.35 per share, in fiscal year 2012.

A tax benefit in the fourth quarter of last year could account for some of the disparity.

Toll Brothers’ deferred-tax asset valuation allowance reversal was $394.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2012, versus $4.6 million for their fourth quarter in 2013.

Douglas Yearley, chief executive officer for Toll Brothers, focused on the positive growth the company saw in 2013.

"With revenues and contracts up over 40%, backlog up over 50% and operating income up over 200%, fiscal year 2013 was an excellent year for Toll Brothers," Yearling said.

Fourth quarter 2013 revenues rose 65% to $1.04 billion compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, with a 36% increase in units to 1,485 deliveries.

The average price of homes delivered rose to $703,000 in the fourth quarter, topping $651,000 in the third quarter of 2013 and $582,000 in the fourth quarter last year.

"We started FY 2013 very strong, building on the sales momentum of FY 2012. Buoyed by historic low interest rates and significant pent-up demand, we raised prices and accelerated per-community home sales paces as the housing market continued its recovery," Yearling added. "Our first nine-months' contracts rose 35% in units and 49% in dollars."

The fourth quarter was impacted by those price increases, the rise in interest rates and the shutdown in Washington, Yearley explained.

"In our fourth quarter, contract growth was 6% in units, but was still up 23% in dollars, against strong growth comparisons: FY 2012's fourth quarter contracts were up 70% and 75%, respectively, versus FY 2011's fourth quarter," Yearley added.

Now six weeks into FY 2014, Toll Brothers has seen contracts flatten out compared to the first quarter of 2013, but is optimistic about its expanded presence in California coastal markets — through an upcoming acquisition of Shapell Homes — and what that will mean for 2014 numbers.

Robert I. Toll, Toll Brothers’ executive chairman, stated: "We believe that Toll Brothers, as well as the other public home building companies, still have significant room for growth. The economy, while still improving slowly, is far from fully recovered. National housing starts, although projected to be up in 2013 compared to 2012, will still be well below the average of the last forty years despite an increased population."