Atlanta's Beazer Homes swings to loss for fiscal 2Q
Homebuilder Beazer Homes (BZH) reported a loss of $54.6 million for its fiscal second quarter ended March 31, as new orders and closings declined sharply. The second-quarter loss of 74 cents a share came in much wider than analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance, who expected, on average, a loss of 47 cents per share. In the year-ago period, Atlanta-based Beazer earned $5.3 million, or 9 cents a share. The current quarter included $17.9 million in charges related to the deterioration of the Las Vegas market where new home prices have dipped and foreclosures have increased. "As expected, year-over-year comparisons were unfavorably impacted this quarter by the first-time homebuyers tax credit which pulled forward sales volumes into the second quarter of 2010," said Ian McCarthy, president and CEO of Beazer Homes. "However, we did see seasonal improvement with orders and gross margins up over the first quarter of fiscal 2011. Revenue for the first three months of 2011 fell 34% to $127.5 million from $192.5 million in the year-ago period. New orders dropped to 1,199 homes, down 28% from 1,673 a year earlier. However, the company said new orders were up 121.1% from the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31. Total home closings fell to 573 homes, down 31.1% from the prior year, but an 8.7% increase from the first quarter. Beazer announced last month it created a new division to buy, upgrade and rent previously owned homes to consumers who aren't ready to purchase a house or who can't qualify for a mortgage. The homebuilder is also lower expenses with job cuts. It eliminated 130 full-time jobs during its second quarter to save more than $20 million annually. The cuts are expected to result in a charge of $3 million next quarter. The company controlled 30,918 lots at March 31 — 80% owned and 20% controlled under options -- an increase of 6.6% from Sept. 30. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.