KB Home 4Q income plummets 83% from year earlier
[Update 1: Adds information from earnings call] KB Home's (KBH) fourth-quarter income fell 83% from a year earlier, which included a large tax benefit. The homebuilder reported earnings of $17.4 million, or 23 cents a share, for its fiscal fourth quarter ended Nov. 30. For the year-ago quarter, KB Home earned $100.7 million, or $1.31 a share, including a charge of $77.2 million for inventory and joint venture impairments and a tax benefit of $191.7 million. Fourth-quarter revenue fell to $451 million from $674.6 million a year ago, hurt by a 96.3% decline in revenue generated from land sales to $1.9 million from $52.7 million. In the fourth quarter, revenue from housing operations dropped 28% to $447.9 million from $618.7 million, reflecting a decline in the number of homes delivered, the company said. "While there are indications that the overall economy has started to recover, the lack of improvement in employment and consumer confidence is likely to continue to hinder a sustained housing recovery," KB Home President and Chief Executive Jeff Mezger said. "We believe that with our demonstrated ability to improve our operational and financial results through the ongoing downturn and a strong balance sheet that enables us to opportunistically grow our community count and potential housing revenues, we are well positioned for the future." The average price of homes sold by KB rose to $214,500 during its fiscal year. The company closed a total 1,918 home sales in the fourth quarter and 7,346 during its fiscal year. On a conference call Friday morning, Mezger said KB Homes experienced a surprising number of project cancellations, with a spike in November. According to the call, many customers approval for a loan were withdrawn after construction on their home had already began. For its fiscal year, Los Angeles-based KB Home reported a loss of $69.4 million, or 90 cents a share, compared to a loss of $101.8 million, or $1.33 per share, one year ago. Revenue was down 11% to $1.6 billion from $1.8 billion a year ago. At the end of fiscal 2010, the homebuilder held $3.1 billion worth of assets on its balance sheet. Write to Jason Philyaw. Disclosure: The author holds no relevant investments.