Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Toll Brothers posts smaller losses

Associated Press May. 27, 2010 12:00 AM

LOS ANGELES - Luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc. posted a narrower loss in its latest quarter and saw a surge in orders for new homes, trends the company said were holding steady despite the end of two homebuyer tax credits.

New-home contracts jumped 41 percent in the February-April period and the value of the builder's backlog increased on an annual basis for the first time in four years, reflecting increased confidence among buyers, the company said.

"It appears our business has finally emerged from the tunnel and into a bit of daylight," said Robert Toll, chairman and CEO. He said sales held up in May even though two tax credits expired last month.

Toll said he believes customers are becoming more confident in their job security, their ability to sell previous homes and the outlook for home prices.

He did sound a cautious note, however, saying he expects a gradual recovery as the market faces headwinds from high unemployment and volatility in the financial markets.

"We don't expect housing to roar back right away," said Toll, who announced last week that he will step down from the CEO post on June 16 after more than four decades. He will stay on as chairman.

The company said it lost $40.4 million, or 24 cents per share, down from $83.2 million, or 52 cents per share. Analysts expected a loss of 23 cents per share.

Revenue dropped 22 percent, to $311.3 million from $398.3 million. Analysts expected $321.9 million.

Toll Brothers posts smaller losses

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