Housing gross profit margin was 20.0 percent for the quarter ended December 31, 2012, compared to 18.1 percent for the quarter ended December 31, 2011. This improvement in housing gross profit margin was primarily attributable to a decline in direct construction and land costs; higher leverage of direct overhead expense due to an increase in the number of homes delivered; lower inventory and other valuation adjustments and write-offs; and reduced sales incentives and price concessions. For the fourth quarter of 2012, sales incentives and price concessions totaled 8.7 percent, compared to 10.7 percent for the same period in 2011.
Selling, general and administrative expense, including corporate, totaled 13.4 percent of homebuilding revenues for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to 16.4 percent for the fourth quarter of 2011. This decrease in the selling, general and administrative expense ratio was primarily attributable to higher leverage resulting from increased revenues and to the impact of cost-saving initiatives, partially offset by higher compensation expense primarily due to the impact of fluctuations in the Company’s stock price.
The homebuilding segments recorded $5.1 million of interest expense during the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $3.9 million during the fourth quarter of 2011. This increase in interest expense from the fourth quarter of 2011 was primarily due to interest incurred on additional senior notes issued in 2012, partially offset by the capitalization of a greater amount of interest incurred during the fourth quarter of 2012, which resulted from a higher level of inventory under development.
During the fourth quarter of 2012, the Company used $129.8 million of cash for operating activities, provided $117.6 million of cash from investing activities and used $56.4 million of cash for financing activities.For the quarter ended December 31, 2012, the financial services segment reported pretax earnings of $6.2 million, compared to $437,000 for the same period in 2011. This improvement was primarily attributable to increases in locked loan pipeline and origination volumes, higher title income and lower indemnification expense, partially offset by a rise in personnel and legal expenses and by interest related to the financial services credit facility that was entered into during December 2011.
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