ATLANTA, Ga. (TheStreet) -- Beazer Homes (BZH) - Get Beazer Homes USA, Inc. Report was among the biggest laggards on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday after the homebuilder said it was no longer sure new-home orders in fiscal 2010 would be higher than fiscal 2009's level of 4,205 homes.
Beazer shares dropped 5.5% in morning trading to $4.29 on heavier-than-normal trading.
Beazer cited slower-than-anticipated improvements in new-home orders after the expiration of the extended
The company said prospective homebuyers continue to exercise caution in committing to a home purchase as general economic conditions still haven't showed enough improvement.
"Based on sales results through September 15th, the company now expects that new-home orders will be between 700 and 800 homes for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, resulting in year-over-year new-home orders that may be above or below fiscal 2009 results," Beazer said.
Beazer reported 3,438 orders for new homes through June 30, meaning the company expected fourth-quarter new-home orders of at least 767 homes, the company explained.
Beazer said fiscal 2010 land and land development spending would be less than $200 million after previously forecasting it to be in a range between $200 million and $220 million.
Still, Beazer estimated home closings from continuing operations for fiscal 2010 to be about 4,600 homes, which would be a modest improvement over the 4,330 homes closed in fiscal 2009. The builder also reconfirmed expectations that fiscal 2010 gross margins will be higher than comparable fiscal 2009 gross margins of 11.7%, and that its cash balance at the end of September will be in excess of $500 million.
The housing market saw sales ramp up in March and April as consumers rushed to take advantage of tax credits that offered as much as $8,000 for first-time homebuyers and $6,500 for repeat buyers. Following the expiration of those credits on April 30, the market saw a dramatic decline in demand for the month of May that spilled over into June. Data for July showed a further drop in demand. Lawmakers later extended the deadline to close on a home purchase and still qualify for the tax credit to Sept. 30.
Elsewhere in the homebuilder sector stocks were mostly lower. The
SPDR S&P Homebuilders
, an exchange-traded fund, fell 0.9%. The
iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction
-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.
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