Pulte Projects Hefty Loss

The homebuilder says housing conditions have worsened.
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Pulte Homes

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projected a hefty loss for the second quarter and posted a 20% drop in orders for the period, joining other homebuilders in reporting still-dismal conditions for the housing market.

The Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based builder said Tuesday that it expects to report a second-quarter loss of $2 to $2.10 a share due to numerous charges. The company expects land impairment charges of $1.85 to $1.92 a share, as well as 10 cents a share in charges for a previously announced restructuring.

Previously, Pulte predicted results ranging from break-even to a loss of 10 cents a share, before any charges. Analysts, on average, forecast a loss of 17 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial.

The loss comes as Pulte's orders for the second quarter slid 20% from a year earlier to 7,532 homes. The company closed on 5,938 homes during the period, a drop of 40% over the prior-year quarter.

"The difficult conditions that plagued the homebuilding industry in the first quarter of 2007 worsened in the second quarter, with increased competitive pricing pressures, elevated levels of new and resale home inventory, and weak consumer sentiment for housing affecting the entire industry," said Richard Dugas Jr., president and CEO of Pulte Homes, in a press release.

The statement echoes those made by fellow builders such as

D.R. Horton

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,

KB Home

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,

Lennar

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and

Ryland

(RYL)

, which have warned of worsening conditions in the past few months as prices slide, tightened lending standards affect buyers and inventories jump.

Shares of Pulte were slipping 71 cents, or 3.1%, to $22 in late trading Tuesday.