M/I Homes ( MHO), a small-cap homebuilder, said new orders for the second quarter fell 35% from a year earlier, as housing conditions remain challenging in most of the company's markets. The company signed 764 new contracts in the quarter, down from 1,172 a year earlier. The drop was steepest in Florida, where orders fell 47%. M/I Homes builds there in the cities of Tampa, Orlando and West Palm Beach. In Ohio and Indiana, orders fell 34%, while orders dropped 11% in the region that includes North Carolina, Delaware, Virginia and Maryland. Home deliveries in the quarter increased 16% to 987. The company's sales backlog was $1.03 billion at the end of the quarter, down from $1.05 billion a year earlier. The number of new contracts declined because of reduced traffic, softening demand, increased cancellation rates and higher unsold inventory levels, the company said. M/I Homes reports earnings later this month. D.R. Horton ( DHI), the country's largest builder, reports orders on Thursday. Banc of America analyst Daniel Oppenheim expects Horton's orders to decline 15% year over year.