D.R. Horton (DHI) said first-quarter house orders slumped 23% from a year ago.

The Fort Worth, Texas, company said it got 8,771 orders in the quarter ended Dec. 31, worth $2.3 billion. That's down from the year-ago 11,463 orders worth $3.2 billion.

On the bright side, the proportion of orders canceled dropped to 33% in the first quarter from 40% in the fourth quarter.

"Our people worked very hard to achieve these net sales orders during a time when the selling conditions in the homebuilding industry remain challenging," the company said. "Although our cancellation rate decreased in the first quarter of fiscal 2007 compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006, we continue to experience higher-than-normal cancellation rates and an increased use of sales incentives in many of our markets."

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