Updated from 11:17 a.m. ESTHomebuilder shares slid Tuesday after Beazer Homes ( BZH) recorded a hefty loss for its first quarter and offered a bleak forecast for the rest of the year. Elsewhere, the National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes were weaker than expected in December, though the inventory of homes on the market fell. Atlanta-based Beazer said Thursday that it recorded a loss of $59 million, or $1.54 a share, for its fiscal first quarter, compared with net income of $89.9 million, or $2 a share, a year earlier. Inventory impairments and land option write-offs totaled $120 million, steeper than some analysts' expectations. Excluding the charges, earnings were 41 cents a share. Analysts expected profit of 26 cents a share for the December quarter, according to Thomson Financial. Beazer's revenue fell to $806.4 million from $1.11 billion a year earlier. New orders tumbled 54% to 1,779 homes. "The current market environment continues to be characterized by weak demand, with heavy discounting required to drive meaningful sales volume," the company said. The company gave 2007 EPS guidance of $1.25 to $1.50, which excludes the impact of any further inventory impairments and abandonment of land option contracts. The guidance was well below analysts' average forecast of $2.47 a share. "At this point, we have yet to see any meaningful evidence of a sustainable recovery in the housing market, although we would expect to gain a better read on the market as the traditional spring selling season gets under way," Beazer CEO Ian McCarthy said in a statement.