Pulte Homes loss widens in fourth quarter

Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based home builder Pulte Homes posted a loss of $874.7 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2007, compared to a loss of $8.4 million in the same quarter last year. For the full year, the company swung to a loss of $2.25 billion, compared to earnings of $687 million in 2006.

“The challenging market conditions that plagued the home-building industry for the first nine months of 2007 worsened in the fourth quarter,” said Richard J. Dugas, Jr., president and CEO of Pulte Homes. “Levels of new and existing-home inventory remain elevated, buyer demand for new homes continues to be weak and mortgage availability is still a problem for many prospective home buyers.”

The company also showed net sales of $2.9 billion for the fourth quarter of last year, down 34 percent from the same quarter of 2006 of $4.4 billion.

Net sales for the year were $9.3 billion, down 35 percent from $14.3 billion for 2006.

The company closed 8,714 homes in the fourth quarter, down 31 percent from the same quarter last year, with average sales price per home at $319,000, down 6 percent from the fourth quarter last year.

New orders for the quarter were 4,562, down 29 percent from the fourth quarter in 2006. The company also projects a first-quarter net loss of 15 cents to 30 cents per share.