Pulte Q4 loss widens

Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based home builder PulteGroup reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $165 million, compared with a net loss of $117 million in the prior-year quarter. The loss for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2010, includes $196 million in land-related charges and costs associated with organizational restructuring, debt pay-down and other financing amendments.

Consolidated revenue for the fourth quarter totaled $1.2 billion, down 29% from prior-year revenue of $1.7 billion.

"After four years of steep declines, the U.S. housing market continues to show signs of stabilizing, albeit at historically low levels," said Richard J. Dugas Jr., chairman, president and CEO of PulteGroup. "Businesses are once again adding jobs, which directly stimulates buying and, in turn, consumer confidence, both of which are critical to ultimately raising demand for new homes. In fact, we may already be realizing some positive effects as January buyer traffic and sales trends were encouraging, although we'll have to see if this continues through the selling season and the year."

Fourth-quarter 2010 net new orders were 3,044 homes, down 19% from orders of 3,748 homes in the same period of 2009. PulteGroup ended the quarter with a contract backlog of 3,984 homes, with a constructed value of $1.1 billion. Backlog for the fourth quarter of 2009 was 5,931 homes, valued at $1.6 billion. 

For the full year ended Dec. 31, PulteGroup reported a net loss of $1.1 billion, compared with a prior-year net loss of $1.2 billion.

Revenue from home sales for the year totaled $4.4 billion, up 13% from revenue of $3.9 billion in 2009. This increase reflects full-year closings of 17,095, up 14% from the prior year, and a less than 1% increase in average selling price to $259,000. The inclusion of Centex's operations for the full year of 2010 drove the higher volume, compared with only four-and-a-half months in 2009.