PulteGroup builds a better Q4

Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based PulteGroup reported fourth-quarter net income of $14 million, compared with a net loss of $165 million in the prior-year quarter. 

Revenue from home sales in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2011, totaled $1.2 billion, up 1% over the prior year's fourth quarter.  The increase in revenues was driven by a 3% increase in average selling price to $271,000, which was partially offset by a 2% decrease in closings to 4,303 homes. 

For the quarter, the PulteGroup reported 3,084 net new orders. Prior-year orders of 3,044 reflect a one-time pick up of 200 signups, which resulted from a change in the company's order recognition process. Excluding those orders, the home builder saw a year-over-year increase in orders of 8%. 

"We are pleased to report PulteGroup's fourth-quarter earnings, which demonstrate the company's continued progress on our initiatives to expand margins and lower overhead costs," said Richard Dugas Jr., chairman, president and CEO of PulteGroup. "In addition to our improved operating results, we also successfully sold 23 non-strategic land assets for $64 million and were able to repurchase $257 million par value of our debt for $252 million. These transactions continue to strengthen our balance sheet and will help to improve our return on invested capital over time.”

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2011, PulteGroup reported a net loss of $210 million, compared with a net loss of $1.1 billion in the prior year.

Revenues from home sales for the period totaled $4.0 billion, compared with revenues of $4.4 billion in the prior year. Lower revenues for the period were driven primarily by an 11% decrease in closings to 15,275 homes.