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.,