PulteGroup Q1 loss narrows

Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based PulteGroup reported a net loss of $12 million for the first quarter ended March 31, compared with a net loss of $40 million in the prior-year quarter. Reported net loss includes $6 million of land-related charges, which were offset by $6 million of land-sale gains. 

Home sale revenues in the first quarter increased 4% to $814 million, compared with $782 million in the prior year. Higher revenue for the quarter reflects a 5%, or $12,000, increase in average selling price to $261,000, partially offset by a 1% decrease in closings to 3,117 homes. 

"PulteGroup's first-quarter financial results demonstrate further success in our efforts to reposition the business and drive better long term financial returns," said Richard J. Dugas Jr., PulteGroup chairman, president and CEO. "For the quarter, improved gross margins and excellent control of overhead costs within our operations, along with better results from our financial services operations, helped to drive a $32 million increase in pretax operating results. Our first quarter results reflect the benefit of initiatives launched in 2011 which are expected to deliver additional gains as we move through the remainder of 2012 and beyond."

For the quarter, the company reported a 15% increase in net signups of 4,991 homes, which were generated from 6% fewer communities. Prior-year net signups were 4,345 homes. The cancellation rate in the first quarter was 15%, down from 16% in the prior year.

PulteGroup’s contract backlog as of March 31 was 5,798 homes, with a value of $1.6 billion, compared with a prior-year contract backlog of 5,188 homes, valued at $1.4 billion.