U.S. number-two homebuilder D.R. Horton said Tuesday its Q4 net sales orders fell 39% to 6,374 homes ($1.3 billion), from 10,430 homes ($2.5 billion) a year ago, while its cancellations rate jumped to 48%. For 2007, net sales orders fell 35% to 33,687 homes ($8.2 billion) from 51,980 homes ($13.9 billion) in fiscal 2006. The company said it expects the housing environment to "remain challenging." It also said it "experienced reduced mortgage availability due to tighter lending standards," and that "buyers continued to approach the home buying decision cautiously." The company told investors it will continue to focus on reducing inventory, generating cash flow and reducing outstanding debt. "We significantly reduced our homes under construction during the fourth quarter, which contributed to achieving our cash flow from operations goal of $1 billion for the fiscal year." In March, CEO Donald Tomnitz said the housing market will remain in a slump this year, and that "2007 is going to suck, all 12 months of the calendar year." DHI reports Q4 results on Nov. 20. Its shares have dropped 48.7% YTD, compared to a 41.1% drop in the S&P Homebuilders ETF. In pre-market trading, the stock is down 2.4% to $13.25.
Commentary: Homebuilders: Climbing The Walls of Worry • Another Absurd Homebuilder Rally
Stocks to watch: DHI. Competitors: CTX, PHM, KBH, TOL. ETFs: XHB, ITB
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