D.R. Horton Inc. reported Tuesday a nearly $800 million loss in its fiscal fourth quarter on slower home sales and more than $1 billion in charges amid a troubled housing market.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based homebuilder reported a net loss of $799.9 million, or $2.53 a share, compared to a loss of $50.1 million or 16 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Total sales for the quarter were $1.75 billion, down from $3.12 billion in the fourth quarter 2007.
"Market conditions in the homebuilding industry deteriorated during our fourth fiscal quarter and October, characterized by rising foreclosures, high inventory levels of both new and existing homes, increasing unemployment and eroding consumer confidence," Donald Horton, the company's chairman of the board, said in a statement.
While the builder's revenue plummeted 44 percent, it still beat analysts' expectations. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had forecast a loss of $1.88 a share on revenue of $1.7 billion. The company said total home sales during the quarter tumbled 41 percent to 6,961.
D.R. Horton said the fourth quarter loss reflected a tax benefit of $365.3 million.
Meanwhile, pre-tax charges in the fourth quarter included $364.7 million in impairments for owned inventory, $624.2 million in impairments for land and lots sold during the quarter and $85.7 million for write-offs of deposits and pre-acquisition costs related to land option contracts that the company doesn't intend to pursue.
The backlog of homes under contract to be sold as of Sept. 30 fell sharply from the same time last year. D.R. Horton had 5,297 homes worth $1.2 billion under contract at the end of the quarter. It had 10,442 homes valued at $2.7 billion under contract on the same day last year.
For the full fiscal year, D.R. Horton lost $2.63 billion, or $8.34 a share. The homebuilder lost $712.5 million, or $2.27 a share, during the previous fiscal year.
Full-year revenue fell to $6.52 billion from $11.09 billion during the prior year.
The homebuilder also declared a quarterly cash dividend of 3.75 cents a share. The dividend will be paid Dec. 18 to shareholders of record on Dec. 8.