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Re: Toll Bros. sees revenue falling 19% - Hoboken, Jersey City, Manhattan & Brooklyn are strong mark
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Google helps me answer my question, at least partially:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15128931/site/newsweek/

Posted on: 2007/2/9 14:45
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Re: Toll Bros. sees revenue falling 19% - Hoboken, Jersey City, Manhattan & Brooklyn are strong mark
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That's an interesting statement at the end -- I wonder if there's been any economic analysis though of what parts of the population are growing and whether those people are going to be homebuyers in the near future.

Posted on: 2007/2/9 14:43
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Toll Bros. sees revenue falling 19% - Hoboken, Jersey City, Manhattan & Brooklyn are strong markets.
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Toll Bros. sees revenue falling 19%

Friday, February 09, 2007
BY DEBORAH YAO
Associated Press

Toll Bros., the nation's largest builder of luxury homes, said yesterday it expected its first-quarter home building revenue to fall 19 percent, signaling that the housing market is likely to remain feeble early in 2007.

The Pennsylvania-based builder, which has put up luxury housing developments across New Jersey, also warned writedowns are ex pected to balloon to between $60 million and $160 million or more just for the quarter. In December, Toll Bros. projected a $60 million, land-related writedown for the whole 2007 fiscal year.

"The (housing) market has just continued to deteriorate over the last few months," said Alex Barron, senior housing analyst for JMP Se curities in San Francisco. "When a builder starts to cut prices or offer discounts where they no longer make money in the community, ac counting rules say they have to recognize all the future expected losses."

Writedowns also include charges Toll Bros. would incur from walking away from land it has optioned for possible purchase.

Investors sold off shares of Toll Bros., sending the stock down 3 percent.

Toll Bros. said it's expecting revenue of $1.09 billion in the quarter, compared with $1.34 billion in the same period last year. The number of contracts signed -- an indicator of the strength of new business -- totaled 1,027, down a third from the same period a year earlier.

The number and value of contracts signed were weakest in the West, down about two-thirds, followed by the South, the Mid-Atlantic and Northern states, the company said.

Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Toll said the first-quarter's cancellation rate fell to 29.8 percent, however, from 36.9 percent in the prior quarter. The pace of cancellations still far exceeded the builder's historical average of about 7 percent.

About 15 percent to 20 percent are folks who couldn't sell their homes to move into a Toll property, he said in a conference call with analysts. Others cited medical or other reasons.

"It's amazing how many people get sick when prices fall," Toll said dryly.

But Barron said he expected to cancellation rate to drop, since many investors who flip homes for a quick profit likely already canceled their contracts.

The company also saw an increase in demand in several markets in January and the first week in February. While Toll noted that the uptick happens seasonally, he said he was still encouraged.

Hoboken and Jersey City, as well as Manhattan and Brooklyn, N.Y., continue to be strong markets, while Detroit; Minneapolis; Chicago; Reno, Nev.; and parts of Florida may not yet have stabilized.

Over the long run, Toll remains bullish about the housing market because America's population growth is outpacing the rate at which homes are being built.

"We're adding people at a clip that is much greater than the ability to add supply in the home building stream," Toll said. "Sup ply has been stagnant since the 1970s."

Posted on: 2007/2/9 13:38
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