Toll Brothers sees big drop in sales

Homebuilder also expects to take up to $300 million in writedowns in first quarter; still sees 'challenging times' ahead.

Subscribe to Companies
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

Rocky Mountain foreclosures
Colorado suffered a 30% surge in foreclosures last year and the numbers keep rising.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc., which last quarter reported its first loss as a public company, released preliminary first-quarter results Wednesday that showed a sharp drop in sales.

Toll Brothers (TOL, Fortune 500) warned: "We are not yet seeing much light at the end of the tunnel," and said it expects to take up to $300 million in pre-tax writedowns in the first quarter.

The company did not provide specific earnings details, but said that average first-quarter homebuilding revenues fell 22% to about $842.7 million.

Signed homebuilding contracts declined 38% to 904 from 1,463 during the same period last year. First-quarter contracts totaled about $573.2 million, down 46% from $1.07 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2007.

The housing slump, which has resulted in a fall in home prices and sales across the country, has also affected Toll Brothers' average price per contract. The company reported an average price per home building contract of $634,000, down from $730,000 in the year-ago period.

`"The housing market remains very weak in most areas, Robert I. Toll, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. Chief Financial Officer Joel H. Rassman forecast "challenging times ahead."

Toll will announce full results when it releases first-quarter earnings on Feb. 27. To top of page

Photo Galleries
7 quirky luxury products for the super rich Take a look at some of the most unusual luxury products being marketed to the top 1% in Monaco, including a rotating sunbed, hand-made wooden skis and fur coats for dogs. More
Five things to know about Putin's Russia An economic crisis, Western sanctions and a comeback currency: What's going on in Russia? More
9 up-and-coming collectible cars They're relatively cheap now but these models have already caught collectors' eyes and are expected to increase in value in years to come More
Sponsors