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.

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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

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.