Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Housing Soft Landing Continues....

With a big drop in Toll Brothers Profits

Toll Brothers Inc., the largest U.S. luxury-home builder, said fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 44 percent as orders tumbled and the company wrote down expenses for land.

Net income in the three months ended Oct. 31 dropped to $173.8 million, or $1.07 a share, from $310.3 million, or $1.84, a year earlier, the Horsham, Pennsylvania-based company said today in a statement. Fiscal 2007 earnings will decline by as much as 62 percent from the 2006 figure of 687.2 million, Toll forecast.

A housing slump in the U.S. prompted Chief Executive Officer Robert Toll to reduce the company's land holdings. In an effort to increase sales of its homes, which on average cost more than $700,000, Toll has advertised no mortgage payments for up to six months.

I simply don't see how a soft landing or the "worst is over" is possible at this point. Inventories of new and existing homes are at decades' high levels. The consumer is is heavily indebted. I don't see a happy ending to this situation.