52-Week Lows Become Reality for Homebuilders

It was just last week that we pondered whether the awful housing news would drive the homebuilder stocks to 52-week lows. It was not meant to be rhetorical, but it was not exactly a crystal ball prediction either. After new home sales fell by a massive 8.1% in June, D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI) gave a weak earnings report. Now it is the turn of Beazer Homes USA Inc. (NYSE: BZH) and Ryland Group Inc. (NYSE: RYL) to take their turns sitting in the barrel.

All of a sudden, 52-week lows are much closer than before.

Beazer is now very close to its 52-week low. The homebuilder reported that it had a loss after items, although it made $6.6 million in operating income. New home orders were down more than 6% for the company, and its cancellations were up at 21%. This is atrocious. Beazer shares were down 9% in mid-afternoon trading at $15.73, and the stock hit a low of $15.59 on Thursday. Its 52-week range is $15.54 to $25.34 — so it came within a nickel of a 52-week low.

Ryland was also close to its 52-week lows. The stock was down 6% at $32.72 after its earnings, but it did hit a 52-week low of $31.22 on Thursday. Orders were up 1.7% and backlog was up 5.5%. Even its average closing price increased 16%. Still, the cancellation rate of 17.6% was up from 14% a year ago.

Last week’s D.R. Horton coverage showed that a dividend hike did not help. Its poor earnings report sent shares down more than 10% on three-times normal trading volume when its woes were shown. Despite D.R. Horton having revenues up almost 28% and despite a backlog increase of 26%, its cancellation rate was a whopping 24% — one in four homes were being walked away from. D.R. Horton shares are currently at $20.80, versus a 52-week range of $17.52 to $25.23. That is still a ways off from the 52-week low.

The homebuilder trends just aren’t looking too good. Maybe you can blame the rise in interest rates from the low for some of it, but the real issue may continue to be that same sticker shock of rising prices.

ALSO READ: Rising Cash-Out Refinancings: Return of the Housing Bubble or Normalcy?

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