While customer orders were down 8 percent from the prior-year period, the number of new orders increased each month during the quarter and the Lennar ended August with the highest backlog in a year.
"The overall housing market continued its road back to recovery as more confident homebuyers took advantage of increased affordability," Stuart Miller, Lennar's president and CEO, said in a statement.
While the company didn't provide future financial guidance, it said if the economy continues to improve Lennar will return to profitability in fiscal 2010.
The company sold 2,691 homes, down 29 percent from year-ago levels. The average sales price was $239,000, down 11 percent, but stronger demand allowed Lennar to reduce the incentives it offered homebuyers to $42,200 per home, down from $45,900 a year ago, and markedly better than the $52,600 in offered during the second fiscal quarter.
The company reported Monday that it lost $171.6 million, or 97 cents per share, in the three months ended in August. That includes 76 cents per share in write-downs and tax adjustments, and compares with a loss of $89 million, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier.
Revenue fell 35 percent to $720.7 million from $1.11 billion.
Analysts were expecting a loss of 46 cents a share on revenue of $774.4 million.
The Miami-based builder raised $99 million through a stock offering in the period and ended the quarter with a cash cushion of $1.34 billion and no outstanding borrowings under its credit facility.
On the Net:
Lennar Corp: http://www.lennar.com/
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