Behind Horton's Numbers

Chris Palmeri

Fort Worth-based D.R. Horton Inc., the nation's largest home builder, reported disappointing results today, saying its orders for new homes had fallen 23% for the quarter ending Dec. 31, to 8,771 from 11,463 a year ago. The news follows a string of dismal result from builders including Lennar and Houvnanian. One glimmer of good news: the company said its cancellation rate had fallen to 33%, that's an improvement from the 40% experienced in the previous quarter. That's still twice the historical rate, however, an indication that many home buyers are still willing to walk away from their deposits than close on home they think will decline in price.

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