D.R. Horton misses profit estimates on higher incentives; shares fall

Jan 23, 2024

By Ananta Agarwal

(Reuters) -D.R. Horton Inc missed estimates for its first-quarter profit on Tuesday, as it offered higher incentives and cut base price on new homes to spur demand lagging due to higher mortgage rates, sending the U.S. homebuilder’s shares down 8.5%.

Among a string of incentives offered by U.S. homebuilders, mortgage rate buydowns – a permanent or temporary interest rate reduction on a home loan – have become popular among customers looking to buy new homes.

The buydowns are, however, adding pressure on the industry’s gross margins and offsetting homebuilders’ gains from higher sales. D.R. Horton saw roughly 70% of its buyers utilize rate buydowns, up about 10% sequentially.

It expects second-quarter gross margins to remain flat in the range of 22.6% to 23.1%, as near-term incentive levels remain elevated due to “continued affordability challenges,” the company said on a post-earnings call with analysts.

A majority of owners, locked in a 30-year fixed mortgage rate below 5%, are delaying upgrades as the current rates stand at about 6.6%.

The country’s largest homebuilder by volume reported a gross home sales margin of 22.9% in the first quarter ended December, below its forecast of 23.7% to 24.2%.

Net income attributable to the company of $2.82 per share also missed analysts’ average estimate of $2.88 per share, according to LSEG data.

The results dragged down other homebuilders. Lennar and PulteGroup fell about 4% each.

D.R. Horton, however, reported first-quarter revenue of $7.72 billion, above analysts’ average estimate of $7.59 billion, as tight supply of existing homes in the United States pushed buyers to turn to new construction.

The company also raised its forecast for full-year home sales. It now expects full-year home sales to be in the range of 87,000 to 90,000 units, compared with a prior forecast of 86,000 to 89,000 homes.

(Reporting by Ananta Agarwal and Rupali Chaudhary in Bengaluru; Editing by Shweta Agarwal, Anil D’Silva and Shinjini Ganguli)


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