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MTH > SEC Filings for MTH > Form 10-Q on 31-Oct-2012All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for MERITAGE HOMES CORP

Form 10-Q for MERITAGE HOMES CORP


31-Oct-2012

Quarterly Report


Item 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and
Results of Operations

Overview and Outlook
During the first nine months of 2012, the overall housing market appears to have stabilized and began to improve largely driven by increasing consumer confidence levels related to the homebuilding industry, continued excellent housing affordability based on historical metrics, decreasing inventory home levels in many markets, and higher consumer confidence in the overall economy. Individual markets continue to experience varying results as local economic and employment situations strongly influence the local market demand and homebuying abilities; however, most of the markets in which we operate have shown positive indications of a sustainable recovery, particularly those markets most affected by the downturn, including California, Arizona and Florida. We continue to focus on successfully differentiating ourselves from our competition, largely comprised of resale homes, through our extreme energy efficient offerings, innovative technology, ability to personalize our homes and by providing a home warranty. Overall, our positive results in the third quarter have strengthened our financial position, with solid improvements in nearly all of our key operating metrics, including increases in closings, averages sales prices, orders, backlog, gross margin and net earnings.
Summary Company Results
In addition to overall increased customer demand, we also attribute our improving trends to investments in new communities in desirable submarkets and our Meritage Green energy efficiency initiatives. As our results demonstrate and as buyer demand strengthens, we continue to initiate price increases in a majority of our communities, which we expect will more


Table of Contents

than offset construction cost increases and improve our bottom-line results in upcoming quarters. We continue to focus on growing our land positions and increasing our active community count to meet additional demand in most of our markets.
In the third quarter of 2012 our positive momentum continued as we recorded 1,204 orders and 1,197 closings, increases of 32.9% and 42.5%, respectively over the third quarter of 2011. The sustained positive trends in volume are coupled with an increase in our orders per average active community up 27.4% versus the same period in 2011 to 7.9 orders per average active community. Our improved beginning backlog and the increase in orders over the last several months both contributed to an ending backlog of 1,618 units valued at $489.5 million which we believe is indicative of increased demand and consumer confidence, and which should translate into higher revenues and profitability moving into the last fiscal quarter of 2012. While we believe our current operating results indicate a recovering and stronger housing market, we recognize that we are still operating in a volatile economic environment but are cautiously optimistic about our future operational outlook. We believe the housing market will continue to strengthen given a modestly improving overall economy.
Total home closing revenue was $334.9 million and $820.2 million for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012, increasing 53.9% and 33.3%, respectively, from the same periods last year. The quarterly increase is mainly driven by the 357 additional closing units for the quarter ended September 30, 2012 as compared to the same period last year and was further aided by an 8.0% increase in average sales prices of $20,800, increasing total revenue by $117.3 million over prior year. For the nine months ended September 30, 2012, increased closings of 624 units were boosted by a 5.6% increase in average sales price of $14,500 as compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2011. The increased sales prices were driven primarily by a shift in order mix to higher priced states and larger homes. We reported net income of $6.8 million and $10.0 million for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012, as compared to net loss of $3.2 million and $9.3 million for the same periods in 2011, respectively. Our quarterly and year-to-date income in 2012 included a one-time charge related to a litigation accrual of $8.7 million. Additionally, our year-to-date 2012 results include a $5.8 million loss from early extinguishment of debt and a $5.2 million tax benefit primarily due to the reversal of most of the company's deferred state tax asset in Florida. There were no similar charges in 2011. We expect improving bottom-line results for the remainder of 2012, as indicated by our higher ending backlog, improved sales pace and average sales prices.
At September 30, 2012, our backlog of $489.5 million reflects an increase of 69.7% or $201.0 million when compared to backlog at September 30, 2011. The improvement reflects a 32.9% and 39.3% increase in unit orders in the first three and nine months of 2012, respectively, as well as higher average sales prices on home orders of 12.5% and 8.5% for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012, respectively, as compared to the same periods a year ago. In the third quarter of 2012, we were also able to maintain a relatively low cancellation rate on home orders at 13% of gross orders as compared to 17% in the same period a year ago.
Land Closing Revenue and Gross Profit
From time to time, we may sell certain land parcels to other homebuilders, developers or investors if we believe the sale will provide a greater economic benefit to us than continuing home construction or where we are looking to diversify our land positions in the specific geography. As a result of such sales, we recognized land closing revenue of $7.8 million, and $8.8 million for the three and nine months ending September 30, 2012, respectively as compared to $100,000 for the nine months ending September 30, 2011. The majority of the land sales are related to the divestiture of assets in Nevada associated with the wind-down of our operations in the market. We also recognized impairments related to land sales in the amount of $669,000 for the nine months ending September 30, 2012, compared to $127,000 of such impairments in the prior comparable period. All of our 2012 land sale impairments related to a land sale in connection with the wind-down of our Nevada operations. Company Actions and Positioning
As the homebuilding market stabilizes and recovers, we are focused on our main goals of re-growing our orders and revenue, generating profit and maintaining a strong balance sheet. To help meet these goals we continue to execute on the following initiatives:

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