• Adjusted Net Income of $1.14 Per Share
• Net New Orders Increased 33% to 5,691 Homes
• Closings Increased 2% to 6,822 Homes
• Home Sale Revenues Increased 1% to $2.9 Billion
• Unit Backlog Up 20% to 10,507 Homes
• Backlog Value Increased 18% to $4.5 Billion
• Year-end Cash Balance of $1.2 Billion; Debt-to-Total Capitalization Decreased to 33.6%
• Company Announces Purchase of Off-site Framing-Shell Manufacturer
Reported net income for the fourth quarter of 2018 was $238 million, or $0.84 per share. Adjusted net income for the fourth quarter of 2018 was $314 million, or $1.11 per share, after excluding $85 million of pre-tax land charges and a $16 million pre-tax charge for a Financial Services reserve adjustment.
“As demonstrated by our 33% increase in orders, the recovery in housing demand that began earlier this year gained momentum through the fourth quarter as we realized strong sales across all buyer groups,” said Company President and CEO Ryan Marshall. “The quarter completes an outstanding year during which we continued to invest in growing our business, generated $1.1 billion in operating cash flow, returned $397 million to shareholders, paid down $310 million of homebuilder debt, and realized a 20.0% return on equity.”
“Strong demand for new homes is benefitting from favorable market dynamics including improved affordability in part due to low mortgage rates, high employment and consumer confidence, and a generally balanced inventory of new homes,” added Marshall. “The sustained strength in housing demand allowed us to deliver strong fourth quarter and full-year results, and has PulteGroup well positioned to increase delivery volumes, revenues, homebuilding gross margins and earnings in 2020.”
Fourth Quarter Results
Home sale revenues for the fourth quarter increased 1% over the fourth quarter of 2018 to $2.9 billion. Higher revenues for the period reflect a 2% increase in closings to 6,822 homes, partially offset by a less than 1% decrease in average sales price to $429,000.
Home sale gross margin for the fourth quarter was 22.8%, compared with prior year reported and adjusted gross margins of 21.5% and 23.8%, respectively.
Reported fourth quarter SG&A expense of $262 million, or 8.9% of home sale revenues, included a $31 million pre-tax benefit from an insurance-reserve adjustment recorded in the period. Exclusive of this benefit, adjusted SG&A expense for the quarter was $293 million, or 10.0% of home sale revenues. SG&A expense for the fourth quarter of 2018 was $292 million, or 10.1% of home sale revenues.
Net new orders for the quarter increased 33% over the fourth quarter of 2018 to 5,691 homes as results benefitted from both increased community count and higher absorption pace. The value of net new orders increased 35% to $2.5 billion, up from $1.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. Average community count for the fourth quarter was 865 communities, compared with 825 communities in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Unit backlog is up 20% over last year to 10,507 homes, while the backlog dollar value increased 18% to $4.5 billion. The decrease in the average price of homes in backlog reflects the Company’s efforts to modestly expand its first-time buyer business which typically carries a lower sales price.
Pre-tax income for the Company’s Financial Services operations was $34 million compared with $5 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. Results for the fourth quarter of 2018 included a $16 million pre-tax charge for a reserve adjustment recorded in the period. The increase in pre-tax income for the period also reflects a strong margin environment, higher loan volumes resulting from growth in the Company’s homebuilding operations and a higher mortgage capture rate. Capture rate for the fourth quarter increased to 84% from 77% last year.
During the quarter, the Company repurchased 0.8 million of its common shares for $30 million, or an average price of $39.16 per share. For the year, the Company repurchased 8.4 million common shares, or 3% of its outstanding shares, for $274 million, or an average price of $32.52 per share.
At year end, the Company had $1.2 billion of cash and a debt-to-total capitalization of 33.6%, which is down from 38.6% at the end of 2018.
Company Acquires Off-site Framing-Shell Manufacturer
In a separate press release, PulteGroup also announced today that it has acquired the assets of Innovative Construction Group (ICG), a leading off-site solutions provider focused on single family and multifamily wood framed construction. Based in Jacksonville, Florida, ICG’s comprehensive framing solutions include design services, manufactured wall panels, roof trusses and floor systems, and onsite installation to provide a full frame shell construction process. ICG will remain a stand-alone operation and continue serving its existing customer base and builder clients.
“In response to ongoing labor constraints which are impacting construction trades throughout the country, we have made the strategic decision to acquire off-site manufacturing capabilities that we believe can help us drive greater production efficiencies,” said Marshall. “We view this acquisition as a logical next step in the common plan management platform we have been advancing for years and see the potential to open comparable production plants in future years.”
A conference call discussing PulteGroup's fourth quarter 2019 results is scheduled for Tuesday, January 28, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Interested investors can access the live webcast via PulteGroup's corporate website at www.pultegroupinc.com.
This press release includes “forward-looking statements.” These statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause our actual results, performance, prospects or opportunities, as well as those of the markets we serve or intend to serve, to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these statements. You can identify these statements by the fact that they do not relate to matters of a strictly factual or historical nature and generally discuss or relate to forecasts, estimates or other expectations regarding future events.
Generally, the words “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “project,” “may,” “can,” “could,” “might,” “should”, “will” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, including statements related to any impairment charge and the impacts or effects thereof, expected operating and performing results, planned transactions, planned objectives of management, future developments or conditions in the industries in which we participate and other trends, developments and uncertainties that may affect our business in the future.
Such risks, uncertainties and other factors include, among other things: interest rate changes and the availability of mortgage financing; competition within the industries in which we operate; the availability and cost of land and other raw materials used by us in our homebuilding operations; the impact of any changes to our strategy in responding to the cyclical nature of the industry, including any changes regarding our land positions and the levels of our land spend; the availability and cost of insurance covering risks associated with our businesses; shortages and the cost of labor; weather related slowdowns; slow growth initiatives and/or local building moratoria; governmental regulation directed at or affecting the housing market, the homebuilding industry or construction activities; uncertainty in the mortgage lending industry, including revisions to underwriting standards and repurchase requirements associated with the sale of mortgage loans; the interpretation of or changes to tax, labor and environmental laws which could have a greater impact on our effective tax rate or the value of our deferred tax assets than we anticipate; economic changes nationally or in our local markets, including inflation, deflation, changes in consumer confidence and preferences and the state of the market for homes in general; legal or regulatory proceedings or claims; our ability to generate sufficient cash flow in order to successfully implement our capital allocation priorities; required accounting changes; terrorist acts and other acts of war; and other factors of national, regional and global scale, including those of a political, economic, business and competitive nature. See the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, and the Company’s other public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a further discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties applicable to our businesses. The Company undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or changes in PulteGroup’s expectations.
PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM), based in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of America’s largest homebuilding companies with operations in more than 40 markets throughout the country. Through its brand portfolio that includes Centex, Pulte Homes, Del Webb, DiVosta Homes, American West and John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, the company is one of the industry’s most versatile homebuilders able to meet the needs of multiple buyer groups and respond to changing consumer demand. PulteGroup conducts extensive research to provide homebuyers with innovative solutions and consumer inspired homes and communities to make lives better.
For more information about PulteGroup, Inc. and PulteGroup brands, go to pultegroup.com; www.pulte.com; www.centex.com; www.delwebb.com; www.divosta.com; www.jwhomes.com and www.americanwesthomes.com. Follow PulteGroup, Inc. on Twitter: @PulteGroupNews.