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Beazer Homes swings to a loss in Q1

Atlanta-based builder Beazer Homes posted a first-quarter net loss of $48.8 million, compared with net income of $48 million in the same quarter last year.

Sales were down 48% to $110.3 million in the first quarter, which ended Dec. 31.

"As we anticipated, conditions remained very challenging in the home-building sector during our first quarter," said Ian McCarthy, president and CEO of Beazer Homes, in a prepared statement. "Despite low interest rates and excellent home price affordability, demand for new homes remained at exceptionally low levels."

New home orders decreased 29.3% to 540, and the number of homes closed declined 43.6% to 527.

McCarthy said the company is hopeful that this year will bring a cyclical recovery to housing demand.

"While actual and potential foreclosures will likely keep home prices under pressure for some time, the steady increase in residential rents provides potential home buyers with an increasingly attractive option in homeownership," he said. "With no significant debt maturities until 2015, a very substantial cash position, an excellent finished lot position and improving home buyer sentiment, we believe we are well positioned to participate in the eventual housing recovery."

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