"With the rate on the benchmark 10-year Treasury rising above 5.1 percent on Wednesday, mortgage rates climbing and mortgage applications falling, it may get worse for home builders."
"Mortgage applications last week slid to their lowest level since November 2003, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, and interest rates were still at levels not seen since 2002."
'"The trends in housing are deteriorating," said Raymond James and Associates analyst Rick Murray. "But what's perhaps new is that maybe they are deteriorating faster than people had been anticipating."'
"Pulte Homes Inc. and Centex Corp. two of the largest U.S. home builders, on Wednesday reported higher quarterly profit but saw new orders tumble 11 percent, in further signs of a weakening U.S. home industry."
"After reporting quarterly results and their forecasts after the close of the stock market on Wednesday, Pulte Homes Inc. and Centex shares fell in after-hours activity, and took many other home builder stocks with them."
"Both Pulte and Dallas-based Centex, the No. 4 U.S. home builder, said the number of orders for new homes fell 11 percent in the quarter compared with the year-earlier quarter."
"Centex cut its forecast for the year and its stock was hammered in after-hours trading. Pulte, based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, maintained its forecast for 2006 of $6.00 to $6.25 per share."
"In after-hours trading on the Inet electronic brokerage system, Centex shares fell 6.2 percent to $56.97 from their close of $60.75 on the New York Stock Exchange."
"Pulte shares fell 1.2 percent to $38.59 from $39.04. Shares of luxury home builder Toll Brothers Inc. and KB Home both fell more than 2 percent. D.R. Horton Inc., the largest U.S. home builder, and Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. fell 1.6 percent in after-hours activity."
"Beazer Homes USA Inc. (BZH.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Thursday reported a fiscal second-quarter profit from a year-earlier loss, but a softening U.S. housing market pushed orders down 19 percent and the company lowered its forecast."
"Beazer, which sells homes largely to mortgage-rate sensitive, first-time home buyers, followed Pulte Homes Inc and Centex Corp. who late Wednesday also reported experiencing a decline in home buying as rising mortgage rates and housing prices pressures buyers."
"Closings rose in every region except the West, where a decline in California offset higher closings in Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. Orders for homes, fell 19.4 percent to 4,224, and were off 46.3 percent in the West. Sacramento, California, was particularly hard hit, as orders fell and cancellation rates rose."