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Slumping housing market hurts Brookfield Add to ...

Brookfield Homes Corp. , a U.S. home builder 58-per-cent owned by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc. , has reported a $10-million (U.S.) first-quarter loss amid the rubble of the U.S. housing market.

Revenue slid to $37-million, down 46 per cent from $69-million in the first three months of last year. The number of sales Brookfield Homes closed during the January-March quarter fell to 74 from 120, and the average price tumbled to $483,000 from $571,000.

The latest quarter included a $12-million writedown of housing and land joint ventures, and a $4-million impairment of housing and land inventory.

The net loss was worth 39 cents per share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $12-million, or 47 cents per share.

New home orders during the quarter fell by one-third from a year ago, to 153 from 231, though they were up from 98 in the seasonally slow fourth quarter.

"The company has not invested significantly in development of land and does not expect to until there is a meaningful reduction in current inventories," stated Brookfield Homes, which focuses on "move-up and luxury home buyers" in northern and southern California and the Washington, D.C., area.

"While some measured improvement occurred in March and April sales, the North American home building industry continues to face a number of challenges," management commented.

"Home foreclosures continue to increase inventories and have caused sharp declines in new-home sales," the company added. "Having said that, the company's assets are largely located in geographic areas with a constrained supply of lots and which have demonstrated strong economic characteristics over the long term."

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