Luxury home builder Toll Brothers Inc. (NYSE:TOL - News) on Tuesday slashed its forecast for home sales for the second time in three months, driving its shares down as much as 4 percent, as first-quarter new orders fell 29 percent on slumping demand.
Toll is widely seen as a bellwether for the U.S. housing market. Its deteriorating forecasts may indicate that the slowing U.S. housing market may be deteriorating faster than previously thought, Raymond James and Associates analyst Rick Murray said.
"This would seem to indicate that those trends have not reversed course, and perhaps have even accelerated to the downside," Murray said
Toll now said it expects to close on sales of 9,200 and 9,900 homes in the fiscal year, ending on October 31, down from a previously lowered view of 9,500 and 10,200 homes. It attributed its revision to slowing demand and delays obtaining inspections, certificates of occupancy and utility hookups.
New orders during the quarter fell to 1,572, from 2,209, while the value of the contracts declined 21 percent, to $1.16 billion.
Expect Toll Brothers' stock to continue to decline as the housing bubble continues to unfold.