M/I Homes reported today that the company's new-homes deliveries slid 24 percent in the fourth quarter to 1,042 homes compared to 1,363 for the same quarter last year.

Deliveries slid 20 percent overall for the year ending Dec. 31, 2007 to 3,288 from 4,109 for calendar year 2006.

On the plus side, the sales value of homes in backlog at the end of 2007 was $233 million with backlog units of 748. This is compared to an end-of-2006 sales value of $533 million with backlog units of 1,523.

"Conditions continue to be challenging in our markets and are expected to remain so throughout 2008," said Robert H. Schottenstein, M/I's president and CEO in a press release regarding the company's preliminary earnings.

"For more than a year we have engaged in a predominantly defensive operating mode, focusing on reducing owned lots, operating costs, and debt levels," he explained. "We believe we have significantly improved our financial position heading into 2008," Schottenstein concluded.

M/I will hold its fourth-quarter earnings conference Feb. 7 at 4 p.m. eastern time.