Avatar Holdings lost $8.6 million, $0.99 a share, in the first quarter of 2009, deteriorating from the $872,000, $0.10 a share, it lost in the same quarter of 2008.

The Coral Gables, Fla.-based company closed on 34 homes in the quarter, a 48% decrease from the 65 it closed in the first quarter of last year. And most of them were sold at a loss, the company said in its Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday, May 11.

Margins for the company's traditional home products have fallen from 34% in 2006 to 8% in the first quarter of 2009. Its active-adult homes have held up better, with margins falling from 33% to 19%.

Sales contracts ticked up slightly in the first quarter compared to the year-ago same period, climbing 8% to 57 compared to 53. But the sales will come at a cost, the value of the contracts fell 16%.

The company's cash position, though, has remained relatively stable at $172.4 million.