M/I Homes, Columbus, Ohio (NYSE:MHO) on Thursday reported a net loss of $17.0 million, or -$0.92 per share, for the first quarter ended March 31, compared to a net loss of $8.3 million, or -$0.45 per share during the first quarter of 2010. The loss included $11.1 million of impairments, compared with $3.2 million in the prior-year quarter.

Analysts were expecting a loss of 31 cents per share, more in line with the adjusted pre-tax loss from operations of $5.9 million.

Revenues fell 7.4% to $110.6 as closings dropped 8% to 439 and the average closing price remained virtually flat at $243,000.

New orders declined 15% to 654. The cancellation rate fell to 16% from 18% in the comparable quarter last year.

Backlog at March 31, 2011 was down 20.2% to 747 units with a sales value of$188 million, down 23.9%. M/I had 111 active communities at quarter's end, up from 109 at the end of last year's quarter and 110 at yearend, 2010.

Gross margin fell to $7.1 million from $17 million in the prior-year quarter, on an adjusted percentage basis 16.3% versus 17.3%. SG&A fell to approximately $20 million from $23.5 million for last year's quarter.

Lot count increased to 10,087 (7,634 owned, 2,453 optioned) during the quarter from 9,785 (7,306 owned, 2,479 optioned) at the end of last year's quarter.

The company ended the quarter with a cash balance of $127 million, including $80 million of unrestricted cash, and no balance on its credit facility.Debt rose to $244.4 million from $205.6 million. The net debt-to-net-capital ratio was 33%, up from 23% at the same time in 2010.

"Housing conditions remained challenging during the first quarter as demand for new homes continued to be impacted by sluggish employment growth and uncertain macroeconomic conditions," said Robert H. Schottenstein, president and CEO. "We opened 12 new communities during the quarter and continue to be encouraged by their contribution level. We also continued to diversify our geographic footprint by further expanding our presence in Texas via our previously announced acquisition of the assets of San Antonio based TriStone Homes."

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Columbus, OH.