M/I Homes, Columbus, Ohio (NYSE:MHO) on Thursday morning reported preliminary results for the second quarter of 2008 that show a 36.7% drop in deliveries and a 23% decline in new home orders compared to the same quarter last year. Deliveries were off 34% and orders down 40% during this year's first quarter.

Deliveries fell to 478 from 755 during the second quarter of 2007, and new orders dropped to 530 from 688 at the same time last year. A bright spot in the report was a decline in the cancellation rate from 29% in 2007's second quarter to 22% this year. That rate, however, was down only marginally from 23% in the first quarter of 2008.

Backlog declined by nearly half--48.5%--year-over-year to 880 homes at the end of the quarter. Homes in backlog had a aggregate value of $254 million, down from $554 at this time last year. The average sales price of homes in backlog fell from $327,000 last year to $289,000 at the end of 2008's second quarter.

The company also further cut its community count in the second quarter, to 138, down from 161 at the end of last year's second quarter and down from148 at the end of this year's first quarter. The results reported exclude the company's West Palm Beach Division, which is now classified as a discontinued operation.

Regionally, deliveries fell across the board, down 29% to 227 in the Midwest, -52% to 110 in Florida, and -31% to 129 in the Mid-Atlantic region.Orders were down 25% in the Midwest to 248, up 1% in Florida 138 and down 33% in the Mid-Atlantic.

For the first half of 2008, M/I's new contracts declined 34% to 1,084, and deliveries fell 35% to 952.

M/I stock fell on the news and was trading down 2% at $13.21 at 10 a.m. The company is scheduled to report financial results on July 31.