Centex (NYSE:CTX), based in Dallas, after market close Tuesday reported a net loss of $664 million (-$5.34 per share) for its fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to a loss of $976 million (-$7.95 per share) in last year's fiscal third quarter. The loss included $590 million of impairments and land-related charges, including Centex's share of joint venture impairments, compared to $554 million of impairments and other land-related charges in last year's third quarter. The company also took a $239 million charge to deferred tax assets.

In the home building segment, revenues were $843 million, 53% lower than the same quarter last year, as a result of a 49% decrease in closings to 3,405 homes and a 10% decrease in average sales price to $241,244. Home building reported an operating loss of $595 million for the quarter, narrower than last year's third-quarter loss of $625 million. The operating loss includes the $590 million of impairments and write-offs.

New orders tumbled 80% to 1,080 during the quarter from 5,537 at the same time last year. Backlog was down 46% to 4,628 units with an aggregate value of $1.22 billion, down 46% from $2.27 billion last year.

The financial services sector reported an operating loss of $14 million this quarter, narrowed from a loss of $60 million in last year's third quarter.Included in this quarter's loss was a $7 million net increase in loan loss reserves.

Centex ended the quarter with a cash balance of $1.47 billion, up from $62 million at the same time last year, and it reduced home building SG&A expenses by 56% or $142 million. It also reduced its owned lot position by 32% to 59,163 lots.

"Although the declining economy caused unprecedented buyer hesitancy early in the quarter, we successfully adjusted to the difficult sales environment and made progress on key initiatives," said Timothy R. Eller, chairman and CEO, in a statement. "We ended the quarter with a strong cash position of$1.47 billion and anticipate generating positive operating cash flow in the fourth quarter and for fiscal year 2010. Also, we continued to move with urgency to reduce our cost structure, accelerating overhead reductions and further reducing land-related spending."

He added, "I am pleased that combined corporate and homebuilding SG&A was down 48% from last year's third quarter. We are accelerating our overhead and headcount adjustments to align with the current sales environment.Overhead costs will continue to come down."

Shares of Centex were down 2.5% to $8.95 in after hours trading at 5:31 p.m. Tuesday.