D.R. Horton, Houston (NYSE:DHI) on Friday reported a net loss for its fourth fiscal quarter ended September 30 of $8.9 million (-$0.03 per diluted share), compared with a loss of $234.9 million (-$0.74 per share) for the comparable quarter in 2009. The loss included $30.8 million in pre-tax charges to cost of sales for inventory impairments and land option cost write-offs. Analysts were expecting a loss of four cents per share.

For the fiscal year ended September 30, Horton reported net income of $245.1 million ($0.77 per diluted share), including $64.7 million in pre-tax charges to cost of sales for inventory impairments and land option cost write-offs and a tax benefit of $145.6 million. For fiscal 2009, the net loss was $549.8 million (-$1.73 per diluted share), which included $407.7 million in pre-tax charges for inventory impairments and land option cost write-offs.

Home building revenue for the quarter fell to $921.1 million from $1.01 billion in the prior year quarter as closings fell to 4,281 from 4,810. Home building revenue for fiscal 2010 totaled $4.3 billion, up from $3.6 billion for fiscal 2009. Homes closed in fiscal 2010 totaled 20,875 homes, compared to 16,703 homes in fiscal 2009.

Net sales orders for the quarter ended totaled 3,979 homes worth $817.5 million, down 20.5% from 5,008 homes worth $1.0 billion for the prior-year quarter.The cancellation rate was 31%. Net sales orders for fiscal 2010 were 19,375 homes worth $4 billion compared to 17,034 homes worth $3.5 billion for fiscal 2009.

Backlog at quarter's end was 4,128 homes with a value of $850.8 million, down from 5,628 homes with a value of $1.1 billion at September 30, 2009.

Gross margin for the full fiscal year increased 420 basis points to 17.3%. The company did not break out a margin for the fourth quarter in its earnings release. SG&A fell to $121.8 million from $134.8 in the prior-year quarter.

The company had cash and marketable securities of $1.6 billion at quarter's end, down from $1.92 at the same time last year. It was carring $2.1 billion in long-term debt on the balance sheet at quarter's end, down from $3.1 billion September 30, 2009.

During the quarter, Horton paid at maturity the remaining principal amount of $51.9 million of its 9.75% senior notes and $11.3 million of its 9.75% senior subordinated notes. Also during the quarter, the Company repurchased a total of $69.4 million principal amount of its outstanding senior notes. Net debt-to-capitalization was down to 16.1% at the close of the fiscal year.

Donald R. Horton, chairman, said, "As we expected, market conditions in the homebuilding industry have been even more challenging after the expiration of the tax credit at the end of April. We will continue to focus on providing affordable homes, controlling our costs and contracting for new communities with attractively priced finished lots.