Luxury home builder Toll Bros. Inc. on Tuesday announced a 41% drop in sales in its fiscal fourth quarter, and its chief executive joined the industry chorus that is calling for quick government action to revive the housing market.
Chief Executive Robert Toll said the preliminary signs of market stability he saw in early September were reversed by the financial crisis. Fears of job losses, a large decline in consumer spending and the plummeting stock market "all contributed to drive our cancellations up" 30%, while demand and home shopper traffic in October fell to "record lows."
The pain is being felt throughout the industry.
On Tuesday, Stuart Miller, president and chief executive of Lennar Corp., said the housing market remained hobbled by rising foreclosures and tightened lending standards, which have left people who would like to buy a home hard-pressed to scrape together down payments.
"At the end of the day, my thesis continues to be that the way we find ourselves on the other side of this is through some form of government intervention," said Miller, speaking at the UBS Building and Building Products Sixth Annual CEO Conference.