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RED BANK, NJ-Homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises late yesterday reported a Q4 loss of $117.9 million, or $1.88 per share for the period ended Oct. 31. A year earlier, the company had netted a profit of $165.4 million, or $2.53 per share. Company officials blamed the general downturn in the housing market.

“We didn’t anticipate the suddenness or magnitude of the fall in pricing,” Ara Hovnanian, the company’s president/CEO told analysts. “Our profitability and the pace of new home sales in our markets continue to be adversely impacted by high contract cancellation rates, increases in resale listings and increases in new homes available for sale.”

For the company, which builds homes in 17 states including New Jersey, New York, California and Florida, the Q4 results include $315 million in charges tied to inventory impairments and land option write-offs. The overall results come on the basis of revenues of $1.75 billion, a 1.5% drop from the $1.77 billion recorded a year earlier. And for the full FY2006, Hovnanian’s net income was $138.9 million, or $2.14 per share, compared to $469.1 million, or $7.16 a year earlier.

Company officials also reported yesterday that, excluding joint ventures, Hovnanian delivered 17,940 homes in FY2006 with an aggregate value of $5.9 billion. The year-earlier numbers were 16,274 and $5.2 billion.

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