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Housing Collapse? Exclusive Benzinga Earnings Data Suggests Otherwise

The second-quarter reporting season is entering its final leg, and data suggests the earnings growth of S&P 500 companies may have tapered off to the slowest pace since the fourth quarter of 2020.

What Happened: Homebuilders have shown a surprisingly resilient earnings performance, according to analysis of data compiled by Benzinga.
Out of the companies that have reported thus far, 91.7% revealed earnings per share that beat estimates. The remaining 8.3% reported earnings misses. Among the notable homebuilders reporting positive earnings surprises were:

  • Atlanta, Georgia-based residential homebuilder Beazer Homes USA, Inc. NYSE:BZH reported earnings per share of $1.76, ahead of the consensus estimate of $1.42. The earnings, however, came from cost control as revenue declined year-over-year. Commissions paid also fell. Among other key metrics, new home orders were down 22.9% at 925 in the second quarter.
  • Meritage Homes Corporation NYSE:MTH, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based homebuilder, reported 11% revenue growth and EPS of $6.77, ahead of the $5.87 consensus estimate. The number of units of homes closed fell 2% but home closing revenue rose 11%, reflecting higher home prices. The company refrained from providing full-year guidance, citing the lack of visibility into the market.
  • Texas-based homebuilder LGI Homes, Inc. NASDAQ:LGIH announced an 8.6% decline in homebuilding revenue and EPS of $5.24, ahead of the $4.29 per share consensus estimate. Home closings fell 29%, but average sales price increased by 28.7%.
  • Reston, Virginia-based NVR, Inc. NYSE:NVR, however, reported below-consensus EPS.

Most major homebuilders are scheduled to report in the coming days.

Read Elon Musk's cautionary remarks on the U.S. housing market

State Of Housing Market: U.S. home prices have skyrocketed in recent months despite higher mortgage rates and an increase in home supply.

A typical U.S. home's value has reached $354,165, up by 19.8% from a year ago, according to real estate marketplace Zillow.

Higher mortgage rates in the wake of the Fed's monetary policy normalization and fears of a protracted recession are pressuring the sector.

Pending home sales data released by the National Association of Realtors showed an 8.6% year-over-year drop. The metric is considered a leading indicator of home sales, as it measures the change in the number of homes under contract to be sold.

NAR's existing home sales data for June also showed a year-over-year decline for the month, with sales falling for a fifth straight month.

Falling housing affordability was attributed as the reason for the slip in sales by NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi warned of a worsening of the situation.

"The U.S. housing market is about to enter a 'deep freeze,' as surging borrowing rates and stubbornly high prices lock out a growing number of buyers," Zandi said, according to Business Insider.

The earnings beat by early reporters among the homebuilders should, therefore, should be taken with a pinch of salt.

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