Buy Low, Cross Fingers!

Given the state of the housing market, it’s not surprising that Meritage Homes Corporation (MTH), a big builder of luxury homes out West, reported a net loss of $119M for the last quarter. In this lengthy press release yesterday (containing an error that was corrected today), Meritage announced that its revenues from home closings were down 34% from third quarter 2006, with breathtaking declines of 65% in Nevada, 58% in Arizona, and 50% in California. And in a pessimistic-sounding move, the company took substantial write-offs of goodwill based on its expectation that ‘”he downturn of the housing market will be deeper and longer than previously anticipated.”

Nevertheless, Meritage threw in this cheery quote from Chairman and CEO Steven Hilton, exclamation point and all: “For those considering a home purchase as a long-term investment, and eager to enjoy the many benefits of home ownership, we hope they conclude that now is a great time to buy a home!”

Thanks, Steve, but I think I’m going to pass.