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 PHOENIX, Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Del Webb Corp. (NYSE: WBB) today reported higher new home closings and unit backlog for its first quarter ended Sept. 30, 1993, on continued strength in its Arizona and Nevada operations. Total net orders for the period were down slightly due to an expected decline in orders at the company's Sun City Palm Springs development, located in the economically troubled Southern California market. Net new orders at the company's Arizona and Nevada operations were up 36 percent.
 Company-wide, Del Webb delivered 595 new homes during the first quarter, up 24 percent from the prior-year's period, with strong performances from each of the company's Sun City developments in Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., and Las Vegas. Coventry Homes, the company's conventional home builder, delivered 97 new homes during the quarter, off 18 percent from the year-earlier period, due to production delays caused by a shortage of construction labor in the Phoenix market.
 Del Webb wrote 763 net new orders during the first quarter, off 2 percent from the prior-year's period, due entirely to a 78 percent decline in new orders at Sun City Palm Springs. The company's other Sun City communities and Coventry Homes all reported significant sales increases. The anticipated year-over-year decline at the Palm Springs community was particularly steep as Sun City Palm Springs opened for sales in the first quarter of fiscal year 1993, converting previously arranged reservations into 226 of its 257 new orders that quarter. Subsequent quarters have produced a lower average number of net new orders, reflecting continued difficult selling conditions that are apparent throughout the depressed Southern California housing market.
 Del Webb's total backlog of undelivered homes under contract rose by 309 units in the first quarter, up 20 percent from the year-earlier period. Total contract value rose to a record $292 million.
 Phil Dion, Del Webb's chairman and chief executive officer, said the company's widely known active-adult communities in Arizona and Nevada were benefiting from the strengthening housing market in the Southwest.
 "These results support our decision to expand into other new housing niches within the Southwestern markets we know so well," Dion added. "That effort continues with the development of Terravita in North Scottsdale, a master-planned community of 1,400 units with new home deliveries planned in summer 1994.
 Dion also noted that persistent economic problems throughout Southern California would likely continue to depress results at the company's Palm Springs community for at least the next six months.
 The company will announce its first quarter revenue and earnings results later this month.
 In late August, the company announced that an anticipated decline in operating margins would impact its operations during the first quarter, resulting in earnings significantly lower than the 20 cents per share posted during the first fiscal quarter last year.
 Del Webb Corp. is the nation's leading builder of active adult communities with operations in the Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and Palm Springs, Calif., metropolitan areas.
 Selected Operating Data
 Three Months Ended
 Sept. 30, Change
 1993 1992 Amount Percent
 Operating Data:
 Number of net new orders:
 Sun City West 248 200 48 24.0 pct
 Sun City Tucson 78 54 24 44.4 pct
 Sun City Las Vegas 207 181 26 14.4 pct
 Sun City Palm Springs 56 257 (201) (78.2 pct)
 Total active adult
 communities 589 692 (103) (14.9 pct)
 Coventry Homes 174 84 90 107.1 pct
 Total new home sales
 orders 763 776 (13) (1.7 pct)
 Number of home closings:
 Sun City West 250 176 74 42.0 pct
 Sun City Tucson 63 41 22 53.7 pct
 Sun City Las Vegas 150 145 5 3.4 pct
 Sun City Palm Springs 35 N/A 35 (a)
 Total active adult
 communities 498 362 136 37.6 pct
 Coventry Homes 97 118 (21) (17.8 pct)
 Total home closings 595 480 115 24.0 pct
 At Sept. 30, Change
 1993 1992 Amount Percent
 Backlog Data:
 Homes under contract (backlog):
 Sun City West 663 508 155 30.5 pct
 Sun City Tucson 283 239 44 18.4 pct
 Sun City Las Vegas 488 376 112 29.8 pct
 Sun City Palm Springs 146 257 (111) (43.2 pct)
 Total active adult
 communities 1,580 1,380 200 14.5 pct
 Coventry Homes 288 179 109 60.9 pct
 Total backlog 1,868 1,559 309 19.8 pct
 Aggregate contract sales
 amount (dollars in
 millions) $292 $243 $49 20.2 pct
 Average contract sales amount
 per home (dollars in
 thousands) $156 $156 --- ---
 (a) Not a meaningful percentage.
 -0- 10/4/93
 /CONTACT: Ken Plonski, 602-808-8171 (O), or 602-972-1210 (H)/

CO: Del Webb Corp. ST: Arizona IN: CST SU:

EH-JL -- SD006 -- 8566 10/04/93 17:29 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 4, 1993

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