By Emily Gillespie
December 4, 2018

Toll Brothers, the nation’s leading builder of luxury homes, reported its first drop in orders in four years, and in turn its stock price fell more than 10%, Reuters reports.

Despite analysts predicting a 6.5% rise, the news agency reports, the company said on Tuesday that its orders dropped 13.3% to 1,715 units during its quarter that ended in October.

The biggest decrease in orders for new homes came in California, which saw a 39.4% decrease during the quarter, Reuters reports. The company’s CEO Douglas Yearley said in a statement that the area has seen rising interest rates, “significant” price appreciation in recent years, and fewer foreign buyers.

Yearley also blamed the media for causing the dip.

“In November, we saw the market soften further, which we attribute to the cumulative impact of rising interest rates and the effect on buyer sentiment of well-publicized reports of a housing slowdown,” he said in a statement.

The market has gradually been in recovery since the housing crash in 2007 and 2008. Last year, in fact, housing stock rose 6.5%, the fastest growth in four years, with prices increasing with demand. Despite the upward trend, those in the industry remain weary. A Zillow survey earlier this year revealed that half of the real estate experts surveyed expect a recession by 2020.

The dismal numbers reported by Toll Brothers, which Reuters reports often come with a price tag of more than $2 million, adds to a growing amount of evidence that the slowing has begun.

Shares for other homebuilders were also down, Reuters reports, as October saw the lowest sales of new homes in two and a half years.

Toll Brothers, based in Pennsylvania, was named the “Most Admired Home Building Company” in the 2018 Fortune survey of the “World’s Most Admired Companies,” claiming the title for the fourth year in a row.

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