Hov_hq_81206File photo of Hovnanian’s Red Bank HQ, as seen from the foot of Maple Avenue.

Amid a widespread credit shutdown, Hovnanian Enterprises said its fourth-quarter net loss quadrupled over year-ago results.

The Red Bank-based homebuilding company yesterday reported a net loss of $469 million in the quarter, compared to $118 million in the fourth quarter of 2006. Contract cancellations rose to 40 percent, from 35 percent in the third quarter. Revenue for the year was down more than 22 percent, to $4.58 billion, from $5.9 billion in fiscal 2006.

As a result, the company said it won’t pay a dividend this year on a class of preferred shares.

Still, the company saw a glimmer of better days to come after the fiscal quarter ended.

“After a very slow period for new sales contracts in October and November, we have experienced an improvement in sales pace during the first three weeks of December. This is encouraging given that December is historically a slower sales month,” President and Chief Executive Ara Hovnanian said in a statement.

The company has shed 47 percent of its land inventory since peaking in April 2006, and plans to reduce its holdings further this year.

Email this story