Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE:MTH) Q2 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Jul 25, 2019 • 10:30 am ET
Good morning and welcome to the Meritage Homes Second Quarter 2019 Analyst Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]. Please note, this event is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Brent Anderson, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead.
Thank you, Jeff. Good morning and welcome to our analyst call to discuss our second quarter 2019 results. We issued the press release yesterday after the market closed and you can find it along with the slides that we'll be referring to during this call on our website at investors.meritagehomes.com or select the Investor Relations link at the bottom of our homepage.
I'll refer you to Slide 2 and remind you that our statements during this call as well as the press release and slides, contain forward-looking statements, including our projections for 2019 operating metrics such as home closings, closing revenue margins, as well as overhead and diluted earnings per share in addition to our expectations of our market trends.
Those and other projections represent the current opinions of management which are subject to change at any time and we assume no obligation to update them. Any forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain. Our actual results may be materially different than our expectations due to a wide variety of risk factors, which we have identified and listed on this slide, as well as in our press release and most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, specifically our 2018 Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent 10-Qs, which contain a more detailed discussion of those risks.
We have also provided a reconciliation of certain non-GAAP financial measures referred to in our press release or presentation as compared to their closest related GAAP measures. With me today to discuss our results are Steve Hilton, Chairman and CEO of Meritage Homes; Hilla Sferruzza, Executive Vice President and CFO; and Phillippe Lord, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Meritage Homes.
We expect to conclude the call within an hour and a replay will be available on our website within approximately one hour after we conclude the call. It will remain active through May 8.
I'll now turn it over to Mr. Hilton to review our second quarter results. Steve?
Steven J. Hilton
Thank you, Brent, and welcome to everyone participating on our call today. I'll begin on Slide 4. We had another solid quarter and are pleased with the results we delivered through the first half of 2019
We delivered strong year-over-year order growth, driven mainly by an increase in orders per community from our strategic service to lower-priced homes. Our total orders for the second quarter were 22% higher than last year and our year-to-date orders are up 14% over 2018. Our average community count was up just 2% in the second quarter of 2018 -- over the second quarter of 2018 and impressively our absorption rate of 10.6 orders per average community was up 19% higher than last year's 8.9 and sequentially better than our first quarter's absorption of