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Edited Transcript of TOL earnings conference call or presentation 10-Dec-19 4:00pm GMT

Q4 2019 Toll Brothers Inc Earnings Call

HORSHAM Dec 26, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Toll Brothers Inc earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 4:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Douglas C. Yearley

Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President

* Gregg L. Ziegler

Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & Treasurer

* James Boyd;Regional President

* Martin P. Connor

Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO

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Conference Call Participants

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* Christina Chiu

Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Research Associate

* Elad Elie Hillman

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst

* Ivy Lynne Zelman

Zelman & Associates LLC - CEO and Principal

* Jade Joseph Rahmani

Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - Director

* James A. Morrish

Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Analyst

* Jay McCanless

Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division - SVP of Equity Research

* John Gregory Micenko

Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division - Deputy Director of Research

* John Lovallo

BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - VP

* Kenneth Robinson Zener

KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst

* Mark Adam Weintraub

Seaport Global Securities LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst

* Michael Glaser Dahl

RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - MD of U.S. Homebuilders & Building Products

* Paul Allen Przybylski

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Associate Analyst

* Susan Marie Maklari

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Former Associate Director and Research Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good morning, and welcome to the Toll Brothers fourth quarter and fiscal year-end conference call. (Operator Instructions). Please note, today's event is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Doug Yearley, Chairman and CEO. Please go ahead, sir.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [2]

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Thank you, Rocco. Welcome, and thank you for joining us. With me today are Bob Toll, Chairman Emeritus; Marty Connor, Chief Financial Officer; Rob [Parahus]; and Jim Boyd, our new co-Chief Operating Officers, overseeing Toll East and Toll West, respectively; Fred Cooper, Senior VP of Finance and Investor Relations; Wendy Marlett, Chief Marketing Officer; and Gregg Ziegler, Senior VP and Treasurer.

Before I begin, I ask you to read the statement on forward-looking information in our earnings release and on our website. I caution you that many statements on this call are forward-looking based on assumptions about the economy, world events, housing and financial markets and many other factors beyond our control that could significantly affect future results. Those listening on the web can e-mail questions to investorrelations@tollbrothers.com.

Fiscal 2019 ended on a strong note, building on a steady improvement in buyer demand throughout the year. Our fourth quarter contracts were up 18% in units and 12% in dollars and our contracts per community were up 10% compared to 1 year ago. Through the first 6 weeks of fiscal year 2020's first quarter, we have seen even stronger demand than the order growth in fiscal year 2019's fourth quarter. This improving demand should positively impact gross margins over the course of fiscal 2020. We've reported fourth quarter home sales revenues of $2.3 billion with a 21.9% adjusted gross margin and net income of $202.3 million or $1.41 per share diluted. Our fiscal year-end backlog was $5.26 billion and 6,266 units, which was down 5% in dollars but up 3% in units from last year. We are positioning ourselves for growth as we expand our luxury brand to new price points, product lines and geographies. Our land position supports this strategy, and we believe provides the platform for continued growth in coming years. We now operate in 23 states and the District of Columbia. This year, we expanded our footprint into 4 new states and 7 new markets.

We acquired Sharp Residential to enter Metro Atlanta and Sabal Homes to enter Charleston, Greenville and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Both companies offer a wide range of price points to their customers. We also opened our first communities in Salt Lake City, Utah and Portland, Oregon, and we have land under contract in Tampa, Florida. We remain committed to our luxury niche. We will always be America's luxury home builder. We will continue to buy land and build communities at the corner of Main Street and Main Street and allow our customers to empower buyers to customize their homes through our unique design studio experience. This market is strong and demographic suggests it will grow over the next decade as millennials mature. We are also strategically focusing on more affordable luxury communities. 1/3 of our current communities offer a home with a base price of $500,000 or less. We believe we receive a premium for these homes because of our brand. This will position us for faster growth as we expand our product lines, price points and geographies.

While affordable luxury crosses all buyer segments, including move-up [and] active-adult, this initiative is driven in large part by a growing number of millennials who are older, more affluent and more discerning when they buy their first home. Think of it as a BMW 3 series, a great example of affordable luxury. In fact, in fiscal year 2019, over 20% of our closings had 1 purchaser, 35 years old or under. This strategy builds on our strong brand reputation and complements our focus on capital efficiency, as lower-priced, faster-paced communities tend to turn capital quicker. Our multifamily group, which develops upscale rental apartments and student housing in both suburban and urban locations across the country, continues to show impressive growth. Toll Brothers Apartment Living was named #14 largest and #1 fastest-growing apartment developer in the country in 2019 by the national multifamily Housing Council. We have a nationwide pipeline of over 20,000 units in various stages of development or operation, nearly all of which we undertake in joint ventures. Some of these projects will be held long-term and others will be sold upon completion.

Most recently, we entered the purpose-built single-family rental market in partnership with an experienced operator and a major financial institution, which we believe has great potential. As we enter our fiscal year 2020, the economy remains very supportive of housing. October housing starts were at their highest level since July of 2007, while the month's supply of homes on the market remains constrained. Consumer confidence is healthy. Household formations are strong and interest rates and unemployment remain low. With this positive environment as a backdrop, we are encouraged by the start of fiscal 2020. We are projecting 10% community count growth over the course of the year. With this growth, our well-established brand, our great land positions, our broadening geographic footprint and our increasingly diverse product lines and price points, we believe we are well positioned as we enter this new decade.

Now let me turn it over to Marty.

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [3]

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Thanks, Doug. Before I address the specifics of this quarter, I want to note that a reconciliation of the non-GAAP measures referenced during today's discussion to their comparable GAAP measures can be found in the back of our earnings release. I also want to note that our guidance is subject to our normal caveats on forward-looking statements. Q4 home sales gross margin was 18.8% of home sales revenue. Adjusted home sales gross margin, which excludes interest and inventory write-downs, was 21.9% of home sales revenue. These numbers are consistent with our guidance at third quarter end and are reflective of the challenged sales environment a year or so ago when we sold most of these just delivered homes.

SG&A as a percentage of home sales revenues was 9%. Income from operations was 9.5% of total revenues. Other income, income from unconsolidated entities and land sales gross profit was $48.4 million. Our balance sheet remains strong. We ended fiscal year '19 with $1.3 billion in cash and cash equivalents and had $1.7 billion available under our bank revolving credit facility. Benefiting from our strong reputation in the capital markets and favorable market conditions in fiscal year 2019's fourth quarter, we increased our bank revolving credit facility from $1.3 billion to $1.9 billion and extended the facility's maturity to 5 years, along with that of our $800 million bank term loan facility. During our fourth quarter, we also raised $400 million of 10-year 3.8% debt in the public capital markets, a portion of which we later used to retire $250 million of more expensive maturing public debt.

As we begin fiscal 2020, we have over $3 billion of liquidity through cash and undrawn bank credit facilities with no public or bank debt maturities in the next 24 months. Our weighted average debt maturity is 5.8 years. We have increased our focus on capital efficiency in our land acquisition process. By broadening our geographic footprint, price points and product types, we intend to also improve efficiency through quicker inventory turns and lower upfront land costs. We continue to execute on other capital efficiency initiatives as well. In fiscal year '19, we repurchased approximately 6.6 million shares of common stock at an average price of $35.28 for a total purchase price of approximately $233.5 million. In our fourth quarter, we purchased 1.85 million shares at $35.66 per share for approximately $66 million total. Fiscal year-end 2019 stockholder equity was $5.07 billion compared to $4.76 billion at fiscal year-end 2018.

And our fiscal year 2019 book value per share was $35.99 compared to $32.57 at fiscal year-end 2018. We ended fiscal year 2019 with a net debt-to-capital ratio of 32.9%.

Looking forward, we are projecting first quarter deliveries of between 1,650 and 1,850 units with an average price of between $800,000 and $820,000.

The drop in average price from $863,000 a year ago is strategic and reflects changes in mix as we execute on our geographic and product diversification strategy. It also reflects our increased focus on the affordable luxury segment and a reduction in the number and mix of homes being delivered in California to more lower-priced and attached homes. We project first quarter adjusted home sales gross margin of approximately 21.25% of home sales revenues. This first quarter gross margin should be the lowest of the fiscal year as most Q1 2020 deliveries were from contracts signed in the first half of fiscal 2019, which was our slowest period. Sales were down 21% in the first half of 2019 compared to 2018, and that challenged selling environment impacts gross margins in Q4 of '19 and Q1 of '20. As the latter half of 2019 and the beginning of this year have seen a progressive improvement in market conditions, we have been able to increase sales pace, and in many cases, increase price. And over the same period, building cost increases have slowed. For these reasons, we anticipate that our gross margin will increase modestly quarter-by-quarter as fiscal 2020 progresses.

With the stronger demand, particularly over the last 1.5 years, we want to carefully evaluate and understand how it impacts full fiscal 2020 results before providing full year unit deliveries, revenue and adjusted gross margin guidance. We project first quarter SG&A as a percentage of home sales revenues of approximately 13.5%. This includes approximately $10 million of G&A expense related to stock compensation that is not expected to occur in the subsequent quarters in fiscal 2020. With our projected 10% growth in community count, which involves investment in personnel and in other costs in advance of revenue generation, we would expect SG&A as a percentage of revenues to be modestly higher this fiscal year. Essentially, as we open new communities, we will incur some costs in advance of the revenue, but we believe this investment is appropriate and the resulting home sales revenue will provide SG&A leverage in future years.

First quarter other income, income from unconsolidated entities and land sales gross profit is expected to be approximately $15 million. We reiterate our expectation that we will generate $100 million to $150 million of such income annually and expect the same in fiscal 2020. We expect that the majority of this income will be realized in the last 2 quarters of the year. We project the first quarter and full year tax rate of approximately 26.5% and in Q1 fiscal year 2020 weighted average shares outstanding of 142.5 million shares. Now let me turn it back to Doug.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [4]

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Thank you, Marty. For the fifth consecutive year, we were named World's most admired homebuilder by Fortune Magazine. This honor is a tribute to all of our Toll Brothers colleagues. We thank them for their tremendous hard work. Now let's open it up for questions.

Rocco, we're ready.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) And today's first question comes from Ivy Zelman of Zelman & Associates.

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Ivy Lynne Zelman, Zelman & Associates LLC - CEO and Principal [2]

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Congrats on a solid quarter, guys, in an environment that is definitely looking a lot more positive than where we were a year ago. So it's nice to hear good news. Maybe we could just dig in a little bit on where we -- we've seen weakness and have started to see the reacceleration of demand a little bit more color around California. Your orders were still down double digits, and is that community count or absorption? A lot of concern, Doug, around SALT. And obviously, you commented that you do have pricing power in communities. So just maybe first question just drilling in on California, first please?

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [3]

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Sure. So just to give a bit of an update, Southern Cal was pretty flat to last year, Ivy, and it's running at about the company average for sales.

And for the first 6 weeks, so call it half of this quarter, this -- the quarter that we're now sitting in, we're encouraged that deposits are up, call it, low double-digit in So Cal. Northern Cal was down year-over-year, and that was primarily driven by a number of cancellations that we had -- that came through in Q4 from a large community outside of San Francisco, called Metro Crossing and those cancellations occurred because of weather that led to construction delays.

This is a significant multi condo, townhome community that had construction cycle time of 14 to 20 months that then with weather extended even as long as 2 years, and we had about 250 or more homes in backlog. And because of the weather delays, we lost some of those contracts. Thankfully, many of those were lost earlier, and the prices are actually up. But that issue was what led to a bit of a distorted drop in the California numbers because those [cans] came through pretty much in 1 quarter as the buildings are now delivering. And they threw the numbers off a bit. Overall, we're encouraged by what we see in California. It feels a lot better. Our mix is a bit different, as we mentioned, where the price is down a bit. But I think, for sure, California feels better than a year ago, even 6 months ago. So I hope that helps with a bit of an understanding about where we are in California.

Other top markets, just to help, about more recently, I'd say Boise is doing really well. Northern Virginia, Denver, Orlando, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York City Living feels better. Las Vegas, Reno, those sort of round out -- I'm not sure I gave you 10, but I gave you about 10, so they would be on top of the list.

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Ivy Lynne Zelman, Zelman & Associates LLC - CEO and Principal [4]

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Well, thank you for details. And just to have my follow-up and let others drill in on California, if they'd like in more detail of that was really helpful. I got what I needed. You guided for 10% community count growth over the next year, which is stronger than even we were anticipating. It's just great to see the growth coming. Can you talk about the mix of how that business evolves in terms of [many of] these communities opening in terms of like smaller square footage? I think you guys have done an excellent job of keeping luxury but providing a smaller square footage. So just trying to understand, like, what should we be thinking about absorption versus actual community count? And how that breaks down by price point a little bit?

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [5]

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Sure. So we expect to open 156, that's a very specific number, new communities this year. That obviously moves up and down with approvals and with new land we acquire. But obviously, that's a huge number. There's many that are selling out. So obviously, that's not the net number, but that's a lot of activity, and that also helps explain Marty's commentary on SG&A and how that can get out ahead of revenue coming in. In terms of locations, the top locations for those 156 new openings are Arizona, which for us is Phoenix, Philadelphia, Denver, Jacksonville, Seattle. Now there's many others that could hit the list, but I'm just giving you the top 5. Price point, it will continue to get wider and wider. We are fully committed to Main Street and Main Street, selling luxury, first, second move-up with the opportunity to truly customize your home. And that is a major part of the Toll Brothers business. However, there is more and more 3 series BMW, affordable luxury focused on a little bit older, more affluent millennials plus some move-ups and, frankly, some move-downs that aren't going to reach quite as high as a typical Toll house but are still chasing affordable luxury. So I think what you'll see is a modestly higher percentage of lower-priced communities that will have higher sales velocity because they're lower-priced and faster turns with less customization and smaller homes, we can build them more efficiently and faster.

And so that will get mixed in, but it is incremental. We've been at this now for a couple of years. It is accelerating but it is really just supplementing the core business of the traditional luxury move up.

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [6]

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Another point to make on our -- another point, Ivy, to make on that (inaudible) community count is that it's going to happen over the course of the year. I think in other of these calls, we've cited it as back-ended. This is a bit steadier over the course of the year.

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Ivy Lynne Zelman, Zelman & Associates LLC - CEO and Principal [7]

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Great. And just making sure I understand -- that sounds awesome. Just with respect to absorption growth for you looking at the existing business, are you comfortable saying that you can grow same-store on top of the community count at this time, based on what you see today?

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [8]

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Based on what we see today with our commentary on how the first 6 weeks of Q1 are even better than the sales growth we saw in Q4, yes. But we don't have that crystal ball as to how the balance of the year plays out. But right now, the macroeconomic environment is encouraging. Our land positioning is very encouraging. Our geographic growth is exciting. Our price points and product line diversity is strategic and exciting. So right now, we feel very good about the business.

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Operator [9]

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And our next question today comes from John Lovallo of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

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John Lovallo, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - VP [10]

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The first one is on gross margin, understanding that you did say that it's going to improve throughout the year and you don't want to give a full year look, but is it unreasonable to assume that as we trend through the year that we could exit the fourth quarter at somewhere closer to that 23.5% or 24%?

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [11]

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John, I don't think we're going to get into any particular numbers, but that 1 feels a bit aggressive.

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John Lovallo, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - VP [12]

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Okay, understood. And then just looking at the west and the south, which we know -- obviously, performances were very good from an order standpoint. Can you just help us understand some of the drivers there, maybe some of the key markets that helped support that growth?

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [13]

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Sure. So in the south where sales were up 49% that was primarily driven by Orlando, Jacksonville, Raleigh, and of course, the acquisitions of Sharp in Atlanta and Sabal in 3 markets in South Carolina. And in the west, which was up 46% in units that was driven by Boise and Denver. And then number 3 would be Phoenix. And remember, we entered Salt Lake City and Portland, which also contributed.

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John Lovallo, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - VP [14]

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Okay. That's helpful. If I could squeeze 1 quick one in here. On the land sales, the $87 million, it seems like it came in at a fairly low margin. Can you just give any color on that?

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [15]

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Yes, I think you'll see that in our income statement in the future, it really relates to finding joint venture partners for our apartments. So we will often buy the apartment land a few months before we find a partner, and the accounting rules are that we reflect that as land sales revenue and land sales cost when we sell it. Sometimes we sell it for a gain, but oftentimes, we'll sell it at our cost into the joint venture, and that's what happened in that quarter.

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Operator [16]

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And our next question today comes from Michael Dahl of RBC Capital Markets.

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Michael Glaser Dahl, RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - MD of U.S. Homebuilders & Building Products [17]

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Marty, just a quick clarification on the community count growth comment. You said it will be a bit steadier, is that in terms of the year-on-year growth rate steady each quarter around the 10% or a steady sequential build in the number of communities throughout the course of the year?

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [18]

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The 10% will happen evenly over the course of the year.

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Michael Glaser Dahl, RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - MD of U.S. Homebuilders & Building Products [19]

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Okay. Thanks for that. And the second question, just on Metro Crossing. I guess now that the project is starting to deliver on some of these buildings, I guess, a little surprised to see cancellations coming through, understanding that there's been significant delays, but it's still a supply-constrained market, and that's a pretty prime location. So pricings, I would imagine, up over the course of the life of the community so far as you've been selling. What have you heard as far as the rationale for the cancellations at this stage in the game? And then are you finding success maybe in these first 6 weeks of the first quarter at reselling some of the canceled units. Any additional color you could provide there would be great.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [20]

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Sure. So Metro Crossing is in Fremont. It's right next to the Tesla plant. It's at a new Bart Station. It is a spectacular location. And we are building $800 million plus or minus condos and townhomes in what feels like a village with multiple product lines within that high-density community and when we opened for sale, we were incredibly hot, and we quoted 18-month delivery. And because of significant weather delays that occurred in Northern Cal that I think we're all familiar with from last year, those buildings took 24 months to deliver. We lost 6 months. There were a number of buyers where their lifestyle changed, where they needed to move, where they wanted to move within the time frame that we quoted and they asked to get out. It is a small percentage of the 250-plus in backlog that we had right around 10%.

And we have backfilled many of those with new sales in some cases at higher prices because the community has seen significant price increases over those 24 months.

So that's the extent of it. And thankfully, that market is still very strong. We are now delivering, and prices are up.

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Michael Glaser Dahl, RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - MD of U.S. Homebuilders & Building Products [21]

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Okay. That's helpful. And it just seems like then the distortion is really just because it's low volume selling period and 25 or so cancellations actually makes difference.

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Operator [22]

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And our next question today comes from Matthew Bouley of Barclays.

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Christina Chiu, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Research Associate [23]

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This is actually Christina Chiu on for Matt today. My first question is regarding the first quarter gross margin guidance and commentary that 1Q margins would be the bottom for the year. Is this just attributed to a timing of deliveries from the first half? Or what's giving you confidence in margin improvement?

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Unidentified Company Representative, [24]

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Sure. It generally takes us 9 to 12 months to build a home. So the deliveries in the quarter we just had and the quarter that we're in are associated with sales that happened approximately a year ago, and that was the most challenged sales environment that we have seen in quite a while, and that results in a little lower price, maybe a little bit more incentive and thus, lower margins.

As the world has gotten better over the balance of 2019 and here into the first 6 weeks of 2020, we don't face those same market challenges, and it gives us optimism on gross margin.

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Christina Chiu, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Research Associate [25]

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Got it. And then on the California margin differential versus the remainder of your homebuilding business, how does the differential this quarter given the mix down in California that you mentioned earlier compare to what you've previously seen?

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [26]

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I think the California marketplace a year ago was hit a bit harder than many of the others. And so the margin there is down a couple of hundred points compared to where it has been in the past. But it is still higher than company average. And as we outlined on the first question, we are encouraged by California.

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Operator [27]

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And our next question today comes from Susan Maklari of Goldman Sachs.

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Susan Marie Maklari, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Former Associate Director and Research Analyst [28]

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My first question is just around the land strategy. Can you talk to any changes that we should expect in there especially as you do pursue this kind of shift to a wider ASP and a wider product range? Is there anything in terms of maybe optioning more lots or pursuing other means of kind of land acquisition that we should be aware of?

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [29]

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Sure, Susan. So we -- as we talked about in our opening comments, we're very focused on capital efficiency. And with that comes how you structure a land buy, trying to get option land over owned land with a land seller, where you can have a purchase money mortgage and pay for land over time. On occasion, we've gone to third parties to land bank land to increase the capital efficiency. And you will continue to see more and more of that from us. When we buy the expensive land at the corner of main and main, it is more difficult at times to do that. When we buy land for lower-priced luxury communities, affordable luxury, that may be in master planned communities. For example, where there are developers that will feed you finished lots on an as-needed basis, there is more opportunity to do that. Those lower-priced, affordable luxury homes will also turn faster. We should have more sales because of the price point. And of course, that returns capital quicker, and that also leads to more capital efficiency. So over time, you will see us with more diversity of land at more differing price points, which generally means more lower price points, and those deals structured with more options and less owned. In the fourth quarter, 32% of the lots that we put under option at a base price -- proposed base price of homes under $500,000. So I think that is fairly consistent with our strategy. That number has been like that for several quarters now. And I just think it shows as a supplement to our traditional main and main strategy, more and more affordable luxury that will be more capital efficient.

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [30]

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And that's a base price of $500,000, doesn't include options or lot premiums, et cetera.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [31]

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Correct. Correct.

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Susan Marie Maklari, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Former Associate Director and Research Analyst [32]

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Okay, great. That's very helpful. And then just as a follow-up, can you talk a little bit to what you've seen on the cost side of things in terms of labor and materials, it seems like lumber prices have come up a bit lately. How are you thinking about that heading into next year?

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [33]

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We're encouraged in that cost in the fourth quarter for both labor and materials were flat. And tariffs have not had an adverse impact.

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Operator [34]

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And our next question today comes from Truman Patterson of Wells Fargo.

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Paul Allen Przybylski, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Associate Analyst [35]

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Yes. Actually, it's Paul Przybylski. First, I was wondering if you could give us any color on the active-adult demand in the quarter and if the impeachment proceedings were weighing on that buyer's sentiment.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [36]

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Active-adult in Q4 was steady. It's a very important part of our business, and it's doing very well and it's expanding, as we've talked about, we're moving it into many new markets. We have a number of very exciting active-adult communities coming, one of which is in LA County, another very large one is in Phoenix. And no, I have not heard that the impeachment proceedings are weighing on that buyer. That's nothing that has gotten to me from anyone in the field and the sales results would not reflect any added concern or any from that demographic...

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [37]

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Or any buyer segment.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [38]

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Correct.

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [39]

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We haven't heard the impeachment proceedings until Paul just raised them.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [40]

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And if you look at the results we've been talking about for the last 4.5 months as those proceedings have been ongoing, they don't appear to have any adverse impact whatsoever.

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Paul Allen Przybylski, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Associate Analyst [41]

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Okay. As you look to improving your inventory returns to -- your inventory turns to improve your returns, is there anything you could do on the vertical capital side and increase your efficiency there to also aid that effort?

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [42]

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Paul, we're looking at that all the time. As you know, we have 5 panel and truss plants that very efficiently help us build houses in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. There's no new technology or extraordinary innovation that we have yet found in the industry. We're very involved in tracking all of that and even investing in some of that innovation that's coming to homebuilding, but for us, it's to continue to refine our architecture and make it as efficient as possible to have a very robust purchasing group that works very hard at driving prices down by having organized job sites where when contractors show up, the house is ready, they can get in and get out and make their money and, of course, taking advantage of the balance sheet to make sure we pay religiously every other Friday. And we will continue to build on those disciplines and hopefully, drive costs down.

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Paul Allen Przybylski, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Associate Analyst [43]

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And 1 real quick one. Is there any purchase accounting in the 1Q gross margin guide?

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [44]

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It's very modest, Paul.

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Operator [45]

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And our next question today comes from Jade Rahmani of KBW.

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Jade Joseph Rahmani, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - Director [46]

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I think in your opening remarks, you commented that City Living or perhaps it was in response to a question that City Living was seeing an uptick. I was wondering if you could comment on how you see things in the New York City condo market, some of the brokers have indicated sales seem to have picked up in November.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [47]

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Yes. So we're active in Hoboken, Jersey City and Manhattan. We're under beginning construction in Philadelphia for an exciting high-rise. We have a small mid-rise building in L.A., and we're about to begin a new high-rise in downtown Seattle. So right now, the revenue is coming out of New York and the Gold Coast of New Jersey. And as I remind you, we're not in the super luxury towers. We are focusing on plus or minus $2,000 per square foot in Manhattan and $1,000 per square foot on the Jersey side, that is relatively affordable in the New York City market, and we like that niche, and we've done pretty well. As an example, we have a building at 77 Charlton, which is in, we call it West SoHo and that building at about $2,000 a foot, took 20 sales in the fourth quarter. And in the Hoboken, Jersey City side we continue to sell well at $1,000 a foot.

We have 14 sales in a building in Jersey City. We had 10 sales in a building in Hoboken during that fourth quarter. So New York is not back to where it was 4 or 5 years ago, but it's better. And I very much like where we positioned ourselves at these price points and locations I've described.

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Jade Joseph Rahmani, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - Director [48]

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Secondly, can you give the percentage of deliveries that came from quick delivery homes and how that may be compared with the year ago period?

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Gregg L. Ziegler, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & Treasurer [49]

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Sure can...

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Unidentified Company Representative, [50]

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Gregg is looking that up for us.

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Gregg L. Ziegler, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & Treasurer [51]

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Let's see, QDs in Q4 of '19, it was approximately 15%. And you asked about a year ago. Let's see, so Q4 of '18, it was about 13.5%. So not much of a difference. If you look at -- that's pretty much in line with our long-term averages as you look at this over time.

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Unidentified Company Representative, [52]

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[If he can get his stuff together].

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Operator [53]

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And our next question today comes from Stephen Kim of Evercore ISI.

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James A. Morrish, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Analyst [54]

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It's actually Trey Morrish on for Steve. So the -- talk about the affordable luxury. Clearly, is something that we greatly appreciate moving down the price point being more open and appealing to the more millennial buyer. But how big do you ultimately think this accented part of your business can get? And how do you view the general margin profile on these types of homes relative to the traditional Toll home?

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [55]

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So affordable luxury absolutely focuses primarily on the millennial. And of course, we talked about the 75 million millennials, which is the same size as the boomers. But we've also recognized now that we have a bunch of it out there that we have move-up buyers that are just looking for a bit more affordable luxury home, and we have active-adults and empty nesters that want to move down to a bit more affordable home. So when you put that all together again driven primarily by the millennial, as I've mentioned, 37% I think I said 1/3 in my prepared comments, but 37% of our communities have an opening price, that's base price that's under $500,000. That's not all starter home, and that's some of that, again, is affordable move-up and affordable move-down. But I think that gives you some indication where we're approaching 40% of our communities have at least an opening price under $500,000. Now you add a lot of premium and you add some finishes and some structural changes to the home, and certainly that house could get to $600,000. But we have other communities that are opening at $375,000 as an opening price or $399,000 in places like Phoenix and Houston and Las Vegas and other in Jacksonville and Boise. So I think it's probably fair to consider that number, 35%, 40% as accurate. But understand, we're not defining affordable luxury as a segment.

Our segments are move-up, move-down, first time, in our case it will be more luxury first time. So we're not going to be delivering sort of an affordable luxury segment to you, but it's important that you all, and I can tell you all get it that we are more and more focused on having a greater diversity of locations, price points and product lines.

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James A. Morrish, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Analyst [56]

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Okay. And...

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James Boyd;Regional President, [57]

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This comes to us from -- we're rather dependent upon what vantage point, you look at the result of the price. 3, 4, 5 years ago, we did a lot of luxury stuff. It took our average price way up.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [58]

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California.

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James Boyd;Regional President, [59]

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Yes.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [60]

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Average pricing, average price in Southern Cal, Jim, 2 million, right? Average price in Northern Cal, 1.6 million.

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James Boyd;Regional President, [61]

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We had 1 job where the average price was 2.4 million per house. That was -- that we've got you about the same as $800,000 to $900,000 house.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [62]

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Then sell it.

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James Boyd;Regional President, [63]

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No, a little less. So you have to step back and look at this from a vantage point. One man's ceiling is another man's floor. You've got here just a difference in mix that's occurred. We're rediscovering what made Toll Brothers. This is the Toll Brothers market and what it was. And when we got in the 2 million and 3 million, the average go slightly up.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [64]

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Right. Correct.

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James Boyd;Regional President, [65]

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Now we're just finding more Toll Brothers product.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [66]

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And we have this demographic coming that is very large and are settling down later, buying their first home later, and therefore, are more affluent and discerning and just as their first car, I'll give Audi a plug, it can be the A4, their first home can be Toll.

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James A. Morrish, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Analyst [67]

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Got it. But the margin on these homes, I would imagine they're probably a little bit lower, given that they're smaller, a little bit small footprint. But the turns will be faster. So the return focus that you guys have been talking about for a few quarters is probably in line to a little bit better than the traditional product. Is that a fair way to think about it?

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [68]

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I think that's very fair. We think the gross margin will be a little bit less. And the ROE will be higher.

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James A. Morrish, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Analyst [69]

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Okay. And then lastly, you talked about how you expect JV and other income this year to be in that $100 million to $150 million range. What are the things happening in any given year that can end up on the low end versus the high end of that?

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [70]

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Well, as you know, in that line item is $50 million to $60 million of kind of routine other income from our security business, from our title business, from our mortgage business, from our interest income, on our cash balance and various other components. The balance is apartment sales, some commercial pieces of ground sales, the retail sales under some of our buildings in Manhattan. The golf business we sold, a sale of an accumulated pile of customers in the security business, various pockets that we can pull some income from. I think as we move forward, part of the strategy in our apartment business is to generate more and more of that JV income from disposition of apartment buildings. And we're enthusiastically looking at 2020 as a sizable year for our apartment starts and JV formations. And then you also have gains on land sales that can occur either through those JV formations or through some of our master-planned communities where we sell lots to other builders.

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Operator [71]

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And our next question comes from Jack Micenko of SIG.

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John Gregory Micenko, Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division - Deputy Director of Research [72]

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Marty, I wanted to touch on the 2020. You guys have the cycle time 9 to 12 months. You talked about it in the opening comments, which you sold last year, you delivered this fourth quarter. So it seemed like you've got a lot of 2020 visibility. The reticence around lack of a full year, I guess, would be -- I mean, are we thinking more quick delivery homes as you shift the product set? Or is cycle time at Toll going to compress as the product changes, is there more maybe attached product. Help us sort of understand the gap between your visibility historically and why 2020 is a little different from -- in the -- as we think about deliveries and margin and mixing the business.

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [73]

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I think you touched on a couple of the points there. How much quick delivery, how compressed might cycle times get as we move to some of these affordable luxury price points. It also factors in the pretty wide range we have in our pricing. We're selling homes between $300,000 and $3 million and a few less at the $3 million range and really impact not only margin but expected revenue. So we're going to carefully study this, particularly in light of the pretty rapid expansion in sales we saw in the fourth quarter, and we hinted at in the 6 weeks into the first quarter and how those -- that increase in business is going to be able to be delivered. And whether that's going to happen in the traditional 9 to 12-month period or in a 6- to 9-month period instead or even if this rapid growth comes up, it continues, what it might do to the labor availability.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [74]

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There are still a number of communities that can deliver homes that sell in the traditional spring selling season, right? Late January to mid-April is when this industry sells most homes. And we have communities that can sell, at least in the early part of that spring selling season and still deliver by October. So with, as Marty said, the pretty significant improvement in orders over the last 4.5 months. And as we're about to approach that spring season. I think it's prudent for us just to take a little more time to understand the full year.

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Gregg L. Ziegler, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & Treasurer [75]

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Jack, in the second quarter, for example, of '19, our average delivery price was $895,000. 9 months later here, we're projecting it at $810,000. That gives you some view on how rapidly things can change for us.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [76]

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But that's mix.

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Gregg L. Ziegler, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & Treasurer [77]

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Yes.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [78]

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That is not...

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Gregg L. Ziegler, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & Treasurer [79]

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It's all mix.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [80]

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That's not the price of a same store. That is -- that's just mix.

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Gregg L. Ziegler, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & Treasurer [81]

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Right.

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John Gregory Micenko, Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division - Deputy Director of Research [82]

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Sure. Okay. And then you had an active quarter on the debt side. I think on the reported margin, I think you were, what? 2% -- 2.6% of interest. Is that a tailwind -- some of the things you've done this quarter on the debt side. Is that a tailwind to reported gross margin in 2020 versus 2019?

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Gregg L. Ziegler, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & Treasurer [83]

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I don't think it happens as rapidly as a year. We capitalized interest into our inventory, and it could take 18 to 36 months before the benefit floats through the income statement.

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John Gregory Micenko, Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division - Deputy Director of Research [84]

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But net benefit, not punitive?

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Gregg L. Ziegler, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & Treasurer [85]

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Not punitive. Correct.

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Operator [86]

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And our next question today comes from Michael Rehaut of JPMorgan Securities.

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Elad Elie Hillman, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst [87]

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This is Elad on for Mike. First, I just was wondering if you could share your order contracts growth by month for 4Q. Any more color on what you've seen so far in the first 6 weeks of 1Q, in particular, any regions where you're seeing particular strength or weakness so far in 1Q? Or any changes in 4Q besides just overall being stronger? Anything more in particular.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [88]

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So every month of the fourth quarter was better than the prior year's month, and that trend continued even more so in November and the first half of December.

And then in terms of the first quarter, in the areas where we've been hottest without getting into specifics, since we haven't given you specifics on these 6 weeks, except the general commentary would be Austin, Jacksonville, Northern Virginia, Southwestern Florida, Phoenix, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Denver, Boise.

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [89]

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Very consistent with the fourth quarter.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [90]

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Those are all my left and they're fairly -- that's right, I think New Jersey was on the fourth quarter and maybe something else we have Massachusetts, maybe. But yes, it's fairly consistent.

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Elad Elie Hillman, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst [91]

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Great. My second question, just on incentive levels. So overall, they've been improving throughout the year. And I was wondering where incentive levels are in the market now? And in particular, if you could share your incentives percentage this quarter compared to last year in 4Q '18? And also anything to call out incentive trends in the market or anything special by region.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [92]

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Incentives are flat, they have been flat for some time. There's no specific market trend worth noting. We are encouraged with recent sales activity that is giving us some pricing power.

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Elad Elie Hillman, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst [93]

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And just to clarify, you mean flat sequentially, correct?

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [94]

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Yes. That's correct.

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Operator [95]

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And our next question today comes from Ken Zener of KeyBanc.

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Kenneth Robinson Zener, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst [96]

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So I hear you about the asset turns and stuff. I just want to start with California where you -- Doug seem to be saying 25 units came out of the Metro Crossing, and that would put California down about 7% year-over-year adjusted for that. Is that correct? I assume Southern California flat. Northern California was still weaker.

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [97]

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Maybe the improvement maybe is not as dramatic. But yes, somewhere in that ballpark, yes.

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Kenneth Robinson Zener, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst [98]

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Okay. So -- and the reason I ask is the margin, and I don't have the fourth quarter by EBIT, but Northern California still represents just on -- California, not Northern -- about just under half of your guys segment EBIT. If you guys are moving down in price points broadly, but also in California, I assume, how should we think about FY -- while the first quarter's price as a benchmark for all of next year, I mean, FY '20. And then does the mix of California's EBIT for the year, just under 50%. I mean is that something that we should think about next year, is that going to really kind of change because (inaudible) units and Metro Crossing, obviously, you guys have built that place. So you're still going to close them, which it seems like that would be margin accretive. There's a couple of different questions there, but I'm going to, as California is concentrated in FY '20, in your opinion as well as in '19 percent of EBIT and your ASP, I mean, is first quarter's ASP, really what it's going to be for FY '20?

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [99]

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So Ken, I think when we look at from California in 2019, we think it's in the upper 30s. And for 2020, I think we would expect it to come down to the lower 30s as a percentage of total. We expect margin around the company, including in California to improve through the course of the year compared to the first quarter.

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Kenneth Robinson Zener, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst [100]

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Okay. And then the SG&A, you said for FY '20 it's going to be modestly above FY '19, was that correct, Marty?

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [101]

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Yes, it is.

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Kenneth Robinson Zener, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst [102]

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Is that excluding the $10 million you called out in the first quarter?

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [103]

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It includes the $10 million I called out.

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Kenneth Robinson Zener, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst [104]

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And then what percent, I guess, on an annual basis of your SG&A do you describe as fixed versus variable?

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [105]

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So I think the S is mostly variable, and we would expect that to be around 40% of the total SG&A.

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Operator [106]

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And our next question today comes from Jay McCanless of Wedbush Securities.

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Jay McCanless, Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division - SVP of Equity Research [107]

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The first 1 I had, could you all break out the order growth in 4Q that came from the acquisitions versus your organic growth.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [108]

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Gregg?

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Gregg L. Ziegler, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & Treasurer [109]

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Great, yes, yes, yes, all right, paging through a lot of pages, okay. So we have...

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [110]

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Pretty small.

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Gregg L. Ziegler, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & Treasurer [111]

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Pretty small, that's right.

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [112]

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Sharp was 44 contracts in the quarter and Sabal was 35 contracts in the quarter.

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Gregg L. Ziegler, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & Treasurer [113]

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Sabal was about half a quarter of owned by Toll.

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Jay McCanless, Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division - SVP of Equity Research [114]

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And then the -- and I'm sorry, I know you all discussed it before, but I didn't hear the answer. In terms of incentives, how did those compare year-over-year for the fourth quarter and then maybe 4Q versus 3Q '19?

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [115]

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Incentives were flat for 4Q to 3Q. And year-over-year, let's see, hold on, Gregg is going to pull that up. It looks like incentives peaked in the second quarter, just by a little -- they just picked up ever so little and then they were flat in the third and the fourth quarter of '19.

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Gregg L. Ziegler, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & Treasurer [116]

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File's loading, maybe we should get back to (inaudible).

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [117]

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Do you have another question while our file loads?

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Jay McCanless, Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division - SVP of Equity Research [118]

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Yes. Absolutely. So just maybe asking Jack's question a different way, if you guys are moving to a smaller price point or smaller square footage, at what point does that start to impact the cycle time?

And when should we expect that to contract a little bit? Or is that not going to happen? It's just the product that's going to be a 9- to 12-month cycle time?

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [119]

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No. The smaller, more affordable luxury homes will be -- they should cycle faster for the reasons we gave, which is they're smaller, and they have less options. It will be incremental over time.

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [120]

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It will happen over time. Jay, it's real tough to tell you that 6 months from now, we'll have a better and a final mix of product type. It's going to vary -- it should just go down.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [121]

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And the incentives, the incentives compared to a year ago were basically flat. So it's the same answer, same answer Q4 to Q3 and Q4 to prior Q4...

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [122]

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It's like $1,000.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [123]

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Plus or minus $1,000, right within the same range.

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Operator [124]

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And ladies and gentlemen, today's final question comes from Mark Weintraub of Seaport Global.

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Mark Adam Weintraub, Seaport Global Securities LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [125]

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I was hoping if you could just give us your feel for recognizing how complex this question is if we look at the adjusted gross margin guidance for the coming first quarter. And we think of 3 variables at play, one, timing related to the health of the market, which sounds like that's the biggest factor as you pointed out, health in the market is getting better. But two, you also would have geographical mix shifts; and three, we have the shift to the more affordable product. And again, recognizing this is complex, but if you were to guesstimate the impact of those 3 variables on the delta in expected margin for this year versus last year's first quarter, what percentage might fall in those buckets?

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [126]

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I don't think I can give you percentages but I think the geographic mix is going to skew with less California, and then the marketplace is obviously a positive to margins and then the mix will have the least -- I'm sorry, the price point mix will have the least impact on things.

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Mark Adam Weintraub, Seaport Global Securities LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [127]

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Right. Well, the market, it's a negative for the first quarter, but then will become a positive going forward? Just to clarify.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [128]

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Correct.

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Martin P. Connor, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [129]

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Yes, correct. Right.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [130]

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That's correct.

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Mark Adam Weintraub, Seaport Global Securities LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [131]

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Right. And then 1 other quick follow-on, if I could. You also referenced labor availability, 1 of the variables that makes it no trickier to forecast 2020. And I guess, there are 2 different ways that that could play out and I was wanting to understand which 1 you were focusing on. One is, is it the ability to get all the homes you would want to get built versus the cost of building those homes?

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [132]

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We have the labor to build the homes and we are encouraged that labor and material costs in the fourth quarter were flat to the third quarter, and we have not been able to say that in some time.

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Operator [133]

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And this concludes our question-and-answer session. I'd like to turn the conference back over to Doug Yearley for any closing remarks.

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Douglas C. Yearley, Toll Brothers, Inc. - Chairman, CEO & President [134]

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Rocco, thank you very much. You did a great job. Thank you, everybody, for your interest and support. And have a wonderful holiday season.

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Operator [135]

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Thank you, sir. Today's conference has now concluded. We thank you all for attending today's presentation. You may now disconnect your lines and have a wonderful day.