"Downsizing baby boomers" who don’t need big loans are filling Toll "City Living" developments in Brooklyn, Seattle, Center City Philadelphia and other markets, Horne added. So far in 2012, "orders climbed 47 percent" from last year, almost double what was expected, "allowing Toll to raise prices and reduce incentives in its most desirable communities. Demand has remained steady into May," with deposits (nonbinding) up around 40 percent vs. last year.
Gross profit margins of 23 percent were juiced by higher profits on urban properties. But higher lumber and concrete prices mean "Toll’s construction costs are up ~$1,400 — $1,600 per house," which could eat into profits.
Toll bought $124 million worth of new land and the company said some "pretty big deals" are in the works. Possibly the focus will still be toward city projects, not the neglected suburbs of yesterday’s sprawling Toll developments. "Toll only plans to bring one more of its ~90 mothballed projects on-line this year," according to Horne.
Toll shares closed up 21 cents, at $27.96.
‘Tell employees the company is watching everything’
Forensic accounting firm Intelysis Corp., Haddonfield, has put together a checklist of how bosses can scare workers into Doing the Right Thing on company computers. Highlights:
• "Tell employees the company is watching everything they do on their company issued computers. The deterrent effect is worth it, even if you aren’t that vigilant." (At least until they figure out you’re not really paying attention.)
• "Install Internet monitoring software at the company server level and keep track of the activity, then present it at the employee’s annual review." (Gotcha!)
• "Upon the departure of a key employee, forensically image his or her computer immediately." (Could come in handy if they exaggerate a bit when they sue you for wrongful discharge.)
• "Employees are increasingly absconding with company data and abusing the IT resources provided to them," sums up Jeffrey Brenner, the lawyer and licensed private investigator who heads operations for Intelysis.
His solution: Better spying, of course.
Pa. is most gambling-dependent state, report says
Pennsylvania raises more tax money from gambling than any other state, notes Bloomberg, citing a recent American Gaming Association report.
Gross revenues for the state’s casinos still trail those of Nevada and New Jersey, but Pennsylvania’s higher gambling taxes make the public’s cut of betting losses the nation’s highest, with $1.5 billion of the total $3 billion wager going to the government.
No other state topped $1 billion in gambling tax collections, according to the association.