Beazer Homes USA Inc., the U.S. home builder that has reported losses for seven straight quarters, said Monday that sales plunged as the housing market deteriorated in its fiscal fourth quarter.

Completed sales fell 38%, to 2,441 homes, in the quarter ended on Sept. 30, by comparison with a year earlier, the Atlanta company said. Cancellations increased to 46%, from 37% in the previous quarter.

"Market conditions continued to deteriorate during the fourth quarter amid further erosion of consumer confidence, heightened concerns about the overall economy, and disruptions in the financial and credit markets," Beazer said.

New homes are selling at less than half the rate of two years ago. Sales of new homes have fallen 67% from the peak, compared with a 33% decline in existing-home sales, according to Barclays Capital economists Michelle Meyer and Julia Coronado.

"We believe new-home sales are set to fall even further, given the diversion of demand to the discounted properties available in the existing market," the New York-based Barclays economists wrote in a Nov. 7 report.

Beazer is to report its full fiscal fourth-quarter results on Dec. 2.

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