Toll Bros CEO: 80% of U.S. ‘On the Way Back’

On May 13, 2008, Cramer went to Toll Brothers Chairman and CEO Robert Toll for some hope. The Mad Money host wanted to know, given the steep and seemingly never-ending decline in U.S. home prices, if there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Would we be out of this mess anytime soon?

The CEO, who never pulls punches, had this to say: "The light you see at the end of the tunnel may be the train coming toward you."

Obviously, that wasn’t the answer for which Cramer had hoped. But things are different now, right? Aren’t we close to Jim’s predicted bottom in housing: June 30 of this year? He put the question to Toll once again on Wednesday during his Back to School Tour stop at The Ohio State University in Columbus.

“I don’t want to overstate it,” Toll said, Cramer hanging on his every word, “but I told you I’d give you a call when I saw things differently. And I definitely see them as different now.”

Toll cited the increase over the past five weeks in “expressions of interest,” which are refundable deposits that start the home-buying process, as proof that the sector was finding its footing. The number of these deposits was better than any other time over the past year.

“Now last year stunk,” Toll admitted. “But then again it sure feels good to be doing better rather than worse.”

Even more positive: That strength isn’t limited to just a few areas of the country. Toll said the trend was “pretty much nationwide, except for a couple of markets that are still deader than doornails and probably will be for another year or two.” About 80% of the U.S. “seems to be on the way back.”

Toll’s good news was enough for Cramer to reaffirm his prediction.

“Housing bottoms in this country on June 30,” Cramer said, “and I say hooray.”

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