Fiscal Year Ended Dec 31, 2020
Net earnings totaled $423.5 million ($11.00 per diluted share) for the full year 2020, compared to $249.7 million ($6.42 per diluted share) in 2019. The 70% year-over-year increase (71% for diluted EPS) reflects greater home closing revenue and gross margin, decreased SG&A expenses and $24.9 million of total impairments in the current year, compared to $7.3 million of inventory impairments as well as a $5.6 million charge for early extinguishment of debt in the prior year. Full year diluted EPS also benefited from the reduction in diluted shares after the repurchase of 1.1 million shares in 2020.
Total orders for the full year 2020 were 43% higher year-over-year, as absorptions were 5.2 per month in 2020, up from 3.1 per month in 2019. The 68% increase in absorptions was primarily driven by strength in the market during most of 2020, as well as the product mix shift toward the higher pace entry-level homes. For the full year 2020, entry-level represented 68% of sales orders, compared to 51% for 2019.
Home closing gross margin improved 310 bps to 22.0% for the full year 2020, compared to 18.9% in 2019, reflecting the benefits of higher ASPs, as well as Meritage's strategic streamlining of operations, including cost efficiencies and leverage from additional home closing volume. Home closing gross profit increased 44% to $980.4 million for the full year 2020.
For Fiscal Year Ending Dec 31, 2020
For complete information regarding our financials, see our periodic filings