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SAO PAULO, May 14 (Reuters) - Cyrela Brazil Realty SA , Brazil's largest homebuilder by market value, reported quarterly net income of 101 million reais ($33.7 million), a 38 percent drop from a year ago caused by declining sales, according to a securities filing on Thursday.
The result missed an average forecast of 124.8 million reais in a Reuters poll of six analysts.
Tighter financing and bank credit pushed down sales, the company said in its earnings release. It blamed a "challenging" economic environment, citing shrinking savings, high inflation and rising unemployment at home, and a strengthening of the dollar on expectations of a rise in U.S interest rates.
Despite a slowdown in growth, most analysts see the company as one of the best-managed firms in an industry that is facing low home-buyer confidence in the face of a looming recession.
Cyrela said last month that first quarter sales of houses and apartments fell 53 percent to 723 million reais, while the vale of project launches dropped 76 percent to 463 million reais.
Nonetheless, Cyrela posted a gross profit margin of 34.8 percent in the quarter, up from 33.3 percent a year earlier and up from 32.3 percent in the fourth quarter.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization - a gauge of operating profit known as EBITDA - fell 37 percent from a year earlier to 154 million reais, missing the 235.3 million reais average estimate in the Reuters poll.
$1 = 2.9934 Brazilian reais Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Christian Plumb