Published March 20, 2013
Fueled by a rise in home sales and stronger prices, Lennar (LEN) became the latest major U.S. homebuilder on Wednesday to top quarterly Wall Street expectations, signaling an intensifying recovery of the broader housing market.
The Miami-based homebuilder reported first-quarter earnings of $57.5 million, or 26 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier $15 million, or 8 cents.
The results topped average analyst estimates of 15 cents in a Thomson Reuters poll.
The announcement comes after rival D.R. Horton (DHI) revealed stronger-than-expected earnings in late January that more than doubled from the year-earlier period amid sharply higher home sales. KB Home (KBH) is on tap to report on Thursday.
Revenue for the three months ended Feb. 28 climbed to $990 million, up from $725 million a year ago, beating the Street’s view of $895 million.
Lennar CEO Stuart Miller said the results reflect continued improvement in the marketplace.
“Current market conditions are driven by strong demand resulting from low interest rates and attractive home prices, which have led to very affordable monthly payments, compared to increasing rental rates,” he said. “Supply continues to be limited by low home inventories and fewer competing homebuilders.”
Home sales increased 40% during the period to $855.1 million, driven by a 28% improvement in deliveries, or 3,174 new homes, while the average price of homes delivered grew to $269,000 in the first quarter from $246,000 last year.
Lennar’s gross margin on home sales increased to 22.1% from 20.9% in the year-earlier period.
Shares of the third-biggest U.S. homebuilder ticked up about 1% premarket to $41.85.