Lennar Profit Beats as Home Sales Rise


U.S. Homebuilder Lennar, the second-largest U.S. homebuilder, reported quarterly profit that topped analysts' estimates as it sold more homes at higher prices.

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An improving job market and attractive mortgage rates continue to fuel demand for housing in the United States, helping homebuilders such as Lennar and PulteGroup Inc .

Orders, a key indicator of future revenue for homebuilders, rose 9 percent in the fourth quarter ended Nov. 30, Lennar said.

The Florida-based builder said it sold 8,228 homes during the quarter, compared with 7,657 homes last year. The average sales price increased 2.6 percent to $358,000.

Lennar's strong balance sheet will hold the company in good stead, despite a potential rise in interest rates over the next several years, Chief Executive Stuart Miller said on Monday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates last week and signaled a faster pace of increases in 2017 as central bankers adapted to President-elect Donald Trump's promises of tax cuts, spending and deregulation.

The company's net income attributable to shareholders rose to $313.5 million, or $1.34 per share, in the quarter from $281.6 million, or $1.21 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $3.38 billion from $2.95 billion.

Analysts on average had expected the company to earn $1.29 per share on revenue of $3.30 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Up to Friday's close, shares of the company had fallen 11.2 percent this year.

(Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)