Lennar earnings beat analysts' estimates as revenue jumps

, Bloomberg

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Lennar Corp. (LEN), the largest U.S. homebuilder by market value, reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates as revenue increased 42 percent.

Net income for the three months through Nov. 30 rose to $124.3 million, or 56 cents a share, from $30.3 million, or 16 cents, a year earlier, the Miami-based company said today in a statement. The average estimate of 20 analysts in a Bloomberg survey was for earnings of 45 cents a share.

U.S. builders are seeing rising sales as record-low interest rates and a shrinking supply of existing homes on the market spur demand for new homes. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of confidence probably rose for a ninth straight month in January to 48, the highest since April 2006, according to the average estimate of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The data are due tomorrow.

“Our fourth quarter reflects the recovery in housing with solid profitability in all of our business segments,” Chief Executive Officer Stuart Miller. “As we head into 2013, we are extremely well positioned to gain market share in a recovering market.”

Total revenue rose to $1.35 billion in the fourth quarter from $953 million a year earlier, Lennar said. New orders increased 32 percent to 3,983 from a year earlier. Contract backlog, an indication of future sales, increased 87 percent to 4,053 homes. The average selling price of homes delivered climbed to $261,000 from $243,000 a year earlier.

The results were released before U.S. markets opened. Lennar rose 0.2 percent to $41.02 in New York trading yesterday. The shares gained 97 percent in 2012, compared with an 84 percent advance for the Standard & Poor’s Supercomposite Homebuilding Index of 11 companies.

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