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Lennar Q4 earnings top views on homebuilding sales

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Homebuilder Lennar Corp. (NYSE:LEN) Tuesday said it nearly quadrupled its earnings in its fourth quarter as the housing industry showed signs of “sustained recovery”.

The news sent Lennar’s shares up in premarket trading, lately higher by 13 cents to $41.15.

For the quarter that ended November 30 2012, the company posted net earnings of $124.3 million or 56 cents per diluted share, compared to net earnings of $30.3 million or 16 cents per diluted share a year earlier.

Revenues shot up 42 per cent to $1.34 billion, compared to $952.6 million in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected per share earnings of 44 cents on revenues of $1.31 billion.

"During our fourth quarter, the housing industry took further steps toward a sustained recovery,” said CEO Stuart Miller. 

“Low mortgage rates, affordable home prices, reduced foreclosures and an extremely favorable 'rent versus own' comparison continue to drive the recovery.  

“Housing should continue to assume its traditional role in the broader economic recovery, driving employment upward, increasing consumer confidence and helping new homeowners accumulate wealth through home ownership, thus helping to accelerate economic growth."

In the company’s homebuilding segment, revenues from home sales increased 41 per cent in the fourth quarter to $1.15 billion, from $816.5 million a year earlier, helped by a 32-per-cent increase in the number of home deliveries and a seven-per-cent increase in the average sales price of homes delivered. 

New home deliveries increased to 4,426 homes from 3,359 homes, while the average sales price of homes delivered increased to $261,000 from $243,000 in the in the year-ago quarter.

Gross margins on home sales rose to 23.5 per cent, compared to 19.4 per cent a year ago, mostly due to a decrease in sales incentives offered to homebuyers, an increase in the average sales price of homes delivered and lower valuation adjustments, the company said. 

Gross profits on land sales totaled $3.3 million, compared to $0.8 million a year earlier.

Lennar’s financial services unit posted revenues of $121 million, compared to $72 million a year ago, on an increase in volume and margins in mortgage and title operations and as a result of a gain in refinance transactions and homebuilding deliveries.

Revenues for the company’s Rialto Investments segment were $36.0 million, compared to $46.5 million in the same period last year, due to lower interest income and a decrease in the portfolio of loans. 

At the end of the quarter, Lennar said it had a backlog of 4,053 homes – up 87 per cent, with a dollar value of $1.2 billion – up 107 per cent.

Looking ahead, the company expects to benefit from “strategic land acquisitions” and new community openings, it said.  

 

Quick facts: Lennar

Price: 43.36 USD

NYSE:LEN
Market: NYSE
Market Cap: $13.55 billion
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