D.R. Horton orders fall 2 pct as housing demand slows

Reuters

* Rising mortgage rates, economic uncertainty hit demand

* Fourth-quarter profit rises 39 pct to $139.5 mln

* Revenue jumps 40 pct to $1.80 bln

* Value of new orders rises 14 pct to $1.43 bln

Nov 12 (Reuters) - D.R. Horton Inc, the largest U.S.homebuilder, reported a 2 percent fall in quarterly orders dueto rising mortgage rates and policy uncertainty in Washington.

Mortgage rates began rising in May and touched a two-yearhigh in July after the Federal Reserve started talking abouteasing the stimulus launched during the financial crisis.

Orders booked by homebuilders have been slowing this year,the second full year of the U.S. housing market recovery.

D.R. Horton's net orders fell to 5,160 homes in the fourthquarter ended Sept. 30 from 5,276 a year earlier.

PulteGroup Inc, the second-largest U.S. builder,reported a 17 percent fall in quarterly orders last month.

Orders are a key indicator of the performance of builders astheir revenue is recognized only after a house is handed over tothe buyer.

D.R. Horton, faced with a shortage of developed land, isbuilding fewer homes and raising prices. The company said onTuesday that the value of its orders rose 14 percent to $1.43billion in the latest quarter.

Net income jumped 39 percent to $139.5 million, or 40 centsper share, from $100.1 million, or 30 cents per share, a yearearlier.

Homebuilding revenue rose 40 percent to $1.80 billion.

D.R. Horton shares closed at $18.06 on the New York StockExchange on Monday. They have dropped by about a third sinceinterest rates started rising in May.

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