U.S. Markets open in 5 hrs 56 mins

DR Horton sales surge on rising home prices

Steve Rothwell

NEW YORK (AP) -- D.R. Horton, the largest U.S. homebuilder, said higher home prices and rising demand for houses helped boost sales by 46 percent in its fiscal third quarter.

The average sales price of homes surged 15 percent to $268,000 in the period, Chairman Donald R. Horton said in a statement. That helped drive up revenue from home sales by 47 percent to $1.64 billion in the period ending June 30, from $1.1 billion a year ago. Backlog of homes under contract increased 36 percent, to 9,911 homes. Value of the backlog rose by 56 percent, to $2.58 billion.

Net income was $146 million, or 42 cents a share, for the period. While that was less than a fifth of the $787.8 million, or $2.22 per share, earnings it reported in the same period a year ago, the year-ago results were inflated by a $715.6 million tax benefit.

Interest rates close to record lows and an improving jobs market have helped the housing sector sustain its recovery this year. The recovery may yet be stifled though, should interest rates continue to rise.

The company's earnings met analysts' expectations, but revenues fell short of their estimates. Analysts had forecast earnings of 42 cents a share and revenue of $1.7 billion, according to data provider FactSet.

D.R. Horton's shares fell 92 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $20.28 in pre-market trading.