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M/I Homes' net income surges in 2Q

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- M/I Homes Inc. said Thursday that its net income nearly doubled in the second quarter, as the homebuilder sold more homes at higher prices.

The company said completed home sales increased 26 percent in the April-June period versus a year earlier, with the average home closing price up about 8.5 percent. Contracts for new homes jumped 31 percent.

CEO and President Robert Schottenstein noted that the builder ended the quarter with the highest backlog of homes under contract in more than five years.

Interest rates close to record lows and an improving jobs market have helped the housing sector sustain its recovery this year.

Americans snapped up new homes in June at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 497,000, the fastest pace in five years. That's still below the 700,000 pace consistent with healthy markets, but new home sales have risen 38 percent in the past 12 months. Most economists suggest new home sales will continue to increase.

M/I Homes, based in Columbus, Ohio, builds homes in eight states.

The company reported a profit after paying preferred dividends of $6.05 million, or 25 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares with net income of $3.2 million, or 17 cents per share, in the prior-year quarter.

Total revenue in the latest quarter vaulted 37 percent to $234.6 million from $171 million a year earlier.

New home contracts increased to 1,078, while completed homes totaled 788. The average home closing price rose to $281,000 from $259,000.

The builder's cancellation rate slipped to 14 percent from 16 percent a year earlier.

The company ended the quarter with a backlog of homes under contract with a sales value of $491 million, an annual increase of 53 percent.

As of June 30, the builder had 140 open communities, up from 124 a year earlier.

Shares fell $1.56, or nearly 7 percent, to $20.87 in morning trading amid a sectorwide sell-off a day after the Commerce Department revised new homes sales down for April and May.