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NVR's 4Q net income jumps 87 pct. as sales surge

Alex Veiga, AP Real Estate Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- NVR's net income jumped 87 percent in the fourth quarter, buoyed by stronger revenue as new home orders and completed sales increased.

The homebuilder and mortgage company's latest results handily beat Wall Street expectations, driving shares 3.5 percent higher in afternoon trading.

The Reston, Va., company said new home orders rose 22 percent over the same quarter last year to 2,625. Settlements, or completed sales, increased by 17 percent to 2,788.

NVR ended the quarter with a backlog of 4,979 homes under contract, an increase of 35 percent from a year ago.

The builder's sales trends reflect a rebound in the U.S. housing market that began last year and is expected to strengthen in 2013.

U.S. sales of new homes hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 377,000 in November, a 15.3 percent increase over the previous 12 months. Figures for December new-home sales are due Friday.

More people are looking for a new house or apartment, encouraged by modest job gains, a gradually improving economy and mortgage rates near record-low levels. At the same time fewer homes are available for sale. The low supply is helping lift prices.

That's helped boost confidence among U.S. builders to the highest level since before the housing bubble burst, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, NVR's net income rose to $60.6 million, or $11.98 per share, compared with $32.4 million, or $6.32 per share, in the same quarter of 2011.

Homebuilding revenue climbed to $925.4 million from $728.8 million a year earlier.

The analysts' consensus forecast called for earnings of $11.07 per share on $909.8 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

NVR said closed mortgage loan production grew 23 percent to about $642.2 million during the quarter.

For all of 2012, NVR made $180.6 million, or $35.12 per share, compared with $129.4 million, or $23.01 per share, in 2011. Full-year revenue climbed to $3.12 billion from $2.61 billion.

NVR shares rose $33.31, or 3.4 percent, to $1,015 in afternoon trading. The stock is up 10.5 percent so far this year.