FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The housing recovery continues to be evident among homebuilders, as D.R. Horton's net income more than doubled in its fiscal first quarter on improving home prices and better sales.
The company's performance easily beat Wall Street's expectations, and its stock rose almost 4 percent in premarket trading Tuesday.
Stable job gains and low mortgage rates are spurring buyers who were on the sidelines during the recession to return to the housing market. While the National Association of Realtors reported Monday that a measure of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes fell in December, sales were held back by a limited supply of available homes.
The broader trend in home sales remains solid. Completed sales of previously occupied homes rose last year to their highest level in five years, one of many signs of recovery in the housing market last year. And the Realtors' group forecasts that sales will rise 9 percent this year, as the recovery strengthens. Other economists have similar forecasts.
For the period ended Dec. 31, D.R. Horton Inc. earned $66.3 million, or 20 cents per share. That compares with $27.7 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier.
Analysts forecast earnings of 14 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.
Revenue rose to $1.23 billion from $885.6 million. Wall Street predicted revenue of $1.13 billion.
Homes closed during the quarter increased 26 percent to 5,182, while net sales orders climbed 39 percent to 5,259 homes. The backlog of homes under contract as of Dec. 31 surged 62 percent to 7,317 homes.
Chairman Donald Horton said in a statement that the average sales price rose thanks to a larger average home size, geographic mix and the ability to be able to charge more due to improving conditions. The company's homes sell for prices ranging from $100,000 to more than $600,000.
Shares of D.R. Horton Inc. gained 79 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $22.10 about a half-hour before the market open.
The Fort Worth, Texas company has operations in 77 markets in 26 states.