Higher Home Sales Push Lennar Profits Higher

Profits more than tripled for Lennar (NYSE: LEN  ) after it closed on 28% more homes in the first quarter, the homebuilder announced this morning.

For the first quarter, net earnings were $57.5 million, or $0.26 per share, compared to just $15.0 million, or $0.08 per share, reported in the year-ago period. Total revenues of $989.9 million were 37% higher than the $724.9 million recorded in the first quarter of 2012.

On average, analysts had forecast revenues of $898 million and per-share profits of $0.15.

The homebuilder delivered 3,186 homes in the quarter and currently has 34% more new homes on order, or 4,055, than it did last year at this time. Backlog dollar value more than doubled to $1.5 billion as the number of homes in backlog -- 4,922 -- jumped 82% in the quarter.

Lennar CEO Stuart Miller said, "Current market conditions are driven by strong demand resulting from low interest rates and attractive home prices, which have led to very affordable monthly payments, compared to increasing rental rates. Supply continues to be limited by low home inventories and fewer competing homebuilders."

Lennar reported having $1.1 billion in cash and equivalents at the end of the quarter and no outstanding borrowings under its $525 million credit facility.

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