Homebuilder Lennar Corporation (NYSE: LEN ) reported earnings today of $0.73 per diluted share for the three months ending Nov. 30, an increase of more than 30% relative to the $0.56 per share posted during the same period last year.
Lennar's revenue jumped 42%, or $565 million, to $1.9 billion in its 2013 fourth quarter. This was the result of increases across the board in its pertinent metrics, as its deliveries (up 27%), new orders (up 13%), backlog of homes (up 19%), and average sales price (up 18%) all rose in the most recent quarter. Lennar said home deliveries rose to 5,650 homes, new orders climbed to 4,498 homes, and backlog increased to 4,806 homes. The average sales price of homes delivered increased to $307,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013, up from $261,000 in the same period last year.
Lennar also saw its profitability increase tremendously, as its gross margin on home sales stood at 26.8%, an improvement of 3.3 percentage points, and its operating margin on home sales was up 4.7 percentage points from 12.2% to 16.9%.
All of this led to Lennar's earnings before income taxes (EBIT) rising more than 160%, or $172 million, from $105 million to $277 million. The reason for the less dramatic gain in total earnings per share was due to the fact that in the comparable quarter in 2012 Lennar saw a gain of $19 million from a tax benefit, whereas this quarter it had a $94 million provision for taxes.
"We begin 2014 with a strong balance sheet and a clearly defined strategy, and we are extremely well positioned across all of our platforms to continue to grow profitably our operations and capitalize on the opportunities of a recovering housing market and economy," said Stuart Miller, Lennar Corporation's CEO.
For the year ending Nov. 30, 2013, total revenues at Lennar were up $1.8 billion, or 45% relative to last year. In additions its EBIT was up more than 200% from $222 million to $682 million, an increase of $460 million.
"Fiscal year 2013 was an excellent year for Lennar, with revenues and pre-tax earnings attributable to Lennar increasing 45% and 170%, respectively, from 2012," Miller continued. "Our earnings accelerated in the fourth quarter, fueled by the strategic investments and operating initiatives of our core homebuilding business."
-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.