NEW YORK (AP) -- PulteGroup and Beazer Homes said Thursday that orders for homes fell in the last quarter of 2013, but both homebuilders said their revenue improved as prices climbed higher.
Pulte said sale prices rose by 13% and Beazer's grew by 19%. The two companies stayed relatively upbeat, as Pulte said it expects the housing rebound to continue because of low interest rates, the limited supply of new and existing homes, and the ongoing modest economic recovery. Beazer repeated that it expects to be profitable in the current fiscal year.
PulteGroup said its fourth-quarter net income jumped to $220.1 million, or $0.57 per share, from $58.7 million, or $0.15 per share. The 2012 quarter was hurt by $0.19 per share in charges. The Bloomfield Hills, Mich., company said total revenue rose 6% to $1.66 billion, as higher average selling prices were offset by fewer closings.
Analysts expected income of $0.45 per share and $1.68 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.
Pulte, which operates in 50 markets nationwide, ended December with a backlog of 5,772 homes worth $1.9 billion. That compares with its year-earlier backlog of 6,458 homes worth $1.9 billion.
Its gross margin rose by 610 basis points year over year to 23.2%, the highest margin since 2005.
Beazer, which operates in 16 states, said new home orders and cancellation rates both fell. The company pared its loss for its fiscal first quarter ended in December to $5.1 million, or $0.21 per share, from $20.4 million, or $0.84 per share. The Atlanta-based company lost $0.16 per share from continuing operations. Revenue grew 19% to $293.2 million.
Analysts expected a loss of $0.25 per share and $278.5 million in revenue.
Beazer posted a 310-basis-point improvement in homebuilding gross margins and said its backlog at Dec. 31 totaled 1,750 homes worth $500 million, versus its prior-year backlog of 1,817 homes worth $478.3 million.
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