Lennar Corp., the biggest U.S. homebuilder by stock-market value, reported a quarterly profit that beat analysts' estimates as the company raised its prices and delivered more properties.
Net income for the three months through May was $137.7 million, or 61 cents a share, little changed from a year earlier, the Miami-based company said Thursday. The average of 14 analysts' estimates was for earnings of 52 cents a share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue jumped 27 percent to $1.8 billion.
"The homebuilding recovery continued its progression at a slow and steady pace," Chief Executive Stuart Miller said in a statement.
U.S. new-home sales surged to an annualized pace of 504,000 in May, the highest level in six years, as the market recovered from a weather-induced slowdown in the first quarter and consumer confidence improved, the Commerce Department reported this week. Publicly traded builders including Lennar have been increasing prices to take advantage of a tight supply of new and existing homes while using their economies of scale to reduce costs and widen profit margins.
Lennar's orders in the fiscal second quarter climbed to 6,183 units worth $2 billion, an 8 percent increase in volume and a 21 percent gain in value.
U.S. home sales started slowing in May 2013 after mortgage rates jumped a percentage point. Lennar's orders were less than some analysts expected, "indicating core buying demand was relatively flat compared to last year's spring selling season," Adam Rudiger, an analyst at Wells Fargo & Co., wrote in a note from Boston on Thursday.