D.R. Horton Earnings Beat Estimates as Home Prices Climb

D.R. Horton Inc., the largest U.S. homebuilder by revenue, reported fiscal second-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates as prices and orders climbed.

Net income rose to $131 million, or 38 cents a share, in the three months ended March 31, compared with $111 million, or 32 cents, a year earlier, the Fort Worth, Texas-based company said in a statement today. The average of 14 analysts was for earnings of 34 cents a share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

D.R. Horton, which has historically served first-time buyers, has been targeting more move-up shoppers as its traditional customers have been hurt by tight credit. U.S. new-home sales slumped 14.5 percent to an annual pace of 384,000 last month, the lowest rate since July, the Commerce Department reported yesterday. The median new-home price climbed 12.6 percent to a record $290,000.

“Housing market conditions remain favorable,” Chairman Donald R. Horton said in the statement. “The pace and strength of the improvement varies significantly across our local operating markets.”

D.R. Horton’s homebuilding revenue rose to $1.7 billion in the fiscal second quarter from $1.39 billion a year earlier. The company sold 6,194 homes, up from 5,643. Orders increased to 8,569 from 7,879.

The average sales price jumped 10 percent to $278,900. The backlog value of properties under contract rose to $2.82 billion from $2.39 billion.

Earnings were announced before the start of regular U.S. trading. D.R. Horton fell 2.2 percent to $21.35 yesterday. Its shares dropped 4.4 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 7.3 percent decline for the 11-member Standard & Poor’s Supercomposite Homebuilding Index.