D.R. Horton reports bigger quarterly profit as home orders jump

John Gittelsohn (c) 2014, Bloomberg News. LOS ANGELES — D.R. Horton, the largest U.S. homebuilder by revenue, reported a bigger profit and a 38 percent jump in orders for its fiscal fourth quarter.

Net income was $166.3 million, or 45 cents a share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with $139.5 million, or 40 cents, a year earlier, the Fort Worth-based company said Tuesday in a statement.

Under Donald Tomnitz, who stepped down at the end of the quarter after 16 years as chief executive officer, and his successor, David Auld, D.R. Horton has increased buyer incentives to boost sales. Orders for the quarter rose to 7,135 homes with a value of $2 billion, compared with 5,160 houses valued at $1.4 billion a year earlier. The builder completed 8,612 sales, up 25 percent from the same period in 2013.

“D.R. Horton has solidified its position to be the nation’s largest builder for the 13th consecutive year,” Chairman Donald R. Horton said in the statement. “We are well- positioned to continue to grow both our revenues and pretax profits at a double-digit pace.”

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While earnings missed the average analyst estimate of 48 cents a share, the company’s pricing, order growth and profitability exceeded expectations, said Jay McCanless, an analyst with Sterne, Agee & Leach Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee.

“It appears DHI’s strategy shift to higher unit volumes worked” in the quarter, McCanless wrote in a note today.

The company’s homebuilding revenue in the quarter rose to $2.4 billion from $1.8 billion a year earlier.

U.S. new houses sold at an annual rate of 467,000 in September, the fastest in six years. That’s still 29 percent below the U.S. average pace since 1963, according to Commerce Department data.