Lennar Corp.’s third-quarter profits fell 31 percent to $20.7 million (11 cents per share) from $30 million (16 cents) a year ago, the company reported before Monday’s opening bell on Wall Street.
Revenues slipped 1 percent to $820.2 million but beat analysts’ expectations of $794.4 million. Share prices rose 4.5 percent on the news.
Miami-based Lennar is the nation’s No. 3 home builder with operations in 17 states. It is currently marketing seven new-home communities in Valencia and owns 15 percent of Newhall Land.
Average company-wide home sale prices rose 3 percent to $247,000 versus $240,000 a year earlier.
Starting prices in Valencia range by community, from the upper $200,000s for a home in Esperto at West Creek to the low $500,000s in Heirloom at River Village.
Higher nationwide prices were offset by an overall 3 percent decrease in home deliveries, which fell to 2,832 homes for the quarter ending Aug. 31 compared to 2,909 homes during the same period last year.
New orders were up 11 percent year-over-year. Not counting the first half of 2010 when consumers took advantage of the federal homebuyer tax credit, it was the first quarterly increase in orders in more than five years, CEO Stuart Miller said in a statement. Lennar’s backlog grew 16 percent to 2,519 homes.
“We have seen demand for home purchases slowly return to the marketplace, driven by low home prices and all-time low interest rates,” he said.
Nonetheless, the demand is limited by “tightening lending standards, high unemployment and low overall consumer confidence,” he said.
It was Lennar’s sixth consecutive profitable quarter.