Lennar's strong quarterly performance is a further sign of the momentum building in the housing market. Fred Katayama reports.
Further signs of momentum in the housing market. Lennar delivered more homes at higher prices in the latest quarter. Profit jumped 33 percent, easily surpassing analysts' targets. The U.S.' second largest home builder credited its strong performance to higher wages and jobs, supply shortages, and reasonable affordability levels, among other things. Profit margins, however, slipped a bit. That was due to higher costs for land. Lennar partially offset that by raising sales prices. CEO Stuart Miller was bullish about the outlook for the homebuilding market, saying it's "well positioned for multi-year growth." One indicator of future revenue, new orders, leapt 18 percent at Lennar, much more than analysts had forecast. A lot of that growth came from the West.. That's a marked contrast to reports on new and existing home sales that saw the Northeast as the standout region. Sales in both categories rose to their highest levels last month in more than five years, reflecting the housing momentum depitcted in Lennar's and KB Home's results. Lennar's shares, up 9 percent this year in line with its peers, rose in early trading. UBS analyst Susan Maklari raised her price target and earnings estimate for the full year, calling the results "another impressive quarter."