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Lennar’s 3Q results top Street, delivers more homes

MIAMI (AP) — Lennar’s fiscal third-quarter results topped analysts’ estimates as it delivered more homes amid the ongoing recovery of the housing market.

For the period ended Aug. 31, Lennar Corp. earned $235.8 million, or $1.01 per share. A year earlier the Miami-based company earned $223.3 million, or 96 cents per share.

Analysts polled by FactSet were looking for earnings of 90 cents per share.

Revenue increased to $2.83 billion from $2.49 billion a year ago and beat the $2.69 billion that Wall Street expected.

Deliveries climbed 7 percent to 6,779 homes, while new orders rose 8 percent to 7,018 homes. Lennar also said that there was a 3 percent increase in the average sales price of homes delivered.

The Lennar earnings came as the government reported the pace of August housing starts nationwide fell to their lowest level in three months. Homebuilders pulled back on construction in the South.

In August, ground breakings dropped 5.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.14 million from 1.21 million in July, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The pace of construction was the lowest since May. Starts plummeted 14.8 percent in the South, likely reflecting the monthly volatility of the government report. Building activity increased in the Northeast, Midwest and West.

Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, blamed the decrease in construction in the South on August rainstorms. “Look for a rebound in the next month or two,” Lee said.

Despite the monthly decline, construction activity has accelerated for much this year.

Nonetheless, Lennar shares dropped $1.55, or 3.4 percent, to $43.55 in afternoon trading Tuesday.

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