Homebuilding giant Lennar Corp (NYSE: LEN) on Wednesday reported results its first quarter of fiscal 2019, b3efore the opening bell.
For the quarter, Lennar Corp earned $239.9 million or $0.74 per diluted share, compared to the year-ago net earnings of $136.2 million or $0.53 per share.
Deliveries were up 30% to 8,820 homes, while new orders soared 24% to 10,463 homes. The dollar value of new orders spiked 23% to $4.2 billion.
In the reported period, backlog slipped 2% to 17,259 homes — on a dollar value, backlog shrunk 7% to $7.1 billion.
Revenues soared 30% to $3.9 billion in the quarter, when homebuilding operating margins reached $384.9 million. Gross margin on home sales moved up to 20.1%, from 19.5% a year ago.
Lennar Executive Chairman Stuart Miller said, “Our new order growth exceeded the high end of our guidance by 5%, while our deliveries fell short of guidance primarily due to well-documented weather issues across the country. Even with lower than expected revenues in the first quarter, our continued focus on homebuilding operating efficiencies allowed the Company to increase operating earnings at a higher rate than revenues.”
Mr. Miller continued, “However, during the quarter, mortgage interest rates subsided and ultimately pulled back and home prices moderated providing a catalyst for the new home market to correct itself. Accordingly, sequentially throughout the first quarter, we saw increased interest in new home purchases as part of an improving and stabilizing housing market. We continue to believe that the basic underlying housing market fundamentals of low unemployment, higher wages and low inventory levels remain favorable.”
Then, CEO Rick Beckwitt weighed in on the results. “Our homebuilding gross margin was 20.1%, while our SG&A of 9.5% marked an all-time, first-quarter low. Using our strong cash position, we repurchased an additional one million shares of our stock for $47.0 million during the quarter,” the chief said.