MDC Holdings profit beats estimates, home orders rise

July 31 Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:36am EDT

July 31 (Reuters) - Homebuilder MDC Holdings Inc's quarterly profit beat analysts' expectations as it sold more homes and cut costs.

New orders rose 32 percent to 1,402 homes for April-June, pushing up order backlog to 2,028 homes, the company said.

"With our quarter-end backlog up 42 percent over the prior year, we are well-positioned to achieve continued gains in operating leverage during the second half of 2012 and achieve our goal of reaching profitability for 2012," Chief Executive Officer Larry Mizel said in a statement.

The company sold 861 homes in the quarter, up from 709 a year earlier. Its average selling price was up 2 percent.

Home sale revenue rose 24 percent to $256.5 million for the quarter, but missed analysts' expectation of $273.2 million.

MDC reported net income of $10.6 million, or 22 cents per share, compared with a net loss of about $28 million, or 60 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected earnings of 6 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company, which also provides mortgage financing, insurance and title services, said selling, general and administrative expenses fell 20 percent to 39.2 million.

Shares of the Denver, Colorado-based company closed at $32.92 on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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