D.R. Horton beats profit estimates, nudges home sales forecast higher

(Reuters) - D.R. Horton Inc DHI.N raised the upper end of its full-year home sales forecast and topped Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit on Monday, as lower mortgage rates whet buyer appetite and boosted the No. 1 U.S. homebuilder's sales.

Shares of the company gained 2.3% in premarket trade as orders, an indicator of future revenue, rose 18.9% to 13,126 homes in the first quarter.

“We continue to see good demand and a limited supply of homes at affordable prices across our markets, and economic fundamentals and financing availability remain solid,” Chairman Donald Horton said.

Horton added that the company was well-positioned for the spring selling season as well as the remainder of 2020.

U.S. home sales jumped to their highest level in nearly two years in December, the latest indication that lower mortgage rates have been helping the housing market regain its footing, after it hit a soft patch in 2018.

The company said it sold 12,959 homes in the quarter, up from 11,500, a year ago.

D.R. Horton now expects 2020 home sales to be between 60,000 and 61,500 units, compared with its previous range of 60,000 to 61,000 homes.

Revenue rose 14.3% to $4.02 billion.

Net income attributable to the company rose 50.2% to $431.3 million, or $1.16 per share, in the first quarter ended Dec. 31. The quarter included a tax benefit of $32.9 million.

Excluding items, the company earned a profit of $1.07 per share according to IBES data form Refinitiv. Analysts on average had expected a profit of 92 cents per share.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi