August 22, 2012 / 4:03 PM / 6 years ago

Toll Brothers orders rise sharply amid housing recovery

(Reuters) - Toll Brothers Inc (TOL.N), the largest luxury homebuilder in the United States, reported its highest revenue since the recession of 2008, underlining the recovery in the housing market and sending its shares to a five-year high.

The company, which targets affluent customers who typically make at least $100,000 a year and have spotless credit records, reported a sharp jump in orders and forecast higher revenue for the full year.

“We are enjoying the most sustained demand we have experienced in over five years,” Toll CEO Douglas Yearley said in a statement. “The housing recovery is being driven by pent-up demand, very low interest rates and attractively priced homes.”

The U.S. housing market, which fell into a deep rut six years ago prompting a recession in the economy, has been recovering this year. Home sales have risen, helped by higher rental rates and low inventory.

U.S. home resales rose in July as low interest rates and a modest improvement in the labor market helped home buying conditions, the National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday.

Homebuilders such as D.R. Horton (DHI.N) and PulteGroup (PHM.N) have reported strong results.

“Housing is on the mend,” Toll’s Executive Chairman Robert Toll said.

The company said it was gaining market share as small and mid-sized private builders - its primary rivals - are constrained for capital.

Toll is the only publicly traded luxury homebuilder.

“The pace of our contract growth has far exceeded the national housing data as we are gaining market share,” said CEO Yearley.

Toll’s net signed contracts rose 57 percent to 1,119 units during May-July. Backlog jumped 59 percent to $1.62 billion.

CEO Yearley said Toll’s non-binding reservation deposits - an indication of future contracts - increased 59 percent in the first three weeks of the fourth quarter.

The company forecast home-sale revenue of $1.71 billion to $1.84 billion for 2012. It raised the lower end of its full-year home delivery outlook range by 300 units to 3,000. It expects to deliver up to 3,200 units.

The forecast calls for at least 16 percent growth in revenue and 15 percent growth in deliveries.

For the third quarter, Toll’s earnings rose to $61.6 million, or 36 cents per share, from $42.1 million, or 25 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue increased 41 percent to $554.3 million.

The company’s shares, which have gained 25 percent of their value in the last three months, rose 6 percent to $33.68 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Toll’s results pushed up shares of other homebuilders. The Standard & Poor’s homebuilder index .GSPHOME was up 4 percent.

(This story corrects throughout to say CEO’s second name is Yearley, not Yearly)

Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi and Bijoy Koyitty in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel and Don Sebastian

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