Thursday, September 13, 2012

Meritage earnings rise -

Scottsdale-based Meritage Homes Corp. posted a jump in its second-quarter earnings after its home sales hit a four-year high during the period.

On Thursday, the home builder reported its net income for the quarter ended June 30 climbed to $8 million, or 24 cents per share. That compares with a profit of $562,000, or 2 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2011.

Meritage's revenue from both home and land sales increased to $281.3 million, compared with $220.1 million for the same period last year.

Arizona's only publicly-traded home builder sold 1,042 houses during the second quarter, about 200 more than in the same period last year. Meritage's top market for home building is Texas, where it sold 409 houses during the last quarter. Arizona was second, with the builder selling 208 houses across the state.

"The housing market continued to improve during the second quarter of 2012, and June represented our eighth straight month of year-over-year increases in order volume," said Steve Hilton, Meritage chairman.

He said the company is on track to sell 4,000 houses in 2012.

In Monday, Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs raised its price target on Meritage Homes stock from $24 a share to $46. The firm currently has a "neutral" on the home builder's stock.

Analyst reports have been mixed. Earlier this month, FBN Securities downgraded Meritage from a "sector perform" to an "underperform." And Citigroup initiated coverage of Meritage Homes with a "neutral" rating on its stock.

Meritage's stock closed at $37.23 on Thursday, up $4.23, or 12.8 percent.

By Catherine Reagor, The Republic| Jul 27, 2012

Meritage earnings rise -

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