UPDATE 1-Lennar profit jumps, new home orders rise
* Third-quarter revenue $1.60 bln vs est $1.56 bln
* Earnings $0.54 per share vs est $0.45
* Orders rise 14 pct to 4,785 houses
Sept 24 (Reuters) - Lennar Corp reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as it sold more homes at higher prices, indicating the U.S. housing recovery is firmly on track.
The No. 3 U.S. homebuilder said orders for new homes rose 14 percent in the quarter and that the long-term outlook for its business remains "extremely bright".
"We continue to see long-term fundamental demand in the market driven by the significant shortfall of new single-family and multi-family homes built over the last five years," Chief Executive Stuart Miller said in a statement.
Lennar is the first of the top 5 U.S. homebuilders to report quarterly earnings.
Orders, a key indicator for builders who do not book revenue on a house until the sale is complete, jumped to 4,785 houses.
Lennar said gross margins on home sales rose to 24.9 percent from 23.2 percent a year earlier, driven by a greater percentage of deliveries from its new higher-margin communities.
Net income rose to $120.7 million, or 54 cents per share, in the third quarter from $87.1 million, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier.
Total revenue rose 46 percent to $1.60 billion.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of 45 cents per share on revenue of $1.56 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Lennar shares were up marginally in premarket trade. They closed at $34.54 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.