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July 25 (Reuters) - PulteGroup Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as it sold more homes at higher average prices and its orders got a boost from a strong housing market.
Shares of the No.3 U.S. homebuilder were up 1.6 percent at $24.82 in light premarket trading on Tuesday.
Pulte, which sells single-family detached homes, said the average price of homes climbed 6.3 percent to $390,000 in the second quarter ended June 30.
A chronic shortage of homes and steady demand are expected to drive U.S. home prices in the next few years, a Reuters poll showed in May.
Pulte, which sells homes priced in the range of about $100,000 to over $1 million, said its number of homes sold rose to 5,044 from 4,772.
RBC Capital Markets' Robert Wetenhall said he had a positive view on the homebuilder's earnings, noting solid volume growth and a firm pricing environment.
New orders, a key measure of future revenue for homebuilders, increased 12.3 percent to 6,395 homes, rising the most in the last six months.
"We believe housing demand can continue to move higher over the coming quarters," PulteGroup Chief Executive Ryan Marshall said in a statement.
Homebuilders have benefited from a tightening U.S. job market, which has fueled demand for homes in recent months.
Housing starts rose 8.3 percent in June, beating expectations and ending three straight months of declines.
PulteGroup's net income fell to $100.7 million, or 32 cents per share, in the second quarter from $117.8 million, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier.
The company took a $121 million pre-tax charge in the quarter related to the sale of underutilized land assets.
Excluding one-time items, the company earned 47 cents per share beating analysts' average estimate of 41 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Total revenue rose 12.3 percent to $2.02 billion. Analysts on average had expected $2.03 billion.
Up to Monday's close, Atlanta-based PulteGroup's shares had risen 32.9 percent this year. (Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)