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UPDATE 1-PulteGroup's profit edges past estimates as prices, sales rise

(Adds third-quarter details, I/B/E/S estimates)

Oct 24 (Reuters) - PulteGroup Inc, the No. 3 U.S. homebuilder, reported a slightly higher-than-expected quarterly profit, driven by an increase in home sales and average selling prices.

Orders, a key metric of future revenue for homebuilders, rose 11 percent to 5,300 in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 despite the recent hurricanes, the company said on Tuesday.

Pulte, which sells single-family detached homes, said the average price of homes sold increased to $399,000 from $374,000 a year earlier, while the number of homes sold rose to 5,151 from 5,037.

"We remain optimistic about the strength of future housing demand, as the current housing cycle moves into its seventh year of growth," Chief Executive Ryan Marshall said in statement.

The company's net income rose to $177.5 million, or 58 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $128.5 million, or 37 cents per share, a year earlier.

The homebuilder earned 60 cents per share on an adjusted basis.

Revenue rose 9.6 percent to $2.13 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 59 cents per share and revenue of $2.30 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Pulte's gross margin was 23.9 percent, down 80 basis points. (Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Maju Samuel)