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D.R. Horton profit beats estimates on higher home prices

(Reuters) - Homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc reported a better-than-expected profit as it sold more homes at higher prices in quarter ended June.

Demand for homes has remained strong despite a recent rise in mortgage rates as a shortage of homes available for sale has enabled builders to raise prices.

D.R. Horton, which sells homes priced between $100,000 and $600,000, said average selling price rose 15 percent in the third quarter.

Orders — a key indicator for builders, who do not book revenue until they finish a house — rose 12 percent to 6,822 homes.

Net income fell 81.5 percent to $146 million, or 42 cents per share, from $787.8 million, or $2.22 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 34 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The year-ago quarter included a $716.7 million tax benefit.

Third-quarter homebuilding revenue rose 47 percent to $1.64 billion.

D.R. Horton shares, which have gained about 7 percent value this year, closed at $21.20 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

(Corrects fifth paragraph to say net income fell 81.5 percent, not 98 percent)

(Reporting by Mridhula Raghavan in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

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