Homebuilder D.R. Horton, Inc. (DHI) posted a third-quarter profit of $146 million, or 42 cents a share, beating analyst estimates of earnings in the 34 cents-a-share range.

This compares to a profit of $787.8 million, or $2.22 a share, in the third quarter of fiscal 2012. The big year-over-year difference is attributed to a one-time, non-cash tax benefit of $716.7 million from a reduction of the company’s valuation allowance for a deferred tax asset in the third quarter of 2012.

In this year's third-quarter, the company fared well without the tax benefit. Homebuilding revenue in 3Q rose 47% to $1.6 billion from $1.1 billion in the same quarter of 2012. 

The firm's 3Q income also was buoyed by a 15% rise in the average sales price and more demand from move-up buyers.

D.R. Horton’s net sales orders for the third quarter rose 12% to 6,822 units, up from 6,079 homes in the year-ago quarter. The value of net sales order jumped 30% to $1.8 billion from $1.4 billion. 

The pre-tax income for D.R. Horton also spiked 184% to $205.1 million, compared to $72.2 million in the same quarter last year. 

"Our homebuilding and financial services operations delivered strong results again this quarter, with a 580 basis point improvement in our pre-tax income margin to 12.1% and a 184% increase in our pre-tax income to $205.1 million," said Donald Horton, chairman of the D.R. Horton board. "Homes sold, closed and in backlog all increased double-digit percentages, while the dollar values all increased 30% or more."

Horton added, "Our strengthening operating metrics combined with our backlog of 9,911 homes at June 30, 2013 position us for a strong finish to our fiscal year."

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