Scottsdale homebuilder Meritage Homes said it will likely increase its per-share earnings by 43 percent after posting record sales, closings and orders in 2004.
"We knew that we were having a good year, but the last quarter was better than anticipated," said chairman and CEO Steve Hilton.
Meritage Homes has headquarters in Scottsdale and Dallas and is active across the Valley, building adult communities and single-family developments. The company has offices and builds homes across the West and South.
The company’s numbers in 2004 mark the 17th consecutive year that the firm had record revenue and profits, Hilton said.
In Arizona, the company builds homes under Meritage Homes, Meritage Active Adult Communities and Monterey Homes. East Valley developments include Madrid at Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard and Thunderbird Road in Scottsdale; Rancho Bella Vista on Hunt Highway and Queen Creek Road; and The Estates at San Tan Vista at McQueen Road and Riggs Road in Chandler.
"Arizona’s a great market . . . business here was up dramatically — 41 percent for closings. Orders for our new homes in Arizona were up 74 percent," Hilton said. Led by the growth in its Arizona and California housing marke t s , the firm said its $2.3 billion in total sales orders for last year marked a 59 percent increase from 2003, while revenue from home closings increased by 38 percent to $2 billion.
The firm’s year-end backlog — the number of ordered homes not yet officially delivered to a buyer — increased by 86 percent to $1.3 billion.
The company raised its outlook Thursday and expects per share earnings to increase from $9.05 to $9.30 to $9.50 to $9.75. Shareholders earned $6.84 per share in 2003. Meanwhile, the firm’s stock will undergo a 2-for-1 split today, with per-share earnings expected in the $4.75 to $4.88 range.