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UPDATE 2-Homebuilder Horton lifts 2021 sales view as low rates, pandemic drive demand

(Adds details from conference call, shares)

Jan 26 (Reuters) - D.R. Horton Inc raised its 2021 home sales forecast on Tuesday, as historically low mortgage rates and a pandemic-driven shift towards suburban living continue to whet homebuyer appetite.

The company’s shares rose 4.3% to $82.43 after the U.S. homebuilder posted quarterly profit and revenue above Wall Street estimates.

The U.S. housing market is facing an exodus from city centers to suburbs and other low-density areas as companies allow employees to work from home and schools shift to online classes because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are well-positioned for the spring selling season and the remainder of 2021,” Chief Executive David Auld said on a post-earnings call with analysts.

“The demand out there is really driven by demographics, and I think it has been accelerated because of the pandemic and people’s desire to find a safe environment for their family.”

D.R. Horton said demand remained strong amid a limited supply of homes at affordable prices, adding that the company still had pricing power and was using very few sales incentives.

Horton now expects home sales in its fiscal 2021 to be between 80,000 and 82,000 homes, above a prior forecast of between 77,000 and 80,000 homes.

Orders, an indicator of future sales, jumped 55.6% to 20,418 homes in the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2020, while the number of homes sold rose 44.6% to 18, 739.

Total revenue rose to $5.93 billion, from $4.02 billion on-year.

Net income attributable to the company rose 83.6% to $791.8 million, or $2.14 per share from a year-ago period.

Analysts on average expected a profit of $1.69 per share on a revenue of $5.54 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. (Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Ramakrishnan M.)

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