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AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - Toll Brothers says its fiscal fourth-quarter net income soared, helped by a large income tax benefit and a 48 percent rise in revenue. The luxury homebuilder delivered more homes and its order backlog increased.

CEO Douglas C. Yearley Jr. said in a statement on Tuesday that higher home prices, low interest rates, pent-up demand and improving consumer confidence prompted buyers to return to the housing market this year.

Last week a batch of government reports showed that rising home values, more hiring and lower gas prices pushed consumer confidence in November to the highest level in nearly five years. On Tuesday, Core Logic reported that a measure of U.S. home prices rose 6.3 percent in October compared with a year ago, the largest yearly gain since July 2006.

For the three months ended Oct. 31, Toll Brothers Inc. earned $411.4 million, or $2.35 per share. That's up sharply from $15 million, or 9 cents per share, a year ago.

The latest quarter included an income tax benefit of $350.7 million.

Excluding the tax benefit and other items, earnings were 35 cents per share.

Analysts expected earnings of 25 cents per share for the quarter, which typically exclude one-time items, according to a FactSet poll.

Revenue increased to $632.8 million from $427.8 million, topping Wall Street's forecast of $565.1 million.

Homebuilding deliveries climbed 44 percent to 1,088 units, while net signed contracts jumped 70 percent to 1,098 units. The average price of homes delivered increased to $582,000 from $565,000 a year earlier.

Toll Brothers, based in Horsham, Pa., may benefit by catering to the luxury sector. Its target market includes households that typically make more than $100,000 a year, can afford to make a down payment of as much as 30 percent, have great credit record and an unemployment rate about half that of the general population.

Backlog, a measure of potential future revenue, rose 54 percent to 2,569 units. The cancellation rate declined to 4.6 percent from 7.9 percent.

The company's full-year net income jumped to $487.1 million, or $2.86 per share, from $39.8 million, or 24 cents per share, a year earlier. Annual revenue climbed 27 percent to $1.88 billion from $1.48 billion.

Toll Brothers anticipates delivering between 3,600 and 4,400 homes in 2013 at an average price of $595,000 to $630,000 per home.

Its shares fell 57 cents, or 1.8 percent, to close at $31.86 Tuesday. Its shares peaked for the past year at $37.08 in mid-September.

The company has operations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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