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Meritage Home (MTH) shares advanced after hours on Wednesday as the homebuilder's second-quarter earnings and sales easily exceeded estimates.

Meritage earned $1.31 a share in the second quarter, flat with a year earlier. Homebuilding revenue slipped 1% to $863.1 million.

A survey of analysts by FactSet research produced consensus estimates of $1.03 of profit on $811.2 million of revenue.

The company closed the sale of 2,253 homes in the quarter, up 5% from the year-earlier period. The average sales price on those homes was $383,000, down 6%. New orders were 2,735 units, up 22%.

"Homebuying activity was strong and steady" throughout the quarter, Steven J. Hilton, chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Demand "throughout the extended spring selling season reflects sustained positive macroeconomic factors for the housing industry," he said.

The Scottsdale, Arizona, company is now more than two years into a strategy to focus on entry-level and first-move-up markets, coupled with a streamlining of operations, Hilton said.