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Beazer Homes'

(BZH) - Get Beazer Homes USA, Inc. Report

profit went through the roof in the fourth quarter, amid the latest round of speculation that the nation's long-running housing boom is over.

The homebuilder Friday reported record quarterly earnings and a record year-end order backlog.

Atlanta-based Beazer earned $80.1 million, or $5.82 a share, vs. $57.2 million, or $4.18 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 16.5% to $1.21 billion, from $1.04 billion.

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Analysts expected the company to earn $5.49 a share, according to Thomson First Call.

The company's order backlog stood at 8,456 homes with a sales value of $2.24 billion at the end of the quarter. The number of homes was about 14% higher than a year ago. New orders rose 10.7% in the quarter.

The company cited strength in the mid-Atlantic, Southeast and West regions. Business in the Midwest was flat.

Mortgage rates are now little changed from year-ago levels after a spike in the spring, hugging historic lows.

Beazer forecast 2005 EPS of $20 to $21. Analysts expect $18.03 a share.

Beazer shares closed at $114.19 Thursday.