Homebuilders strode upstairs Tuesday after

Toll Brothers

(TOL) - Get Report

reported record fourth-quarter sales, citing strong demand from affluent buyers.

The luxury homebuilder said revenue rose 62% for the quarter to $1.4 billion, its highest level for any quarter in the company's history. It built 2,395 homes in the period, up from 1,578.

In 2005, the company expects earnings growth of at least 30%, even after raising its delivery forecast to between 7,800 and 8,100 homes. The prior estimate had been 7,700 to 8,000 homes.

Shares of Toll Brothers were recently up $1.62, or 3.3%, to $51.01, after shooting up as much as 5.7% earlier in the session. Meanwhile, competitors like

KB Home

(KBH) - Get Report

added $1.89, or 2.2%, to $86.42.

Hovnanian Enterprises

(HOV) - Get Report

rose 78 cents, or 2%, to $39.96.

Centex

(CTX)

jumped 78 cents, or 1.4%, to $54.39. Also,

Pulte Homes

(PHM) - Get Report

was up 54 cents, or 1%, to $56.50.

The sector took a hit in October when

Pulte Homes

(PLT) - Get Report

warned of sluggish sales in Las Vegas developments. The news was widely interpreted as a foreshadowing of a long-anticipated slowdown in the housing market, which has been red hot for years. It sparked a sectorwide selloff, but shares stabilized after Wall Street analysts decided the reaction was overblown.

Toll Brothers Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Toll saw the company's performance as confirmation that underlying strength still remains in real estate.

"As long as the population continues to rise and affluent households continue to grow much faster than the population in general ... demand for luxury homes will continue to exceed supply," he said in a regulatory filing with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

.