Homebuilder Lennar ( LEN) said second-quarter earnings jumped 51% on high housing demand.

The Miami-based company earned $160.3 million, or $2.05 a share, in the quarter ended May 31, compared with $106 million, or $1.37 a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts expected $1.70 a share.

Lennar said "historically low interest rates, healthy demographic-driven demand and improving consumer sentiment" helped boost demand.

Total revenue rose 35% to $2.1 billion. Home sales increased 36%, the company said, to $1.9 billion, boosted especially by sales in California. Lennar cited a 25% increase in total home deliveries to 7,385 homes, while average sale prices rose 8%.

The company now expects to earn $8.50 a share in 2003 and $9.50 a share in 2004, ahead of the analyst consensus of $8.01 a share in 2003 and $8.18 a share in 2004. Previously, Lennar had expected 2003 and 2004 earnings of $7.73 a share and $9.09 a share, respectively.

Shares of the company closed at $69.75 Tuesday.

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