M.D.C. Holdings ( MDC) handily beat second-quarter earnings estimates as home sales and gross margins drove results.In a press statement after the bell Monday, the company said net income surged to $82.6 million, or $2.43 a share, from $42.7 million, or $1.30 a share, last year. The results were well above the Street estimate of $1.98 a share. Revenue came in at $875 million, up from $689 million and above the consensus estimate of $818.7 million. The Denver-based homebuilder said results were spurred by extraordinary demand for housing in Nevada and organic growth in its other long-standing markets, particularly California and Arizona. Higher operating profit in the M.D.C.'s core homebuilding division was primarily due to a record level of home closings, higher average selling prices and a 430-basis-point increase in home gross margins. The company said second-quarter home orders were a record for the 10th consecutive quarter, contributing to its highest ever quarter-end backlog of 8,259 homes with an estimated sales value of $2.5 billion. As a result of the strong backlog, first-half performance, and the company's plans for continued expansion in all of its markets, it is positioned to close more than 13,500 homes and post its seventh consecutive year of "record" earnings for the full year. Shares of M.D.C. closed Monday up $1.05, or 1.7%, at $61.55.