NVR ( NVR), one of the larger U.S. homebuilders, reported a 28% increase in third-quarter net income, but the results missed analyst estimates, and shares slid in early trading.

The Reston, Va., company said its third-quarter earnings rose to $189.4 million, or $24.33 a share, from $147.8 million, or $19.04 a share, a year ago. Analysts, on average, expected per-share earnings of $25.90, according to Thomson First Call.

Consolidated revenue increased 18% year over year to $1.37 billion from $1.17 billion. Analysts' average estimate called for revenue of $1.45 billion. The company's gross profit margins improved to 28.1%, better than the 26% figure a year ago.

NVR reported that third-quarter new orders increased 7% to 2,897 units compared with a year earlier. New orders increased in every region, with the exception of Washington, D.C., an area the company said was hurt by "generally weaker market conditions." Orders fell 19% in the greater Washington area.

Backlog at the end of the quarter rose 14% year over year to 8,875 units. The dollar value of the backlog units totaled $3.83 billion, a 30% increase over last year.

NVR also increased its guidance to 30% growth in net income for all of 2005. Analysts currently are projecting earnings of $89.22 a share, which suggests 34% growth from year-earlier earnings per share of $66.57.

NVR shares recently dropped $62.75, or 8.3%, to $695.

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