02/11/2014 07:18 EST | Updated 04/13/2014 05:59 EDT

Brookfield Residential Q4 profit up at US$79M; cites brisker business

CALGARY - Brookfield Residential Properties Inc. (TSX:BRP) is reporting an jump in fourth-quarter net earnings, citing an increase in closings and higher home prices.

The North American land developer and homebuilder said Tuesday after markets closed that net income was US$79 million or 67 cents per diluted share in the three months ended Dec. 31. That compared with US$56 million or 52 cents diluted per share in the same 2012 period.

Home closings increased 18 per cent to 856 units from the fourth quarter of 2012, while the average home selling price was US$478,000 in the fourth quarter, up more than 12 per cent from $425,000 in the same 2012 period.

Total revenue in the quarter declined to US$555 million from US$715 million as land revenue was just $146 million compared with $407 million a year earlier.

However, Brookfield noted that the 2012 land operations included the Playa Vista sale of 195 lots and 22 multi-family acre parcel sales that resulted in $264 million of revenue but at no margin.

"Without the inclusion of these Playa Vista sales, land revenue increased by $3 million over the same period of 2012 due to the increased activity in the U.S.," it said.

Housing revenue, meanwhile, increased $101 million to $409 million.

For the full year, Brookfield Residential reported net income of US$142 million or $1.21 per diluted share on $1.356 billion in revenue. That compared with net income of US$93 million or 91 cents per diluted share on revenue of US$1.34 billion in 2012.

In its outlook, the company said it continued to see improvements in the U.S. housing sector in 2013, with supply generally tightening and demand improving, although there were regional variations.

"We believe affordability remains high despite these price gains and will continue to support home ownership," it said.

Brookfield said it anticipates the U.S. housing market will continue to improve in the years ahead, albeit at a slower pace, while the Canadian market will remain stable.

It said Canadian operations would continue to benefit from "our strong market share within the energy-focused Alberta market" while the supply-constrained Ontario market should also continue to be "a strong contributor to our results."