"After years of home prices falling, in 2012 the trend turned positive, initially stabilizing and then allowing for price increases across the country."
D.R. Horton Inc., the largest U.S. homebuilder by volume, said Tuesday that fiscal first quarter profit more than doubled as demand for new houses climbed. Orders jumped 39 percent to 5,259 homes. The company's contract backlog, an indication of future sales, rose 80 percent to $1.76 billion.
Low borrowing costs are helping buyers who qualify for financing. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was at 3.42 percent last week, close to the 3.31 percent in November that was the lowest in data going back to 1972, according to McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac.