NEW YORK (AP) — PulteGroup and Beazer Homes said Thursday that orders for homes fell in the last quarter of 2013, but both homebuilders said their revenue improved as prices climbed higher. Pulte said sale prices rose by 13 percent and Beazer's grew by 19 percent. The two companies stayed relatively upbeat, as Pulte said it expects the housing rebound to continue because of low interest rates, the limited supply of new and existing homes, and the ongoing modest economic recovery. Beazer repeated that it expects to be profitable in the current fiscal year. PulteGroup said its fourth-quarter net income jumped to $220.1 million , or 57 cents per share, from $58.7 million , or 15 cents per share. The 2012 quarter was hurt by 19 cents per share in charges. The Bloomfield Hills, Mich. , company said total revenue rose 6 percent to $1.66 billion , as higher average selling prices were offset by fewer closings. Analysts expected income of 45 cents per share and $1.68 billion in revenue, according to FactSet. Pulte , which operates in 50 markets nationwide, ended December with a backlog of 5,772 homes worth $1.9 billion . That compares with its year-earlier backlog of 6,458 homes worth $1.9 billion . Its gross margin rose by 610 basis points year over year to 23.2 percent, the highest margin since 2005. PulteGroup Inc. shares added 7 cents to $19.50 in morning trading. Beazer, which operates in 16 states, said new home orders and cancellation rates both fell. The company pared its loss for its fiscal first quarter ended in December to $5.1 million , or 21 cents per share, from $20.4 million , or 84 cents per share. The Atlanta -based company lost 16 cents per share from continuing operations. Revenue grew 19 percent to $293.2 million . Analysts expected a loss of 25 cents per share and $278.5 million in revenue. Beazer posted a 310 basis point improvement in homebuilding gross margins and said its backlog at Dec. 31 totaled 1,750 homes worth $500 million , versus its prior-year backlog of 1,817 homes worth $478.3 million . Shares of Beazer Homes USA Inc. slipped 51 cents , or 2.2 percent, to $22.25 .
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