Meritage Homes Corp., Scottsdale (NYSE:MTH) late Wednesday reported net earnings of $43.9 million ($1.07 per diluted share) for the first quarter of 2018, up 86% and 91%, respectively, compared to the first quarter of 2017. Analysts were expecting a gain of $0.74.

Earnings before income taxes were up 33% year-over-year, primarily due to increases in home closing revenue and home closing gross margin.

Home closing revenue increased 10% on a 9% increase in closing volume and a 1% increase in average sales price over the first quarter of 2017. The increases in closings and revenue were led by the East region (Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Tennessee), which delivered a 25% increase in home closing revenue from 29% more home closings at an average sales price 3% lower than the first quarter of 2017.