Luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc. (TOLL) Tuesday reported record fourth-quarter homebuilding sales and backlog, citing a growing population of affluent buyers.

Toll Brothers' shares rose nearly 4 percent.

The Huntingdon Valley, Pa.-based company, which said the results were preliminary, said homebuilding revenue in the fourth quarter rose 62 percent from last year to its highest level for any quarter in the company's history at $1.4 billion.

"As long as the population continues to rise and affluent households continue to grow much faster than the population in general ... demand for luxury homes will continue to exceed supply," Toll Brothers Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Toll said in a statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (search).

Backlog also hit a quarterly high, rising 68 percent to $4.4 billion, and the backlog in place is already 115 percent of 2004 overall sales, the company said. Contracts in the quarter ended Oct. 31 grew 51 percent to $1.5 billion.

As a result, Toll Brothers raised its estimate for 2005 home closings, also known as deliveries, to between 7,800 and 8,100 homes at an average price of $620,000 to $630,000.

Toll Brothers, which will announce final fourth-quarter results Dec. 9, reiterated that it expects net income growth of at least 30 percent in fiscal 2005 and at least 20 percent in 2006. It previously cited maturing baby boomers entering their peak earning years when offering its outlook.

Analysts were expecting the company to earn $5.73 in 2005 and $6.48 in 2006, according to Reuters Estimates.

Toll Brothers' stock was up $1.86, or 3.8 percent, at $51.01 on the New York Stock Exchange (search).