Always eagerly awaited, homebuilder results provide an opportunity to take the pulse of the real estate sector, and more generally of the US economy. In this respect, Lennar's sales and financial performance showed no major change, remaining in line with the rather buoyant momentum seen in recent years.

Well placed in the continent's most dynamic markets, notably Texas and Florida, management nevertheless confesses to observing a slowdown in activity, linked of course to interest rates. However, it is maintaining its target of delivering 80,000 homes this year, 7,000 more than last year and 11,000 more than in 2022.

Above all, the Group is rapidly reducing its debt. As its targets in this area were achieved faster than expected, it then embarked on a very aggressive share buyback program, with a further 3.8 million shares delisted in the last three months at an average price of $158.

As a result, Lennar's balance sheet is extremely solid, and its liquidity is set to improve further with the spin-off of the company's land holdings, estimated at between $6 and $8 billion. It would be interesting if these amounts were redirected towards massive new share buy-backs.

All these positive developments have returned the stock's valuation to its ten-year average of ten times earnings, after twice hitting a low of five times earnings - at the height of the Covid panic, and two years later when the first rate hikes sent the market into a panic.

Remarkably, Berkshire Hathaway took advantage of this fleeting conjuncture to execute a momentum trade as astute as it was profitable: Warren Buffett's conglomerate had acquired shares in Lennar, DR Horton and NVR on this second downturn, but has since sold these positions after realizing solid capital gains.

Just in time, one might think, since the latest research - including reports from Bloomberg, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley - seems to indicate an inflection in the real estate market, with inventories of existing homes for sale starting to rise again after years of dearth.

Concerned about preserving their privileged position, homeowners who had secured very low borrowing rates were reluctant to sell. This scarcity effect on the existing home market had undoubtedly greatly benefited new home builders.