Universal Forest Products (UFP) today reported second quarter 2013 net sales of $738.4 million, a 24.4% increase over the $593.7 million in net sales during the same period in 2012, and earnings of $15.8 million in the quarter, down 9.7% from last year’s same quarter earnings of $17.5 million.

The company said 2012 second-quarter earnings were enhanced by gains on the sale of real estate, without which earnings would have been $13.2 million. Without the real estate gains, year-over-year earnings rose nearly 20%

Noting that lumber prices, which had been rising for months, fell 28% in the second quarter, UFP CEO Matthew J. Missad said the company was able to reduce the impact through strong sales tied to the upswing in the new housing and construction markets. Despite the second-quarter decline, lumber prices remained 15 percent higher than the same period of 2012, the company said.

“We are not dependent on a single market, which provides us with a competitive advantage over those companies that do not have the benefit of a diverse customer base or that do not serve multiple industries,” Missad said in a statement.

Gross sales for the company’s retail building materials segment rose 12.9% in the second quarter to $315 million. UFP expects moderate growth in home improvement projects through the end of the year, including decking and railing projects.

Residential construction-related gross sales rose 57.3% in the second quarter over the prior year period to $94.3 million. UFP attributed improving sales to an increase in single-family and multifamily housing starts.

Gross sales from commercial construction and concrete forming increased 56.2% to $37.5 million over the same quarter in 2012 on the strength of sales of universal manufactures and supplies forms and other materials for concrete construction projects, from bridges and roads to manufacturing facilities and hospitals.