Revenue on the rebound at home builder Lennar

Shares of Lennar LEN jumped Thursday after the home builder said orders for new homes jumped 63% from the first fiscal quarter and revenues topped expectations.

That news eclipsed the company's slightly larger loss over the year-ago results. Lennar lost $125.2 million, or 76 cents a share, for the three months ended May 31. That compares with a loss of $120.9 million, or 76 cents a share, in the second quarter last year.

"During the second quarter, the housing market experienced an uptick in sales of new homes, compared to the first quarter, as more confident home buyers took advantage of increased affordability," President and CEO Stuart Miller said in a statement.

Lennar's stock spiked 17% Thursday.

The Miami-based builder sold 3,149 homes during the quarter, down 18% from the prior-year period, but up 47% from the first quarter.

Another bright spot was a drop in cancellations. Lennar reported a 15% cancellation rate for the quarter, considerably smaller than the 22% posted last year.

Revenue dropped to $891.9 million from $1.13 billion, partly on fewer home deliveries, but still managed to beat Wall Street's $597.5 million estimate.

The quarterly loss included 38 cents a share for adjustments in the value of land and inventory, and a 27 cents-a-share charge related to tax asset values.

Since the end of the first quarter, other builders have reported a pickup in traffic and sales, partly due to falling mortgage rates and incentives like the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit enacted in February.

Miller said historically low rates, the federal tax credit for first-time buyers and California's $10,000 state tax credit for buyers of new homes "created unique purchasing opportunities and made it more compelling for home buyers to enter the market."

Miller said the company is working hard to get back to turning a profit, and slashed expenses and lowered construction costs to help prop up its financials.

The builder also looked to entice potential buyers with incentives. Sales incentives totaled $52,600 per home compared with $48,700 a year earlier.

The average sale price declined about 8% to $251,000.

Lennar sells homes in 17 states and was ranked the fourth-largest homebuilder last year by Builder magazine.

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