The company said it lost $6.5 million, or 4 cents a share, in its latest quarter, compared to a loss of$155.9 million, or 98 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue slid 3% to $574.4 million.
Analysts had been bracing for a much deeper loss of 30 cents a share and weaker revenue of $568.2 million.
Shares of Lennar were recently up 5.22% to $17.95 on the better-than-expected results. The stock had already been up 33% year-to-date and 81% from a year ago.
“We continue to see that the overall housing market is moving towards stabilization, as more confident homebuyers recognize the increased affordability of homeownership. In the first quarter, this was evidenced by our improved traffic levels, higher backlog, lower cancellation rates and reduced sales incentives,” CEO Stuart Miller said in a statement.
The company said its home deliveries fell by 6% to 2,004 units, but its new orders climbed 18% to 2,577 units and its backlog was up 34%.
Miami-based Lennar it is on track to achieve profitability in fiscal 2010. Miller said he is optimistic Lennar will keep its momentum even after the federal homebuyer tax credit expires later this spring.
“While it is difficult to predict the potential negative impact from the elimination of the federal homebuyer tax credit, we are optimistic that consumer confidence and current affordability will offset this impact over time,” Miller said.