KB Home (NYSE:KBH) revealed on Friday an 83% plunge in fourth-quarter net income, but shareholders cheered the home builder’s first pretax profit in nearly four years.

Los Angeles-based KB Home said it earned $17.4 million, or 23 cents a share, in the quarter ended Nov. 30, compared with a profit of $100.7 million, or $1.31 a share, a year earlier. Analysts had been bracing for a loss of 17 cents a share.

Revenue declined 33% to $451 million, exceeding the Street’s view of $441 million.

The quarter marked KB Home’s 11th consecutive improvement in year-over-year pretax results and its first pretax profit in almost four years.

KB Home said its home deliveries declined by 37% to 1,918 homes, but its average selling price rose 14% to $232,500.

The home builder also said its net orders slid 25% to 1,085 last quarter and its backlog stood at 1,336 homes, down 37% from a year earlier.

“Entering 2011, housing market conditions remain difficult due to soft demand and a general oversupply of homes available for sale,” CEO Jeffrey Mezger said in a statement. “While there are indications that the overall economy has started to recover, the lack of improvement in employment and consumer confidence is likely to continue to hinder a sustained housing recovery.”