LOS ANGELES (AP) — KB Home said Friday its fiscal third quarter loss widened, as the homebuilder delivered fewer homes than a year ago when a federal homebuyer tax credit helped inflate deliveries and revenue.

The Los Angeles company also said the tax credit, which expired in April 2010, contributed to a 40 percent climb in new home orders in this year’s quarter.

Homebuilders have been reporting annual increases in new home orders this summer, but much of that is attributed to a hangover effect from the expiration of the tax credit. New home sales plummeted last year after potential homebuyers no longer had the tax credit. Sales remained weak throughout the summer and much of the fall. Even with the credit, new home sales in 2010 fell to the lowest level on records going back 47 years.

That made for favorable comparisons with new home orders in this year’s third quarter. But the new-home market continues to be weighed down by weak consumer confidence, high unemployment, competition from foreclosures and tight mortgage-lending standards.

KB Home reported a net loss of $9.6 million, or 13 cents per share, in the three months that ended Aug. 31. That compares with a loss of $1.4 million, or 2 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue sank 27 percent to $367.3 million from $501 million the previous year.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting a larger loss of 16 cents a share on higher $390.4 million in revenue.

Its shares rose 32 cents, or 5.6 percent, to $6.04 in morning trading.

KB Home builds homes to order in 12 states for entry-level, move-up buyers and seniors. It was ranked the fifth-largest homebuilder in the nation last year, by closings.

The company said it delivered 1,603 homes in the quarter, compared to 2,320 last year. The decline in home deliveries was partially offset by a 6 percent increase in average selling price.

New orders climbed in each of its four geographic regions and jumped 73 percent in the West Coast.

KB Home also said selling, general and administrative expenses dropped 23 percent to $60.2 million in the third quarter of 2011. The company said that reflected a push to streamline its business and reduce overhead, the recovery of legal expenses from insurance carriers and the lower volume of homes delivered.

 

Its shares rose 4 cents to $5.76 in premarket trading.