Atlanta homebuilder Beazer Homes USA (BZH) narrowed its net loss for its fiscal second quarter as new orders and home closings increased.

Beazer reported a net loss of $39.9 million for the quarter ended March 31 compared with a net loss of $53.8 million in the year-ago period. That equates to a loss of 51 cents a share for the quarter, down from loss of 73 cents a share in the year-ago period.

Its net loss from continuing operations fell to $37.9 million, or a loss of 48 cents a share. Beazer missed the consensus estimate from analysts of a loss of 43 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

“We generated significant year-over-year increases in new home orders and home closings, reflecting both the initial operational benefits of our path-to-profitability strategies and gradually improving conditions in the housing market," said Allan Merrill, CEO. "We remain hopeful, but cautious, about the prospects for a sustained market recovery, as a number of factors continue to pose challenges for prospective homebuyers."

The company had new orders of 1,512 homes, a 29% increase from the comparable period, and 844 home closings, up from 563.

It reported a backlog of 1,975 homes with a sales value of $465 million, compared to 1,396 homes with a sales value of $335.2 million as of March 31, 2011.

Beazer reported a gross profit margin of 10.5%, compared to a negative 1.1% for the quarter ended March 2011. Margins were impacted by $1.2 million and $17.8 million in fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2011, respectively, for impairments and option contract abandonments.

Still, cancellations rates were high, 22.5%, up from 20% in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue was $191.6 million, compared to $125.7 million in fiscal 2011.

Homebuilding gross profit margin, excluding impairments and abandonments was 10.9%, compared to 12.4% in the year-ago period.