Ryland Group (RYL) reported a first quarter net loss from continuing operations of $3 million, or 7 cents a share, reducing its losses a year earlier by 83%.

In the first quarter of 2011, the Westlake Village, Calif.-based homebuilder reported at loss of $17.4 million, or 39 cents a share.

Homebuilding revenues increased 29.8% to $209.5 million for the first quarter of 2012, compared to $161.4 million for the year ago period. This rise is primarily attributable to a 25.4% increase in closings that totaled 815 units for the quarter ended March 31.

Ryland’s new orders in the quarter increased 46.4% to 1,328 units from 907 units a year earlier.  Closings rose 25.4% to 815 units, while the homebuilder’s backlog increased 44.1% to 1,994 units.

— Justin T. Hilley