Hovnanian Enterprises ( HOV) said new-home orders rose sharply last month, adding to the good results the homebuilders have reported in recent days. The company said new-home orders rose 59% in May to 1,215 units. Texas and the Northeast saw the strongest growth in percentage terms. Hovnanian's number of active selling communities on May 31 totaled 252, up from 194 communities at the end of May 2002. The growth of new-home orders in the Northeast region last month, which more than doubled to 311, includes the Summit Homes acquisition of several new communities. The Texas market, where orders again more than doubled, benefited from the Parkside Homes and Brighton Homes acquisitions. Shares of Hovnanian were recently up 3% to $59.77. On Tuesday, two other homebuilders, KB Home ( KBH) and Lennar ( LEN), said orders were brisk last month .