Hovnanian ( HOV) reported a larger-than-expected loss that widened from a year ago as demand for houses continued to be weak through the first quarter.

The Red Bank, N.J.-based homebuilder reported a loss of $178.4 million, or $2.29 a share, for the quarter. A year ago, it had a loss of $130.9 million, or $2.07 a share.

Hovnanian said that revenue totaled $373.8 million, falling from $1.1 billion in the first quarter of the prior year. On average, analysts were looking for a loss of $1.47 a share on revenue of $420.1 million.

Excluding unconsolidated joint ventures, deliveries dropped 66% from a year ago to 1,208 homes, although year-ago results included 1,345 homes in Fort Myers-Cape Coral. Excluding the Fort Myers-Cape Coral deliveries in last year's first quarter, deliveries were down 47%.

"The sales environment remained persistently challenging throughout the first quarter," said CEO Ara Hovnanian. "Given the lack of steps taken by the federal government to address housing demand, prospective homebuyers are still faced with making the decision to buy a home against an exceedingly difficult economic backdrop and we expect demand for all homes, both new and existing, to remain far below normalized levels."

Shares of Hovnanian fell 3.2% in late trading to 60 cents, having enjoyed a 3.3% gain during Tuesday's session. D.R. Horton ( DHI), after rising nearly 15% during trading hours, was down 12.8% to $6.89. Lennar ( LEN) was holding steady in after-hours trading after rallying 21.3%.

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