Homebuilder The Ryland Group Inc. narrowed losses for the first quarter ended March 31, and similar to other homebuilders, saw its stock rise in response.

Revenues increased 29 percent to $215.9 million for the Westlake Village company, up from $167.7 million for the same period a year ago. New orders were up 46.4 percent to 1,328 units from 907 units for the first quarter of 2011.

Net loss from continuing operations totaled $3 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $17.4 million, $0.39 cents per diluted share in the year-ago period.

Similar news from other homebuilders fueled speculation that the housing market was turning around. Building stocks have risen more than 30 percent so far this year.

Ryland said closings increased 25 percent to 815 units compared with 650 units for the same period a year ago. Ryland also saw improvement in the average closing price of its homes, which was $256,000 for the quarter, compared with $248,000 for the same period in 2011.

Ryland’s stock closed at $21.62.

Judy Temes