Beazer Homes USA Inc posted a profit for the first quarter, helped by a federal tax benefit and a 37 percent rise in new orders.

For the first quarter ended December 31, the company posted earnings of $50.0 million, or $1.17 a share, compared with a loss of $80.3 million, or $2.08 a share, a year earlier.

Earnings from continuing operations were $1.09 a share. The results also include a benefit from income taxes of $2.24 a diluted share from continuing operations.

Revenue was almost flat at $218.8 million.

Analysts on average were expecting a loss of 90 cents a share, on revenue of $200.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Atlanta-based Beazer said new orders from continuing operations rose about 37 percent to 728 homes and the cancellation rate improved to 26.9 percent in the quarter.

Shares of the company closed at $4.11 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Amulya Nagaraj in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D'Silva)