Homebuilder Lennar Corp posted a fourth-quarter profit, helped by a year-over-year increase in new orders, reduced sales incentives and lower construction costs and a tax benefit.

Lennar said as a result of tax legislation that was enacted in its fourth quarter, it will receive a tax refund of about $320 million in early 2010.

Our improved balance sheet enables us to continue to capitalize on distressed land-buying opportunities, which will improve our operating results in 2010 and beyond, Chief Executive Stuart Miller said in a release.

The Miami-based company, the third-largest homebuilder, posted earnings of $35.6 million, or 19 cents per share, for the quarter ended November 30, compared with a loss of $811 million, or $5.12 per share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 29 percent to $913.7 million.

Analysts on average had expected the company to post a loss of 48 cents a share, before special items, on revenue of $862.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting by Bijoy Koyitty in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)