Falling interest rates contributed to efforts that helped Hovnanian Enterprises nearly halve its net loss during its fiscal first quarter, when it maintained a strong sales pace by selling more low-priced homes.

The builder’s net loss fell to more than $17 million from almost $31 million a year ago during the three-month period.

“While we’re not satisfied with the loss in the quarter, the substantial improvement over last year gives us confidence in our 2019 full year’s performance,” Ara Hovnanian, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, noted in its earnings call.

The company’s metrics for the trailing 12-month period

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