hov-hq-8-12-06Hovnanian’s HQ, at the foot of Maple Avenue in Red Bank.

Homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises has notched its third straight year in red ink, according to data released Wednesday.

The glimmer of good news for investors in and employees of the Red Bank-based company is that the latest quarterly deficit was smaller than the one recorded a year earlier.

For its third fiscal quarter, ended July 31, Hovnanian said it lost $168.9 million, down from $202.5 million in the comparable 2008 period.

Revenue plunged another 46 percent, to $387.1 million.

Bloomberg quotes a securities analyst who says a heavy debt load will hamper Hovnanian’s ability to participate in a housing market recovery, when one takes hold.

Company officials will hold their quarterly conference call with investors today at 11a. Details are here.