Hov_hq_81206Hovnanian’s Red Bank HQ, as seen from the foot of Maple Avenue.

Hovnanian Enterprises surprised Wall Street with news Wednesday that it’s most recent fiscal quarter was a profitable one.

Bloomberg reports that the Red Bank-based homebuilder’s net profit of $1.8 million, on a 52-percent surge in sales, was “unexpected.”

In the comparable 2011 quarter, the company reported a net loss of $72.7 million.

Improvement was evident in the first fiscal quarter of the current year, when Hovnanian reported a sharp narrowing of losses, to $18.3 million, from $64.1 a year prior.

Hovnanian had reported net losses in 21 of its last 22 quarters.