LOS ANGELES - Kaufman & Broad Home Corp. said pretax income from its mortgage banking unit fell 50% from a year earlier in the quarter that ended May 31, to $4.1 million.

In a press statement the company, whose main business is homebuilding, blamed rising interest rates and "increased competition from Internet mortgage lending."

Kaufman also said it incurred one-time costs from consolidating its mortgage operation into three regional centers.

"While the increase in interest rates has impaired the profitability of our mortgage business and retention rates, it does not seem to be deterring potential homebuyers," said Bruce Karatz, Kaufman's chairman and chief executive officer.

The company's overall profits rose 17% in the quarter, the second of its fiscal year, to $27.7 million, or 68 cents per share. Revenues grew 5%, to $906.2 million.

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