Ryland Group Inc. on Thursday announced strong fourth quarter results as the company rides the resurgent residential real estate market. The Westlake Village homebuilder reported net income of $72.3 million ($1.27 a share) for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to $28.9 million (56 cents) for the same period last year. Revenue rose 58 percent to $697 million. Ryland’s earnings beat analysts’ average per-share estimate of $1.13 and revenue expectations of $669 million, according to Thomson Financial. Homebuilding revenue rose 60 percent to $685 million, as closings increased 39 percent to 2,178 units. The average sale price rose 16 percent to $314,000. Ryland has opened a number of new home developments in recent months, including projects in Colorado, Indiana and Texas. The company operates in 17 states around the country. Nationwide, home sales last year rose 9 percent to 5 million, according to a report released last week by the National Association of Realtors. The Washington trade group said it was the strongest performance since 2006 when sales neared 6.5 million at the end of the housing boom. For the year, Ryland reported net income of $379 million ($6.79), compared to $42.4 million (88 cents) in 2012. Revenue rose nearly 64 percent to $2.14 billion. Analysts had expected annual per-share net income of $6.60 on revenue of $2.1 billion, according to Thomson Financial. Shares closed down 31 cents, or a fraction of a percent, to $43.05 on the New York Stock Exchange.