Upscale U.S. home builder Hovnanian Enterprises Inc (HOV), which held a nationwide three-day sale to lower its inventory of unsold homes, Monday said the weekend event was a success, sending its shares up 2.8 percent.

The company reported more than 2,100 gross sales, including about 1,700 contracts and more than 400 sales deposits. In some communities, sales staff were only able to take deposits because of time constraints, Hovnanian said.

Hovnanian, facing a prolonged housing slump, held the sale in the 19 states the home builder serves, including California, New Jersey, Texas, North Carolina and Virginia. The "Deal of the Century" sale effectively cut prices on homes by about $100,000, while also offering extra appliances and upgrades to entice buyers.

The results exceeded the company's expectations and proved that many U.S. home buyers are waiting on the sidelines for more attractive prices, CEO Ara Hovnanian said in a statement.

"(The sale) gave potential home buyers the confidence they needed to make a long-term decision," he said.

Hovnanian shares gained 32 cents to $11.32 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.