Australia new homes sales slip for second month in May

An apartment block under construction in Sydney.
An apartment block under construction in Sydney.PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Sales of new homes in Australia fell in May, a second month of declines that hinted at some slowdown in the economically important housing market.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) said its survey of large-volume builders showed new home sales fell a seasonally adjusted 4.4 per cent in May, from April when they dropped 4.7 per cent.

All the weakness was in sales of detached homes which fell 6.7 per cent, while those for apartments bounced 4.9 per cent.

"There is nothing alarming to a reversal in the trend for new home sales," said HIA chief economist Harley Dale. "There is a cyclical downturn ahead for new residential construction activity, as new home sales signal, but the early pull-back will be mild by historical standards."

Strength in home building has proved a major plank for economic growth in recent years and the pipeline of approvals still points to high levels of construction ahead.