(Australian Associated Press)

Approvals for the construction of new homes fell by a seasonally adjusted 16.4 per cent in May, lower than the 12 per cent decrease the market was expecting.

Approvals for private sector houses were down 4.4 per cent in the month, while those the “other dwellings” category, which includes apartment blocks and townhouses, slid 34.9 per cent.

In the 12 months to April, building approvals were down 11.6 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.