New US home sales tumbled 4.3% in July to an annual rate of 1.072 million units, the Commerce Department said today in the latest sign of a sputtering property market.

The figure was weaker than the average Wall Street estimate of a pace of 1.105 million units. The level of new home sales was down 21.6% from the pace a year earlier, when many analysts had warned about a property  market bubble.

The average sales price fell to $230,000 from $233,800 in June. It has been falling since a peak of $250,000 in February but is virtually unchanged from the level a year ago of $229,200.

The report came a day after the real estate industry said sales of existing US homes fell 4.1% in July to their lowest  point since January 2004.

The slowdown in housing has worrying implications for overall economic growth and could impact consumer spending in the world's largest economy.