New home building approvals tumbled in October to their lowest level since March 2001 as the Government's stimulus package and rate cuts failed to ease fears about the future of the economy.

Building approvals fell 5.4% to 10,730 in October, seasonally adjusted, from an upwardly revised 11,339 units in September, the Australian Bureau of Statistics says.

The market forecast was for building approvals to have recorded a rise of 0.7% in October.

The Age