Consents for new dwellings have hit a five year high, driven by a strong rise in Auckland and Christchurch.
Official figures show the number of consents rose a seasonally adjusted 1.9% in February, compared with an upwardly revised 0.2% fall in January.
Excluding volatile new apartments, housing permits fell 3.6% in February , after a 9.5% lift the previous month.
Statistics New Zealand says new housing activity, including apartments, has risen by 53% since hitting a low in March 2011.
ANZ senior economist Mark Smith says housing market activity in general is picking up which is flowing through to consents, with Auckland and Canterbury leading the way.