The house building market remains weak, with the number of consents for new houses and apartments falling in April.
Official figures show the number of permits fell to 1008 in April, a seasonally adjusted drop of 1.6% compared with the previous month.
There have been signs house sales are picking up, particularly in Auckland, but that is not extending to the building of new homes.
However, once volatile apartment figures are excluded, the number of consents rose 4% to 999, due to a partial recovery in quake-devastated Canterbury.
Economists had expected stronger building activity, fed by population growth and low interst rates.
They warn that the country is not building enough homes and that may inflame inflation pressures in the future.