A surge in dwelling consents in Auckland last month helped raise the number of consents issued nationally.
Consents issued across the country rebounded by 11% in October after a steep fall the previous month.
Councils issued 1123 consents for new houses in October, up 7% from September.
Total dwellings were up 11% when apartments are included.
There was a fall of 17% in September, which was attributed to the distraction of the Rugby World Cup.
Radio New Zealand's economics correspondent says October's total of 1279 dwelling consents are still below the number issued in August, before the start of the Cup.
Auckland led the way in October, with 404 dwelling consents issued, the highest monthly number in two years there.
But the rebuild in Christchurch still appears to be lagging, with consents falling for the second month in a row in Canterbury.
Seventeen consents were issued there in September and October for new dwellings to replace those written off by earthquakes, compared with 93 in July and August.
The value of consents issued for residential buildings rose 11% to $460 million, while the value of non-residential buildings increased 1.5% to $276 million.
On an annual basis, the value of all buildings fell 10% to $8.6 billion, with residential buildings making up around 57 percent of the total.
ANZ New Zealand senior economist Mark Smith says while it underpins the moderate improvement in the building sector, the number of consents are still about 40% below historical averages.
Mr Smith says the statistics indicate quite weak activity in the second half of this year in terms of residential building activity, but quite a strong pick up is likely starting early in 2012.