New housing consents have reached a six-year high in Canterbury, but nationally they remain weak.
Overall, consents in March fell 9.1% after a rise of 4.4% rise in February.
Consents for 1475 new houses were issued last month, including 16 apartments, the lowest monthly number of apartments in more than three years.
Excluding apartments, new housing consents went up 4.7% compared with March last year.
Building consents continued to rise in Canterbury with 444 issued. The Waimakariri and Selwyn districts both recorded their highest monthly totals since 1990.
Bank of New Zealand senior economist Craig Ebert said an early Easter could have cut the number of consents issued for March.
Last year, nearly 17,400 consents were issued, compared with the long-term average of more than 22,000 a year.