The number of building consents issued for houses last month rose to its highest level in nearly a year.
Statistics New Zealand says 1165 consents were issued in August.
But the number is almost half those issued in the same month two years ago at the height of the housing boom.
However, only 30 consents for apartments were issued - the lowest monthly figure in 14 years.
Overall, the seasonally-adjusted number of new dwellings rose 1.7%, following a rise of 4.5% last month.
Without apartments, consents rose 2.8%, compared with an 11.8% rise in July.
Infometrics economist Gareth Kiernan says rising building consents are not enough to meet demand.
Mr Kiernan says fewer new houses means annual price rises could hit double figures by the middle of 2010.