Building consents have jumped to their highest monthly total in nearly four years, driven by large increases in Auckland and Canterbury.
Statistics New Zealand says 1,559 new homes were approved last month - including 165 apartments - the highest number since September 2008.
On a seasonally-adjusted basis, consents rose nearly 20% compared with February, and were nearly 50% higher than March last year.
ASB Bank chief economist Nick Tuffley says the figures reflect the continuing pickup in the housing market.
Auckland had the largest regional increase in new dwelling consents compared with a year earlier, up 213, followed by Canterbury, up 115.
Total residential consent values rose 30% to $545 million, while non-residential consent values fell 13% to $299 million.
Earthquake-related consents in Canterbury totalled $28 million, with about two thirds for non residential work.