The number of consents for new houses and apartments is at its lowest monthly level in 16 years.
Statistics New Zealand says the number of permits for new dwellings fell to 1,173 in October - a decrease of 28% on the same period last year.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, building consents slumped 43% and are at a level not seen since figures began in January 1992.
Apartments figures were at their lowest level in eight years, with only 50 consents being issued.
The total value of consents issued for October for all residential buildings, including alterations and additions, fell 32% to $439 million - the lowest level since May 2002.
The value of consents issued for non-residential buildings fell 14% to 348 million.
For the year, the value of consents fell 7.5% to $11.1 billion.