New Zealand building consents issued by local councils for new homes rose 11 per cent in November, boosted by apartment developments.
New dwelling consents, including apartments, rose to a seasonally adjusted 2267 in November from 1891 in October, according to Statistics New Zealand.
Excluding apartments, seasonally adjusted consents fell 0.5 per cent.
Last month, New Zealand's Reserve Bank exempted new home building from lending restrictions on low-equity mortgages introduced in October to ensure the supply of new houses.
"The November building consent issuance result is encouraging, indicating an improvement in house building demand," Christina Leung, an economist at ASB Bank, said.
"Although the strong increase in dwelling consents in November was driven by an increase in apartment consent issuance, which is especially volatile from month to month, the upward trend in dwelling consent issuance is still encouraging."
On an unadjusted basis, the number of new houses consented rose 1 per cent to 1775 from October. Consents for new apartments more than tripled to 492 from 133 in October, and recorded the highest monthly total since April 2008.
The number of new building consents issued in Auckland jumped 64 per cent to 779, while consents in Christchurch slipped 3.9 per cent to 269.
"The rebound in dwelling consent issuance in Auckland is particularly encouraging following softness over much of the second half of 2013," said Mr Leung.
"We expect the earthquake rebuild in Canterbury and stronger house-building demand in Auckland will drive construction growth over the coming years," he said.
The unadjusted value of non-residential building consents fell to $289 million in November from $443 million a month earlier.
The value of all building permits slipped 8 per cent to $1.087 billion from October.