New Zealand building consents for housing are up 7.6 per cent, taking the annual level of new permits issued by local councils to a six-year high.
New dwelling consents, including apartments, rose to a seasonally adjusted 2,169 in December from 2,016 a month earlier, according to Statistics New Zealand.
Annual residential issuance rose 30 per cent to 21,300 in 2013 from a year earlier, the most since 2007 when 25,590 permits were issued.
The annual gain in new dwelling consents was driven by increases in Auckland and Christchurch, the country's two biggest cities, whose property markets have been bubbling away due to a lack of housing stock.
"The construction sector ended 2013 on a high note, with residential building consents much stronger than expected in December," Westpac Banking Corp senior economist Michael Gordon said in a note.
"The Canterbury rebuild continues to dominate the totals, but the re-emergence of the Auckland apartment market is a notable recent trend."
Thursday's figures show a 12 per cent increase in the value of non-residential building consents issued to $NZ379 million ($A360.71 million) in December from the same month a year earlier, for an annual increase of 6.9 per cent to $NZ4.18 billion.
The value of all building permits climbed 29 per cent to $NZ1.07b in December, for an annual increase of 20 per cent to $NZ12.08b.