Housing consent numbers suffered an April fall after a large jump in March, but remain 33% above April 2011, according to Statistics New Zealand.
In April consents were issued for 1,230 homes, including apartments, a 21% fall from March.
Statistics New Zealand said the fall follows large rises in March and remain consistent with the volatile nature of the series.
The year-on-year rise was largely down to a rise in apartment consents, which accounted for a third of the increase.
"There has been a big increase in the number of consents for apartments this April compared with the same month last year," said industry and labour statistics manager Blair Cardno.
"The trend for the number of new houses, including apartments, has been steadily rising over the last year."
Excluding apartments, consents were issued for 1,092 new homes, up 22%.
Consents were issued for 138 new apartments (88 of which are retirement village units), up from 34 apartments in April 2011.
ASB economist Christina Leung said the fall in consents from March was not too troubling given the large increase in the previous month.
"This series tends to be volatile from month to month, and overall the underlying trend in residential building demand remains one of recovery," she said.