Building consents for new townhouses, flats, and units hit a 23-year high, and apartments rose significantly in the year ended February, although consents for stand-alone houses were down slightly, according to Statistics NZ.

"Growth in the last 12 months has been driven by multi-unit dwellings, such as apartments and townhouses," construction statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said.

Apartment numbers rose 29 per cent to 3166, compared with the February 2017 year. In addition, 5077 townhouses, flats, and units were consented, up 12 per cent over the same period.

In contrast, new stand-alone house numbers were down 1.3 per cent to 21,052 in the latest year, although they still accounted for two thirds of all new homes.

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In the year ended February, the total number of new homes consented rose 3.6 per cent, compared with the February 2017 year.

"New homes data is volatile month to month, so we recommend using annual figures to see underlying changes," McKenzie said.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the number of new homes consented rose 5.7 per cent in the February month, following no change in January and a 9.6 per cent fall in December 2017.

Property values
According to CoreLogic, the total value of real estate in New Zealand is $1.07 trillion, while the total amount of mortgages is $248 billion.

Commercial real estate is worth $201 billion. In comparison, NZ listed stocks are valued at $130 billion and NZ Super and KiwiSaver valued at $79 billion.