A Northland builder says business in the provinces is tough but some large projects are providing enough work for many local builders.

According to Statistics New Zealand, 75 new buildings were consented in Northland in April, down on 98 the previous month.

Of those buildings, 46 were residential and 29 non-residential.

In the Far North District, there were 30 consents for new buildings granted, down on 36 the previous month. In the Whangarei District, there were 29 granted consent, down on 43 the previous month.

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Northland's total construction consented in April was valued at more than $17.4m.

Northland builder Darrell Trigg, of Trigg Construction, said things were tough as a lot of building activity gravitated towards the big centres.

"I wouldn't say it's the economy as such. I think it's just the nature of the beast in this country ... provincially, things are generally pretty slow."

Whangarei was close enough to Auckland to attract some urban drift, Mr Trigg said.

There had been some reasonable projects in Whangarei, including new apartments and an upgrade to Pak'n Save.

Mr Trigg said his company had a solid workload lined up for the rest of the year and beyond. There also seemed to be a reasonable work plan ahead for the region over the next five years, although it wasn't enough to keep everyone working flat out.

Trigg Construction had done residential work in the past but was more focused on commercial projects.

Mr Trigg said there were a lot of builders in the small to medium residential market now.

Nationally, apartment consents reached a seven-year high in April 2015, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Building consents were issued for 467 apartments, almost all of which would be built in Auckland.

Business indicators manager Neil Kelly said consents for houses and townhouses were also at average levels historically, while retirement village consents reached record highs over the past year.

In April 2015, a total of 2112 new dwellings were consented - up 1.4 per cent from the same month last year.

However, the seasonally adjusted number fell 1.7 per cent in April compared with March.

The regions that consented the most new dwellings in April were Auckland, Canterbury and Waikato.

Consents for all buildings totalled $1.2 billion in April, with $757 million for residential buildings and $419 million for non-residential buildings.