Housing approvals rose 6.3 per cent last month, says Stats NZ.

After adjusting for seasonal factors, and excluding apartment numbers, which tend to vary a lot each month, the number of new homes given building consents rose 6.3 per cent from June.

When apartments were included the increase was a rise of 13 per cent.

"The latest increase, excluding apartments, is enough to confirm a positive swing in the longer-term trend," industry and labour statistics manager Kathy Connolly said. "This now indicates that February was the low point in the number of homes being approved.


"The picture is similar when apartments are included, but one more month of strong data will be required to confirm that these numbers have also turned," she added.

Of the 168 apartments approved, 111 were assisted-living apartments. Adding apartments to the 1,035 other new homes, the total number for the month was 1,203.

In Canterbury, earthquake-related building consents totalled $32 million in July 2011, compared with $14 million in June and $28 million in May. The July consents comprise $26 million for non-residential work and $6 million for residential work (including 36 new homes, of which 28 are relocatable units intended to house displaced residents).

For July 2011 compared with July 2010:

- residential consent values fell 14 per cent to $420 million

- non-residential consent values rose 17 per cent to $343 million, led by a $105 million consent for work at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital.

- all building consent values fell 2.6 per cent to $763 million.