Building activity picked up in the final few months of last year, possibly driven by post-quake work in Canterbury.
Statistics New Zealand figures show the seasonally and inflation-adjusted value of residential work rose 4.4% to $864 million in the three months to the end of December, compared with the previous quarter.
The agency says there appeared to be a larger increase in building activity in Canterbury, than in the rest of New Zealand.
But the residential construction sector still remains subdued, with activity 14% lower than in the same period a year earlier.
Non-residential building activity rose 1.4% in the quarter, after falls in the previous three quarters.
Total building activity increased 2.9% on the previous quarter, but is still 10% lower than a year earlier.