Region leads in building
Almost one in three of New Zealand's new house approvals are in Canterbury-Westland.
The region is now leading the country for house building, taking over from Auckland last year.
Canterbury-Westland councils approved 520 new homes last month, up from 400 in February 2013 but not as many as the monthly tallies between September and December last year.
Of last month's consents, 301 were in Christchurch, 127 in Selwyn district, 72 in Waimakariri, 6 in Ashburton, 11 in Timaru, and 11 in Waitaki.
The figures, from Statistics New Zealand, do not include apartments.
The combined value of the Canterbury-Westland consents for new houses in January and February was $350 million.
Statistics New Zealand business indicators manager Neil Kelly said house building nationally had been rising for nearly three years, and is at its highest level for six years.
Within Canterbury, one in four new homes consents were considered earthquake-related, mostly rebuilds on existing sites, the department said.
Michael Gordon, senior economist at Westpac bank, said house building consents nationally were at a high. The growth was focused in regions where concerns about housing supply had pushed up prices, he said.
Consents issued nationwide in the past year were worth $8.17 billion for residential building work, including new houses and renovations, with $508m worth of non-residential building.