Dwelling approvals posted a stronger than expected 8.3 percent rise in Feb.
Westpac and the consensus view had been for a modest 1-1.5 percent decline.
Approvals are still 13.5 percent below their Aug peak in trend terms.
The rise in non high rise approvals pares back some of the near term weakness that was showing through in approvals over recent months.
The state breakdown shows particularly strong monthly gains in NSW (+20 percent) and Qld (+34 percent). Both states saw a more pronounced weakening in approvals through the second half of last year. Other states all saw significant declines.
The value of renovation approvals rose 14 percent, a partial rebound from a 19 percent fall in Jan. Approvals remain on a solid uptrend led by strong gains in NSW and Vic with activity flat/weakening elsewhere.