Mortgagee sales tripled in June compared to the same month last year, and numbers of forced sales in smaller towns are climbing, according to Terralink.
The property information company's figures show there were 289 forced sales in June, compared with 98 in June 2008.
It is the highest monthly figure since records started to be kept 15 years ago. In May 2009 there were 247 mortgagee sales.
Managing director Mike Donald says there have been steep rises in the number of forced sales in Hawke's Bay - where the number has increased 800% year on year - Taranaki and Manawatu.
In the South Island, Queenstown continued to be hit particularly hard, he says.
More owners of a sole property are losing their house. Of the individual owners who had a mortgagee sale in June, 61% owned more than one property - down from 81% in May.
Mr Donald says the recession is biting in regional areas where job losses are starting to come through.
He says although some of the strains on the economy appear to be easing, a time lag with mortgagee sales means their numbers are expected to continue climbing.