The number of mortgagee sales fell to 241 in August, a big drop on the previous month.
Figures from property information company Terralink show the numbers of forced sales fell from the record 321 in July, though were still well up on August 2008 when there were 100 mortgagee sales.
Terralink managing director Mike Donald says it is the first time there has been a considerable decrease in mortgagee sales since February this year but this does not signal recovery.
"We're still running at six times the pre-recession monthly rate of mortgagee sales and I would expect that to continue for the rest of this year and most of next year."
At one stage in 2009, one in five house sales was a mortgagee sale, he says, and property investors have been hit particularly hard.
He says the decrease in August compared to the month before is, at most, an easing of stress.
Four regions, West Coast, Northland, Hawke's Bay and Canterbury, recorded an increase in forced sales. Of these, Hawke's Bay had the biggest increase, up 50% from the month before, the company said.
Auckland continued to have the highest number of mortgagee sales at 102, though that was a fall from 144 in July.