The number of mortgagee sales has remained relatively steady in Hawke's Bay this year, a local real estate agent says.
"About six months ago, there seemed to be a few more, but then it tended to drop off again," Tremain Real Estate spokesman Stuart Christensen said. "Now, it seems to have picked up again ... so it's fluctuated but it's pretty steady."
Quarterly figures from information company Terralink show 21 forced sales in Hawke's Bay between April and June, up from 17 in the previous three-month period.
Several Hawke's Bay properties were listed for mortgagee sale yesterday on Trade Me.
"We've actually had a few where owners have managed to sell it prior to auction, which is really good for them," Mr Christensen said.
"Some people - they've just stuck their head in the ground and they just don't want to know."
Banks usually had a reserved approach to mortgagee sales, Mr Christensen said.
"If they put them all to the market all at once, it's not healthy or helpful to anybody.
"But, there definitely seems to be a steady flow of them at the moment, especially in Napier."
Nationally, forced property sales are taking place at rates similar to those last seen during the peak of the recession in 2009.
In the first half of this year, 1129 mortgagee sales occurred, up from 1007 during the same period last year.
This compared to 1262 foreclosures during the first six months of 2009.
New Zealanders are battling rising food costs, record-high petrol prices and stubbornly high unemployment.
Terralink managing director Mike Donald said with no signs the economy would pick up anytime soon, the number of foreclosures was only expected to rise.
"For most of 2011, it looked like the era of record high numbers of forced sales was finally on its way out," he said.
"Unfortunately, since October 2011 we've experienced the opposite."
However, provincial New Zealand seemed to be immune from the spiralling number of foreclosures by banks.
Apart from the Bay of Plenty and Northland areas, where mortgagee sales jumped 35 per cent between the first and second quarters of this year, most provincial areas had remained relatively stable, Mr Donald said.
Little movement in forced sale numbers in the provinces contrasted with a spike in city areas - the Wellington region jumped 56 per cent between quarters, he said.
A breakdown of the figures show 'mum and dad' property owners make up at least one in five mortgagee sales.
This was a worrying trend, Mr Donald said.
"With properties that are likely to be family homes making up almost a quarter of sales, there's no sign of economic recovery for ordinary New Zealanders."
The quarterly results also show corporate investors who owned more than 11 properties had suffered the most this year.
Forced sales for this group jumped from 16 per cent in the first quarter to 25 per cent in the second quarter.