Regional towns across New Zealand are feeling the squeeze as mortgagee sales hit another historic high in September, according to the latest figures from Terralink International.

The data released today showed 343 registered mortgagee sales - up on the previous record number of 321 in July this year.

September 2009's figures are up 130 per cent from the 149 mortgagee sales recorded in September 2008.

In September 2007, prior to the recession, there were 16 mortgagee sales.

Terralink Managing Director Mike Donald said the new record figures followed an uncharacteristic dip in mortgagee sales the month before.

"The continuing increase in mortgagee sales came as no surprise because all indicators showed the worst was not over for property owners. I don't think we'll see a true decline until sometime next year," he said.

Regional towns and cities showed the greatest increases in mortgagee sales, Mr Donald added.

The number of mortgagee sales in Manawatu has doubled in a month from 11 to 22, Hawke's Bay has gone from 15 to 24 and there were 32 mortgagee sales in the Waikato region in September, up from 18 the month before.

Northland, Otago and the Bay of Plenty also saw significant increases.

"The recession isn't just hurting people in the big cities, small town New Zealand is clearly hurting too," Mr Donald said.

Christchurch was the hardest hit main city, up from 19 mortgagee sales in August, to 29 in September.

Mr Donald said mortgagee sales accounted for almost 5 per cent of the total nationwide property sales in September.

"Nearly 60 per cent of all mortgagee sales in September were for properties owned by individual owners rather than non-individual entities such as corporations. And, 21 per cent of all mortgagee sales involved situations where the individual only owned a single property- typically the family home," Mr Donald said.

A further 37 per cent of mortgagee sales were for properties where individuals owned more than one property.

Terralink derives its mortgagee sales data from legal registrations of actual mortgagee sales.

- NZPA