More than 650 small-scale property investors were forced to sell properties last year, new data reveals.
New Zealand's hot property market has resulted in a drop in the number of stricken property owners being forced into a mortgagee sale - but small-scale investors made up the bulk of them.
The rate of mortgagee sales is now at a four-year low, according to Terralink.
In the December quarter of 2012, there were 461 mortgagee sales, 11% fewer than the previous quarter and almost a quarter fewer than the same time the year before.
For the whole of 2012, there were 2106 mortgagee sales. That is the lowest rate since 2008 and almost a third less than were reported in 2009.
Small-scale investors make up the bulk of mortgage sales. Those with a portfolio of more than one but fewer than five properties represented 31% of mortgagee sales, or about 650.
Single-home owners were only 15%.
Most of the mortgagee sales were outside Auckland, reflected the strength of the country's biggest city's property market. Almost 80% of them are now outside Auckland, compared to just over half in 2007.