Home loan sweeteners, including overseas holidays, iPhones and cash, have been pulled by banks as they tighten their purse strings - unless you can front up with 20 per cent deposit.

Loan Market mortgage broker Bruce Patten said the gesture was uneconomical for the banks.

''The reality is they had to keep a loan so much longer before it even started being profitable. I think someone ... said this does not make financial sense.''

Time-consuming compliance combined with more competition in the market and a squeeze on interest rates were other factors, he said.


However, banks were still lending to potential home-buyers with less than a 20 per cent deposit as long as they had good credit ratings, which was good news for first-home buyers.

''So really there is no first-home buyers that should miss out on funding with less than 20 per cent deposit as long as they meet the more stringent credit criteria.''

He said, in his view, banks had tightened up all their credit servicing to show the Reserve Bank did not need to introduce debt-to-income ratios.

Tauranga Mortgage Brokers mortgage and finance specialist Tracey Robinson banks were still willing to offer cash to lenders with a 20 per cent deposit but not at the amounts seen two years ago.

'I've had them at $6,000, $7000 and $8000 in the past but that was for people borrowing a million bucks and more. So that amount has certainly reduced.''

Most banks would lend up to 90 per cent but lenders needed to meet specific criteria.

''Almost inevitably they have to be existing customers and they usually won't pre-approve loans.''

BNZ said it was lending to people with as little as a 5 per cent deposit.

Paul Carter, BNZ's retail and marketing director, said the traditional path to home ownership was shifting.

"We asked people what they were prepared to do to get on the property ladder, and 44 per cent of first-property buyers said they want to buy an investment property, either in a cheaper suburb of the city where they lived or elsewhere in the country," he said.

"Other trends our research showed were 30 per cent of buyers are considering joining up with family to make their property ownership ambitions come true, and 14 per cent say they'd buy with friends."

Meanwhile, cash back deals were considered on a case-by-case basis and in certain circumstances it was offered to cover the costs of moving house and switching your home loan.

External communications consultant Janine Ogier said BNZ concentrated on providing the best solution regarding product, structuring, service and price.

ANZ external communications manager Stefan Herrick said its average deposit for new home loans was about 44 per cent and as a rule, it did not write home loans for deposits under 10 per cent.

It was also seeing a trend of more customers, particularly first home buyers, considering family backing with a guarantee from their parents that was usually against the parents property, or sometimes purchasing with friends, he said.

The bank assessed on merit.

A Westpac spokesperson said the deposit required for a mortgage was dependent on a number of factors including credit history, employment stability, affordability, the property and the property market.

A TSB spokesperson said it encouraged customers that did not have a 20 per cent deposit to explore the government home ownership products including making a KiwiSaver first home withdrawal, applying for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant, or applying for a Welcome Home loan.

It did not offer any incentives to take out a mortgage.