Rising interest rates could hit homeowners who have borrowed heavily to get on the property ladder, a budgeting expert says.
The warning follows figures provided to the Bay of Plenty Times from five leading banks that show fixed and floating interest rates have climbed in the last 12 months - with mortgage brokers expecting them to creep up further.
The banks had also tightened up on new home-loan sweeteners with no trips overseas, iPhones, credit cards - or cash contributions unless negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting chief executive Raewyn Fox said some people had "really stretched themselves" with their mortgage because house prices were so high.
"If they have stretched themselves to the limit to get into a house and if interest rates go up they will find themselves in trouble."
"If you are committed to the maximum of your ability, even if things only go up $10 a week if you haven't got it, you haven't got it, and something is going to have to give."
"In our experience, people have fixed payments for mortgage, power, communications, transport and stuff like that the only flexible budget is the food budget ... you can't buy as much food, so that has an obvious effect."
Wages had plateaued in some industries which was a big concern, she said.
ANZ external communications manager Stefan Herrick said its two-year fixed special rate was 4.79 per cent up from 4.35 per cent in April 2016.
It was important for customers to focus on paying down debt and saving, as indications suggested interest rates would rise, he said.
If people found themselves in difficulty or if they were concerned about their repayments, Mr Herrick said: "it is best to go and talk to their bank and see what they can do".
BNZ external relations consultant Natalie Benning said its two-year fixed Classic rate was 4.79 per cent compared with 4.39 per cent in April 2016.
When considering home loans, it was crucial that homeowners did not get caught up in the "set and forget" mentality, she said.
"We have had two years of very low interest rates, so now is the perfect time to review your loan in conjunction with the rates environment and your lifestyle and so on. We expect change to come, but it's unlikely to be extreme this year."
Kiwibank communications manager Bruce Thompson said its two-year fixed rate was 4.79 per cent compared to 4.25 percent a year ago.
"Interest rates are always subject to change, and there are a lot of things influencing their future at the moment."
A TSB Bank spokeswoman said its two-year fixed special rate was 4.75 per cent, up from 4.19 per cent in April 2016 and agreed the current trend in the market suggested rates were on the increase.
Westpac media relations manager Hilary Marett said its two-year fixed rate was 4.79 per cent.
The banks had to abide by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand lending limitations which requires a 20 per cent deposit for owner occupiers but in some cases that could be lowered.
Options included a Welcome Home Loan, putting the deposit together through a combination of savings, KiwiSaver options, help from family (such as being a guarantor) or from existing equity.