Reserve Bank's official cash rate hike concerning homeowners and those hoping to buy

Owning a home, or hoping to, just got more expensive after the Reserve Bank hiked the official cash rate by a quarter of a percent on Wednesday - the first increase in seven years. 

Charlie Nicholls and her husband have returned home from 11 years in Australia.

They're keen to buy a house, but saving a 20 percent deposit to do so is almost impossible.

"I think a really easy way to sum this up is unattainable," she told Newshub.

And it's only getting harder with interest rates officially on the up. 

"If we had a mortgage of a million dollars, a 1 percent increase could be anywhere up to $1000 more in mortgage repayments every month," she said.

The Reserve Bank increased the wholesale cash rate by 25 basis points to 0.5 percent on Wednesday.

Immediately New Zealand's biggest bank ANZ hiked its rates too, adding 15 basis points to all floating home loan rates. 

That'll add an extra $40 a month to a $350,000 mortgage. 

Economist Tony Alexander is warning more hikes are on the horizon. 

"People should just be aware that there's upside risk on their mortgage rates over the next two to three years," he said.

Mortgage adviser Stephen Robertson is already fielding calls from worried homeowners and buyers. 

"There's fear out there," he said. "Even this morning I heard of someone who'd lost their job. So there's pain in the community and I think there's more to come."

Alexander said people will still be able to service their mortgages okay, but "I think there's going to be quite a few people who will have to cut back on maybe the holidays, the eating out, some of the drinking, the clothing". 

With prices still rising, many first-home buyers have been priced out.

From the start of next month, banks will have to cut their amount of risky mortgage lending in half. 

Buyers with small deposits of less than 20 percent, will only be allowed to make up 10 percent of a bank's total mortgage lending. 

It'll hit first-home buyers hard. 

Even though COVID-19 restrictions are easing, banks' lending taps are tightening, shutting the door on many hopeful home buyers.