Homeowners brace for rise in mortgage rates, while houses move further out of reach for first-home buyers

Homeowners are bracing for another rise in mortgage interest rates with an expected lift in the official cash rate (OCR) on Wednesday. 

The Reserve Bank is poised to lift the OCR another 50 basis points to 3 percent to try and curb inflation, which could cost the average household an extra $60 per week.  

Mortgage interest rates have been rising fast over the past year, taking one-year home loan rates from about 2 percent to 5. 

On Tuesday, they'll likely go even higher. 

"It's pretty certain we're going to see the official cash rate go up by half a percent. So it'll take it to 3 percent," CoreLogic chief economist Kelvin Davidson said.

"The question really is, is what happens after."

For first home buyers who bought last year when property prices were at their peak, they could find themselves with mortgages larger than what their homes are now worth. 

"Not good for the mindset. However, it doesn't really mean too much until you actually have to sell," Davidson said.

The pressure on household budgets from the rising rates is intense. 

"So if they've got a $600,000 mortgage and it is floating then it might be $60 a week difference," Velocity Financial director Brendon Ojala said.

And $60 a week can mean a big squeeze on already tight spending. 

"We're just on floating so we don't want to keep going up too much," one Kiwi said.

"It seemed inevitable but it's still hard to cope with," another said.

Rising interest rates is putting the dream of homeownership further out of the reach for some first-home buyers. 

"We feel like it's getting harder and harder. It's not getting any easier," one person told Newshub. 

"You're going to focus on other things, spend your money on other things and keep waiting," another said.

But it may not be all doom and gloom depending on the Reserve Bank's future forecasts.

The Reserve Bank's last forecasts in May implied the OCR would be at 3.5 percent by the end of the year and possibly peaking near 4 percent by the middle of next year. 

"Wholesale rates may drop if there's a change in that wording tomorrow," Ojala said.

So Ojala's advice to those who need to refix their mortgages by the end of the year is don't rush into it.