The island where more Kiwis are falling behind in mortgage repayments

It's no secret many Kiwis are feeling the financial pinch at the moment, but according to new research people are starting to fall behind in their mortgage repayments - however, one island is struggling more than the other.

Te Ika a Māui​ is feeling the heat more than their siblings in the south.

On average, 14 percent of North Islanders are falling behind in their mortgage payments but for mainlanders, it's fewer than one in 10 (eight percent).

"The South Islanders simply didn't have the same excessive gains in prices [and] their housing market is much better balanced in terms of supply. Whereas in Auckland we have seen some pretty chunky declines of 20 percent across the board," Kiwibank chief economist Jarrod Kerr told The Project.

On average, Christchurch households make $114,000 with properties costing just over $750,000. While in Auckland, the average household income is $39,000 more, but the house price is about $600,000 more.

"The risk, of course, is that we do see a spike in unemployment later this year. When you're unemployed you can't do anything but default and that is the key risk our economy faces," Kerr said.

Looking into the crystal ball of interest rates, many experts reckon the peak has yet to come.

"In a year's time, we will see rate cuts from the Reserve Bank. We may even see rate cuts this year," Kerr said.

"It's going to look a little ugly but the majority of Kiwis and businesses will fight their way through this and I think there's some blue sky next year," Kerr said.

BusinessDesk investments editor Frances Cook told The Project for most people this entire year will be quite financially stressful, but there are two levers Kiwis can pull if they are finding the money situation tight: Spend less or earn more.

"I know it's easier said than done but for a lot of people it's just going to be a reality," Cook said.

She said by sitting down and going through all your finances, while daunting, it can help you come up with some solutions.

"Once you face it full on you can start to see where there may be a little bit of wiggle room," Cook said.