Millions of Aussies are bracing themselves for further mortgage rate hikes in 2017 after banks repriced more than $500 billion worth of loans. These rate hikes are placing greater financial pressure on households already beleaguered by rising power, education, and health costs.

Borrowers returning from the festive break face hundreds of dollars of additional costs in the wake of the major lenders’ increase to a wide range of mortgages last month, independent of any official move from the Reserve Bank.

Of the Big Four, landlords with National Australia Bank (NAB) are paying $31.31 more a month on a $350,000 mortgage (or $376 annually) from its 15-basis-points rate increase to 5.55%. Meanwhile, investors with the Bank of Queensland (BoQ) have been hit with the biggest dollar increase of the 10 major lenders with an extra $32.10 a month.

Other mortgage holders have not been spared after several mid-tier lenders increased their investor and owner-occupier prices last month. In contrast, the Big Four focused their recent repricing on investors and interest-only borrowers.

BoQ owner-occupiers face the largest monthly increase of $31.41, or $377 annually.

Tom Kennedy, an economist at JPMorgan Chase, said the price increases, along with rising fuel and fixed mortgage rates, were constricting consumer spending habits. “You’ve got rising mortgage rates...and then you’ve also got brent crude prices starting to move a little bit higher and that...looks like it’s going to persist in 2017,” he said.

“Those two things are quite big reversals from what we’ve seen since about 2014. That means households have less disposable incomes...and at the margin they’re both headwinds to further consumption.”

Mortgage rate increases by the Big Four are projected to boost their combined annual profits of $29.6 billion by about 1% or $296 million after tax, according to Macquarie analysts.

JPMorgan expects low inflation to force the Reserve Bank to cut the official cash rate to 1%. However, HSBC economist Paul Bloxham said the Reserve Bank would leave rates on hold this year before it would begin to lift rates once again, adding that last Friday’s first trade surplus since March 2014 highlighted the kick to the economy from the increase in commodity prices.

Regardless of RBA’s moves, banks in recent years have increasingly repriced home loans in their favour to offset waning demand for credit, more bad debts, rising funding costs, and more stringent capital requirements.

The best way of checking how an interest rate will affect you is to use a home loan repayment calculator, or speak to a local mortgage broker.