Expectations are mounting that 2014 could be the year the Bank of England finally hikes base rates and pushes up mortgage repayments for millions of landlords on variable rate deals.
In March 2014, the Bank will have held base rates at their all-time low of 0.5% for five years.
Previously most analysts expected interest rate rises to start in 2015. However recent sharp falls in unemployment, bringing it closer to the 7% threshold at which the Bank of England may consider raising rates, has led to speculation there may be pressure to raise rates later in 2014.
A new survey from Capital Spreads showed that 40% of fund managers expect interest rates to rise in 2014, as the economy grows faster than expected, and unemployment continues to plunge.
The Resolution Foundation, a think tank, has warned that a faster than expected rise in interest rates could drive two million families "to the edge of their means" as their mortgage payments soar.
It said the number of British households spending more than half of their disposable income on debt repayments could triple by 2018 if rates rise faster than anticipated.
Meanwhile landlords with variable rate or tracker mortgages need to consider whether they could afford a hike in repayments.
The Resolution Foundation has accused politicians of ignoring the looming crisis and urged banks to begin checking mortgage customers to ensure they can cope with a sudden rise in repayments.
Chief executive Gavin Kelly said: "There is huge uncertainty about income growth and interest rates but under almost any plausible scenario there is going to be a big spike in the next Parliament.
“We could well be talking about this issue as much as we are currently discussing wages or energy bills. As yet there is little sign of the political or financial establishment giving this the priority it deserves."