The mortgage market has been subdued, and we don't expect that to change until Dec. 6 when the all-important November employment report is released. The report for October was exceptionally strong, and motivated a few Federal Reserve governors to ponder “tapering” the Fed's bond purchases in December.

If the employment numbers come in strong again (payroll growth above 200,000), the odds measurably increase that the Fed will undertake tapering as soon as December. The amount and pace of tapering – if any – is anyone's guess. But should the Fed begin to taper, mortgage rates will surely rise. How much they will rise, again, is anyone's guess, because the Fed will attempt to moderate any rate increase. Whether it can actually do that is another story.

We have to confess that we're still somewhat circumspect on the strength of the October employment numbers (which were likely hastily compiled). We would not be surprised to see them revised lower; nor would we be surprised to see payroll growth come in below the consensus estimate of 180,000. Economic growth appears to be gathering momentum, but still not enough to maintain payroll growth near 200,000 per month.

With that said, higher lending rates loom in the future – if not this month, then very likely within the next quarter. So at this point, waiting to buy a home with a purchase mortgage or waiting to refinance a current mortgage makes no economic sense.

Courtesy of Jessica Regan.

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