Speaking of trends, we'd be remiss not to mention the trend in mortgage rates, which has been rising over the past month. Indeed, the rates on some mortgage products are up over 25 basis points. So the obvious question is, will the trend continue?

Opinions are mixed, but they tend to lean toward the trend reversing. Some analysts believe that impending government spending cuts and tax increases, which could occur in 2013, will further slow economic growth. That means money will leave riskier investments like stocks and head for haven investments like U.S. Treasury securities. The demand for these securities, in turn, will lead to lower mortgage rates.

Then again, maybe the economy isn't as bad as many economists believe. Housing has always been a key component in economic growth, and the outlook for housing is pretty darn good these days. In fact, Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research Group believes that increases in residential construction will add 0.2 percentage points to gross domestic product this year. Housing construction and home sales have a cascading effect, producing additional demand for home furnishings and many other retail products and services.

The rising trend in mortgage rates might be unsustainable, but even if rates reverse course, recent history suggests they aren't going to reverse much lower. Therefore, it's important to remind our home-purchase clients that rates have risen, but any savings achieved by waiting for a reversal could be offset by a higher purchase price.

Courtesy of Jessica Regan.

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