NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- gold prices have been-range bound since the Federal Reserve's decision not to taper.

But Ed D'Agostino of Hard Assets Alliance tells TheStreet's Joe Deaux that it's a good time to accumulate the precious metal before its next big move higher.

However, the catalyst that D'Agostino sees for higher gold prices is one that not many investors have considered: real estate.

He said that as soon as mortgage rates ticked higher, mortgage applications and refinance activity dropped instantly.

Banks such as Citigroup ( C) and Wells Fargo ( WFC) have even started slashing jobs in their mortgage departments as a result.

D'Agostino said that if the housing market weakens, the overall economy will too, and the was thinking about this dynamic when it decided not to taper.

Eventually, however, interest rates will go up. Generally, this is viewed as a bad thing for gold, but in a weak economy such as this one, rising interest rates will be negative for the economy and especially negative for mortgage rates and housing, he said.

Because of this, D'Agostino concluded that gold should actually benefit from rising rates in this environment. Although it may remain in a trading range in the near term, he said it should move higher near the end of the year or in the early part of the first quarter.

-- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich.

Bret Kenwell currently writes, blogs and also contributes to Robert Weinstein's Weekly Options Newsletter. Focuses on short-to-intermediate-term trading opportunities that can be exposed via options. He prefers to use debit trades on momentum setups and credit trades on support/resistance setups. He also focuses on building long-term wealth by searching for consistent, quality dividend paying companies and long-term growth companies. He considers himself the surfer, not the wave, in relation to the market and himself. He has no allegiance to either the bull side or the bear side.

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