With Mortgage Rates Inching Up, Should You Buy Now or Wait?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Home mortgage lending rates are up again this week, to 4.18% from 4.15% according to BankingMyWay's weekly mortgage rate tracker, but not all that much higher than the 4% rates on 30-year mortgages a year ago. It's the upward path of mortgage rates that concerns lending professionals.

"The market's volatility is not so substantial that there will be wide swings," says Cody Kessler, a mortgage banker at HomeBridge, a privately owned mortgage lender based in Rockville, Md. He adds that future hikes are already "baked in" to the rate mix, and the upward pace would be a slow and steady one — but the days of the sub-4% mortgage rates are "behind us," he says.

Does that mean buyers should jump into the market and grab a home before rates go any higher? It's a personal choice, and as the saying goes, your mileage may vary. That said, some say the market is still wide open for opportunistic homebuyers.

"If you ask a real estate attorney, they will tell you it's almost always a good time to buy and hold," says Nina B. Ries of Ries Law Group in Los Angeles. "The reason is simple: Particularly in markets where there is little room to grow — as with major metropolitan centers like Los Angeles — real estate is a limited quantity and demand is always going to exceed supply. And where there is more demand than there is supply, prices go up. While there is fluctuation in the market in the short term, long-term growth is a certainty."

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