Mortgage rates rise above 5 percent: should you be worried?

Climbing mortgage rates no reason to panic- yet.
Climbing mortgage rates no reason to panic- yet.

A survey by mortgage finance company Freddie Mac showing that U.S. mortgage rates have gone up for three weeks in a row and now top 5% is already setting off some alarm bells over fears that any possibility of a recovery of the nation's real estate market might now be doomed because the Federal Reserve has stopped buying up mortgage-backed securities.

Because the government slowly brought its purchasing program to an end, rather than going cold turkey, many experts had predicted little to no impact on mortgage rates, which had reached near historic lows, well below 6%. (In early December, the rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.71%.)