With better-than-expected job growth and new home sales, could the Federal Reserve be about to stop its $85 billion-per-month bond-buying program?

The recent strong economic data means that there’s an even chance the Fed will begin to taper the program this month. That would be bad news for the mortgage industry; the bond buying program led to historically low interest rates and spurred the housing market.  It’s at least a 50-50 chance now. There was some logic for a January starting point, but it’s clear the Fed wants out.

Employers added 203,000 jobs in November, beating economists’ projections. That’s on top of a revised 200,000 new jobs in October – the strongest back-to-back gain since February and March, the jobless rate dropped to a 5-year low of 7%.

There’s little doubt that mortgage interest rates will rise if the Fed tapers. Just the expectation that the taper would begin in September caused rates to jump more than a full percentage point over the summer, strangling the home purchase boom