For mortgage rates, the most important item on this week's economic calendar is Friday's release of the November employment report. A better-than-expected report could lead to an increase in mortgage rates. If the jobs report is worse than expected, there's a chance that mortgage rates could fall. But rates already are low, so a bad employment report might not help rates much.
According to Briefing.com, the consensus is that Friday's report will say that the unemployment rate remained at 9.6 percent, and that the economy grew by a net 130,000 jobs.
If I were in the market for a purchase or refi mortgage, I would worry that both those numbers will be higher, reflecting better-than-expected job creation, as well as renewed hope among the unemployed. I would anticipate that possibility by locking a rate by end of day Thursday. The employment report comes out at 8:30 a.m. eastern time Friday.
Another item of note: Tuesday morning brings the S&P/Case-Shiller home price indexes for September. In the 20-city index for August, prices had fallen in 15 cities compared to one month earlier. That might be a little worse this time.