With mortgage rates rising after spending much of the year near historic lows, analysts and industry experts are weighing the effect recent rate increases may have on the housing market. Economist Thomas Lawler told The Wall Street Journal that somewhat higher rates in a growing economy are better for the market than low rates in a poor economy, suggesting overall economic improvement will lessen the impact. And though rates have risen in the last few weeks, they remain historically low and below year-ago levels. Ed McKelvey, of Goldman Sachs, doesn’t expect recent increases to have a significant effect on sales and a survey of 3,000 real estate agents conducted by Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance shows that activity among first-time homebuyers rose from 34.4 percent to 37.2 percent in October, as buyers looked to secure low mortgage rates. More here.