Even with their recent rise, mortgage rates are still "incredibly low" by historical standards, so they will not halt the housing recovery, Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko told CNBC on Tuesday.
But the increase in rates is a "reason why we'll probably see home prices start to taper off a bit—not right away," he said in a "Squawk Box" interview before the latest S&P/Case-Shiller home price index showed a new monthly record for gains.
(Read More: Home Prices See Record Gain in April)
"The big effect [a higher mortgage] it has right away is it discourages people from refinancing," Kolko added. But on the flip side, he contended, fewer refis could force banks to ease still-tough lending standards to spur loan demand.
"A 5 percent mortgage that you can get is a lot better for the housing market than a 3.5 [percent] rate you can't get," he continued, because "buying is still more than 40 percent cheaper than renting nationally."
"People with great credit can probably get a mortgage a bit more easily than 12 months ago," he said, but for everyone else "it's still pretty tight."
The overnight average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.51 percent, according to BankRate.com—about a half a percentage point higher than a week ago.