SAN ANTONIO -

Word that the Federal Reserve could start scaling back its economic stimulus program later this year didn't just send the stock market into a 350 point tailspin. It also sent interest rate watchers in to a bit of a panic, as they stand by for high rates than they are already tracking.

Today, rates are moving so rapidly, mortgage bankers like Scott Carroselli are having trouble keeping up on their computers to lock in a rate for their clients.

"We have seen interest rates go from the low fours to the mid to high fours literally in a 24- to 48-hour period," Carroselli said.

The pressure to lock in is being compounded in San Antonio by several factors. The market here is considered hot and qualifying for a loan is taking longer and is much more involved.

In Alamo Heights, for example, inventories are running low on houses still on the market and real estate agents are warning that buyers who have been on the fence may need to act now.

"I think buyers are pretty particular and they are waiting on those special houses, but it may be time to buy it and remodel it to their tastes," said Carol Case, with Kuper Sotheby.

Case says buyers who hope to be installed in their new home by the start of the school year should be taking steps to lock down their choices now to avoid a delay and possibly an interest rate penalty for dragging their feet.

Still, Carroselli warns, "Most people that are locking in interest rates now are having closings now, unless they waited for some reason, they are closing within 30 to 45 days. There's time. There's time to see a little easement. They best thing to do is don't panic."

For a list of recent stories Ursula Pari has done, click here.