After falling for six of the previous seven weeks, mortgage application volume jumped 9.5% on an adjusted basis during the week ended March 20, compared to the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.
On an unadjusted basis, volume increased 9% compared with the previous week.
Applications for refinances increased 12%, while applications for purchases increased 5%.
On an unadjusted basis, applications for purchases increased 5% compared with the previous week and were 3% higher compared to the same week one year ago.
The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 61% of total applications, up from 59% the previous week.
The increase comes not only as the spring home buying season begins but also as mortgage rates continue to hold at historic lows. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) with conforming loan balance ($417,000 or less) was 3.90%, down from 3.99% the previous week.
The average rate for a 30-year FRM with jumbo loan balance (greater than $417,000) was 3.89%, down from 3.94%.
The average rate for a 30-year FRM backed by the Federal Housing Administration was 3.71%, down from 3.74% the week prior.
The average rate for a 15-year FRM was 3.22%, down from 3.28%.
The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) was 2.97%, down from 2.99%.
The ARM share of activity increased to 5.8% of total applications.
Looking at volume by loan type, applications for mortgages backed by the FHA represented 13.3% of all applications, down from 14.3% the previous week. Applications for Veterans Affairs mortgages represented 10.1% of all loans, down from 10.3% the previous week. Application volume for mortgages through the U.S. Department of Agriculture was 0.8% of all applications, down from 0.9%.