According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, the number of Americans requesting applications for loans to buy homes is now 13 percent higher than it was at the same time last year. The improvement comes during a week when average mortgage rates increased. In fact, rates were up across all loan categories, including 30-year fixed-rate loans with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year fixed-rate loans. Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s senior vice president and chief economist, says though rates increased, they’re still lower than they were at the end of last year. “Mortgage rates inched back up last week, but remain substantially lower than they were in the second half of last year,” Fratantoni said. “As quickly as refinance activity increased in recent weeks, it backed down again in response to the rise in rates. However, this spring’s lower borrowing costs, coupled with the strong job market, continue to push purchase application volume much higher.” The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.