According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates fell last week 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. The drop brought the 30-year fixed-rate to its lowest level since September 2017 and continues its overall trend downward. So far this year, mortgage rates have been decreasing and its helped boost demand for loans to buy homes – which are now 9 percent higher than at the same time last year. Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, says demand remains strong despite the market’s remaining challenges. “Now at almost the half-way mark of 2019, we have generally seen a stronger purchase market than last year, despite still-tight existing inventory and insufficient new construction,” Kan said. But with rates down three of the past four weeks, affordability conditions have improved and helped keep home buyers interested, regardless of the inventory issues still plaguing many markets.