According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, mortgage demand increased 3.6 percent last week from the week before. And, though the majority of the improvement was refinance activity, purchase demand also rose. The news is encouraging, as it points to gaining interest as spring approaches. Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of industry surveys and forecasts, says the numbers show promise. “After four consecutive declines, purchase applications increased almost 2 percent over the week and 2.5 percent compared to a year ago – showing some promise as we edge closer to the spring home buying season,” Kan said. The improvement comes during a week when average rates were up for most loan categories, including 30-year fixed-rate loans with both conforming and jumbo balances. However, despite higher rates week-over-week, Kan noted that they are close to 10-month lows right now – which provides incentive to both potential home buyers and homeowners who might benefit from refinancing. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications.