According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, demand for loans to buy homes is now 16 percent higher than it was last year at the same time, continuing a trend that started in the second half of last year. Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, says purchase activity and average loan size have been climbing since last spring. “Activity was up 16 percent from a year ago, and the average purchase loan amount hit another record high of $395,200,” Kan said. “Since hitting a recent low in April 2020, the average purchase loan amount has steadily risen – in line with the accelerating home-price appreciation occurring in most of the country because of strong demand and extremely low inventory levels.” Also in the report, average mortgage rates were up and down last week. Increases were seen for 30-year fixed-rate loans with conforming loan balances, but 15-year fixed-rate loans, jumbo loans, and those backed by the FHA all saw declines. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications.