According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates rose slightly last week from the previous week. Rates were up for 30-year fixed-rate loans with conforming loan balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year fixed-rate loans. But though it marked the second straight week of increases, rates remain just above historic lows. Still, the increase led to a drop in mortgage demand. In fact, refinance activity fell 15 percent from one week earlier. Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, says purchase demand was also down though the market for buyers remains strong. “Purchase applications also decreased, likely related to the two-week jump in rates, but still remained 9 percent higher than last year,” Kan said. “The recent data on increased existing-home sales and new residential construction points to the underlying strength in the purchase market this fall.” The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications.