According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, demand for loans to buy homes was up slightly last week over the week before. The 1 percent increase marked the second consecutive week purchase demand improved. Despite the improvement, however, total mortgage loan application volume was relatively flat from a week earlier due primarily to a 2 percent drop in refinance activity. Refinance activity has slowed since mortgage rates began to rise again following consecutive weeks of declines. Last week, rates ticked up again, with the average contract interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances up slightly. Rates also rose on loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration. Mortgage rates on jumbo loans and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were flat from the previous week. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgages. More here.