According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates fell again last week, with rates dropping on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year fixed-rate loans. With rates down over the past four weeks, refinance activity has surged. In fact, last week’s results show a 23 percent increase from the week before, which brought the refinance share of total mortgage activity up to 65 percent. Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist, said refinance application volume reached the highest level since November of last year and the average loan balance on refinance applications increased to $306,400, which is the highest level in survey history. Unfortunately, demand for loans to buy homes hasn’t seen the same improvement. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 5 percent last week from the week before and is now 9 percent lower than the same week a year ago. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.