Mortgage applications increased 7% for the week ending May 3 when compared to a week earlier, an industry trade group said Wednesday.

The steeper jump comes after only slight increases these past few weeks, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.

The refinance index also soared 8%, reaching its highest level since December 2012.

"The gain in the refinance index was due to increases in both the conventional and government refinance indices of 8.8% and 5.7% respectively," the MBA noted.

The seasonally adjusted purchase index rose 2%, bringing it back to its highest level since May 2010.

Breaking a three-week trend, the refinance share of overall mortgage activity inched up to 76% of total applications compared to 75% last week.

Additionally, the adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity increased slightly and now accounts for 4% of all mortgage applications.

The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with a conforming loan balance continued to slip to 3.59%, the lowest level since December 2012, and down from 3.60% the previous week.

Meanwhile, the average 30-year, FRM with a jumbo loan balance dipped to 3.79% from 3.80% last week. 

The average contract interest rate for the 30-year, FRM backed by the FHA ticked up to 3.35% compared to 3.34% the previous week. 

Both the 5/1 ARM and the 15-year, FRM fell to the lowest rate in the history of the survey, tumbling to 2.53% and 2.81%, respectively.

bswanson@housingwire.com