Mortgage application volume increased last week, despite a decline in refinance activity. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) weekly survey of gross mortgage application volume increased 0.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending March 5, compared to one week ago. The Mortgage Maxx index that’s adjusted to reflect the number of households that applied for mortgages was also up, increasing 2% from last week. The MBA said its refinance index decreased 1.5% from the previous week and the seasonally adjusted purchase index was up 5.7%. Unadjusted, the purchase index was up 7.2% from the previous week, but down 10.7% from the same week one year ago. Mortgage Maxx said with the traditional home selling season beginning in March, mortgage activity could begin to pick up. “However, given near record low mortgage rates, tax incentives and discounted home prices, the pace of leading mortgage activity may remain distressingly lethargic,” the data firm said in its weekly report. The MBA said refinance mortgages took a 67.2% share of all mortgage application activity, down from 69.1% the previous week. The refinance share is at its lowest level since it was 66.1 percent in October 2009, MBA added. Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) activity increased to 5.1% of total applications, up from 4.8% last week, the highest share since November 2009 when ARMs accounted for 5.3% of all applications. Write to Austin Kilgore.

3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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