The number of mortgage applications submitted last week increased as the deadline for the first-time homebuyer tax credit nears, according to two weekly surveys. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its index measuring gross application volume increased 12.8% from the seasonally- and holiday-adjusted week prior. Mortgage Maxx’s index, which adjusts gross data to count multiple applications from a single household as one applicant, experienced a 2.4% increase on the same basis. “The Max largely maintains last week’s pace as rates remain historically attractive and the window for the first time home buyer incentive is poised to officially close,” Mortgage Max said. The MBA’s refinance index increased 17.4% from the previous week. The association’s purchase index increased 5.6%. The index of applications for government-insured loans surged to its highest level recorded in the MBA’s survey. Government-insured loan applications took a 45.7% share of all purchase applications, the highest since November 1990. The MBA also reported that mortgages for refinancing comprised 63.8% of the application pool, up from 61% a week ago. Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) took a 6.7% share of total applications. Mortgage Max predicts the rate of applications will continue to be on the upswing for the next few weeks, as homebuyers take advantage of the first-time homebuyer tax credit before it expires. But, after that, the group predicts a sharp decline, “absent federal heroics.” Write to Austin Kilgore.