According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, demand for loans to buy homes spiked 6 percent last week and is now 10 percent higher than at the same time last year. The increase was part of an overall gain in mortgage demand that may be a signal that the spring home buying season is ramping up. The improvement may have also been due to relatively flat mortgage rates from the previous week. In fact, average rates were virtually unmoved for 30-year fixed-rate loans with both conforming and jumbo balances, as well as 15-year mortgages. Joel Kan, an MBA economist, told CNBC competing economic factors kept rates steady. “Rates were roughly flat compared to last week, as the downward pressure of geopolitical uncertainty offset the upward pressure of higher inflation and Fed minutes that signaled greater certainty of rate hikes this year,” Kan said. Regardless of the reason, steady mortgage rates and elevated demand are good signs for the housing market as it enters its busiest season. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.