According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, demand for loans to buy homes rose 6 percent last week from the week before and is now 8 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The improvement may be an indication that potential buyers are ready to start looking for a home to purchase. “There was a broad based increase in mortgage applications last week relative to the week prior,” Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, said. “The increase in purchase volume was led by a nearly 6 percent increase in both conventional and government markets, perhaps signaling that households are finally ready to begin the home-buying season.” In addition to increasing purchase demand, refinance activity was also up last week, rising 4 percent from the week before. The jump in refinance applications came despite mortgage rates being relatively unchanged from the previous week. In fact, rates were up slightly for loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, loans with jumbo balances, and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans with conforming loan balances were down but not significantly. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.