According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, applications for loans to buy homes are now 14 percent higher than they were one year ago. The year-over-year improvement is a positive sign for the housing market and indicates that there are more prospective home buyers looking to buy this spring. Still, on a week-over-week basis, purchase applications were virtually unchanged from the week before and refinance demand fell 4 percent. In part, last week’s results were due to increasing mortgage rates. The MBA’s survey – which has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications – found that rates increased across all loan categories, including 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year fixed-rate loans. Despite recent rate increases, however, purchase demand has remained relatively steady while, at the same time, refinance activity has experienced a general trend downward. More here.