According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates fell across all loan categories last week, including 30-year fixed-rate loans with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year fixed-rate loans. The drop in rates spurred a 2 percent increase in the Refinance Index, while the Purchase Index was essentially flat from the week before. “Although total purchase applications were little changed for the week, this resulted from a combination of a small increase for conventional purchase loans, and a decrease for government purchase loans,” MBA’s chief economist, Michael Fratantoni, told CNBC. “We continue to see a decline in the average size of purchase loans, further indicating that entry-level buyers are beginning to return to the market.” Though purchase applications – which are a good indicator of future home sales – have been relatively flat the past few weeks, they remain 18 percent higher than last year’s estimate. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.