The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said mortgage applications rose, on a seasonally adjusted basis, during the week ended February 24, although they fell in some categories without an adjustment. MBA's Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, was 5.8 percent higher than during the week ended February 17, but was 3 percent lower on an unadjusted basis. The week's results also included an adjustment for the Presidents' Day holiday.

The Refinance Index increased 5 percent from the previous week to its highest level in more than two months.  The share of total applications that were for refinancing however, decreased to 45.1 percent from 46.2 percent and was the smallest share since November 2008.

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased by 7 percent compared to the previous week while the unadjusted Purchase Index was down by 1 percent.  The unadjusted index was also 5 percent lower than during the same week in 2016, a week which did not include a holiday.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 12.3 percent from 11.6 percent while the VA share dipped to 11.7 percent from 12.1 percent a week earlier. The USDA share was unchanged at 0.9 percent.

Both contract and effective interest rates fell back from a week earlier for all fixed-rate mortgages (FRM). The average contract interest rate for 30-year FRM with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) decreased to 4.30 percent from 4.36 percent, with points increasing to 0.38 from 0.35  

Jumbo 30-year FRM, loans with balances greater than $424,100, had an average rate of 4.23 percent with 0.25 point.  A week earlier the rate was 4.29 percent with 0.28 point.

FHA-backed 30-year FRM had an average contract rate of 4.07 percent, down from 4.14 percent the previous week.  Points increased to an average of 0.37 from 0.33.

The average contract rate for 15-year FRM dropped by 5 basis points to 3.51 percent.  Points were unchanged at 0.36.

The average contract interest rate as well as the effective rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) were higher than a week earlier.  The interest rate increased to 3.35 percent from 3.31 percent, while points dipped to 0.29 from 0.31.  The ARM share of mortgage applications was unchanged from the previous week at 7.3 percent.

MBA's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey has been conducted since 1990.  It covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications with respondents that include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100 and interest rate information is based on loans with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio.  Points include the origination fee.