Loan applications for mortgages increased last week for the first time in a month, as average rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage edged downwards, a weekly report said Wednesday.

Demand for applications advanced 6.6% in the week ending June 19, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, who have been conducting the survey since 1990. 

From the MBA Press Release:

"The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 548.2, an increase of 6.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 514.4 one week earlier.  On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 6.0 percent compared with the previous week and increased 17.2 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."

Over the past four weeks, the index tracking loan applications has fallen by an average of 9.3%, as mortgage rates soared above the 5% mark late last month. Compared to this time last year demand is down by a little more than 17%.

Part of the increase can be attributed to falling mortgage rates. For the second week in a row the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage moderated from recent highs, falling to 5.44% in the week from a prior 5.50%.

Refinance-related loans accounted for 54.1% of all loans in the week. Compared to the week before the Refinance Index increased 5.9%, while the Purchase Index advanced 7.3%.

Adjustable rate mortgages accounted for 4.1% of all loans, two-tenths lower than in the prior week’s survey.

Later today, the National Association of Home Builders will release its New Home Sales index for May, which is expected to rise around 2%, marking the first back-to-back gain in two years.