Mortgage applications in the U.S. fell 28.7% in the week ending March 28, with the market composite index decreasing to 688.3 from 959.9 a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Application Survey released Wednesday.

The trade group�s refinance index decreased 38.1% to 2636.0 from 4255.2 the previous week while the purchase index decreased 11.8% to 356.0 from 403.7 one week earlier.

The conventional index decreased 31.2% to 901.8 from 1310.4 a week ago. The government index decreased 15.1% to 332.4 from 391.7 in the prior week.

The four-week moving average for the market index rose 0.11% to 744.5 from 743.6. while the average for the purchase index dropped 0.47% to 373.4 from 375.2. The average for the refinance index increased 0.58% to 2918.7 from 2901.9.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 53.4% of total applications from 62.0% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 5.4% from 3.8% of total applications from the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 5.75% from 5.74%, with points increasing to 1.19 from 1.13. Interest rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 5.27% from 5.23%, with points decreasing to 1.13 from 1.15. Rates for one-year ARMs decreased to 7.0% from 7.02%, with points decreasing to 1.39 from 1.72.

By Steve Campbell, edited by Cristina Markham