Mortgage application volume soared 15.5% in the week ended March 4, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly mortgage applications survey.

The refinance index jumped 17.2%, while the purchase index climbed 12.5%.

“Taking into account typical seasonal patterns, purchase applications rose to their highest level of the year last week. On an unadjusted basis, purchase application activity is the highest since last May,” said Michael Fratantoni, the MBA’s vice president of research and economics.

“An improving job market is beginning to pave the way for an improving housing market,” he said. “Additionally, mortgage interest rates remained below 5% for a second week, maintaining ­affordability for buyers and leading to an increase in refinance applications.”

Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted market-index four-week moving average grew 2.7%, the four-week purchase index moving average rose 1.2%, and the four-week refinance index moving average climbed 3.6%.

Refinancings accounted for 65.5% of applications in the week, up from 64.9% a week earlier. Adjustable-rate mortgages made up 6.0% of the market, up from 5.5% the week before.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.93% from 4.84%, while 15-year fixed-rate mortgages held at 4.17%.

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