According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, demand for mortgage purchase applications is now 20 percent higher than it was at the same time last year. Rising application demand is evidence that more Americans are interested in buying a home and have begun the mortgage process. But, despite the improvement over last year, the survey’s results also show that, when compared to one week earlier, overall demand has dropped. In fact, refinance activity was down 8 percent and purchase demand dropped 6 percent. The slowdown follows a recent spike in activity and comes on a week when average mortgage rates fell. According to the report, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with both conforming and jumbo balances dropped from the week before, as did rates for loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist, told CNBC the weekly average mortgage rate isn’t telling the whole story. “The prior week included days with much lower rates due to volatility around the Fed’s announcement that drove refinance volume up,” Fratantoni said. “Last week, a more stable rate produced less volume, as rates at this level just do not provide an incentive for most homeowners to refinance.” The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.