Mortgage applications rise, loan rates fall

Purchases picked up 1 percent and overall applications are nearly 10 percent above the level they were at last year. 

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 84 percent of total applications from 82 percent the previous week, the highest level since January 2009. 

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with balances at $417,500 or less decreased to 3.47 percent, from 3.52 percent, the lowest rate in the history of the survey.

The rate for 30-year loans with balances greater than $417,500 dropped to 3.77 percent from 3.79 percent. 

On 30-year mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, rates fell to 3.32 percent from 3.34, another record-low rate. 

The average rate on 15-year-fixed mortgages decreased to 2.85 percent from 2.86, another all-time low.