Despite a slight rise in mortgage rates, overall mortgage application volume picked up last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today in its weekly survey.

The market composite index, a measure of total home loan volume, inched up 0.6 percent, climbing to 657.2 on a seasonally adjusted basis from 653.3 one week earlier. Boosting the index was a 4 percent increase in new purchase loans, while the refinance index actually dropped 3.2 percent from the week before.

Borrowing costs increased on nearly all loan types, with the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rising to 6.14 percent from 6.13 percent, the 15-year fixed rate up from 5.82 percent to 5.83 percent, and the one-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) holding at 5.79 percent.

Points, which are loan-processing fees expressed as a percent of the total loan amount, averaged 1.31 on the 30-year loans, 1.25 on the 15-year, and 0.73 on one-year ARMs. Statistics, which include the origination fee, are based on loan-to-value ratios of 80 percent.

According to the MBA, the refinance share of mortgage activity last week decreased to 41.5 percent of total applications from 43.4 percent the previous week, and the ARM share of activity decreased to 17.9 percent from 18.3 percent.

The Mortgage Bankers Association survey covers approximately 50 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage originations, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.

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