Overall mortgage application activity picked up last week as interest rates sprang higher, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today.

The market composite index, a measure of home loan application volume, climbed 1.6 percent last week on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before, taken higher by a third straight week of increased refinancings.

The index that tracks refinancings advanced 1.9 percent last week, boosting the refi share of mortgage activity to 42.3 percent of applications, while the purchase index edged up 1.3 percent.

The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 18.1 percent of applications from 17.4 percent the previous week, the MBA reported.

Borrowing costs increased last week, with the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rising to 6.23 percent from 6.13 percent, the 15-year fixed rate up from 5.81 percent to 5.96 percent, and the one-year ARM growing from 5.61 percent to 5.72 percent.

Points, which are loan-processing fees expressed as a percent of the total loan amount, averaged 1.53 on the 30-year loans, 1.24 on the 15-year, and 1.1 on one-year ARMs. Statistics, which include the origination fee, are based on loan-to-value ratios of 80 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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