As we bid adieu to another harsh winter and welcome a more cheerful season — at least in some areas of the country, anyway — prospective homebuyers have a spring in their step, as mortgage applications increased almost 5 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.

For the week ending March 27, mortgage application activity, including home purchase demand and refinancing applications, rose 4.6 percent — marking the fourth consecutive week that the MBA has reported an increase in mortgage applications. Last week, the association reported that applications jumped 9.6 percent.

According to the MBA’s most recent weekly survey, the seasonally adjusted index of loan applications rose 5.7 percent, and refinancing applications rose 3.9 percent. The refinance share of total mortgage activity fell slightly to 60 percent of applications from 61 percent the week before.

“There was a broad-based increase in mortgage applications last week relative to the week prior,” said Lynn Fisher, vice president of research and economics at the MBA. “The increase in purchase volume was led by a nearly 6 percent increase in both conventional and government markets, perhaps signaling that households are finally ready to begin the homebuying season.”

At the same time, interest rates are falling, the MBA said. Fixed, 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.89 percent for the week, down 1 basis point from 3.9 percent the previous week.

MBA’s survey covers more than 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.

Email Amy Swinderman.

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