Mortgage activity edged up while interest rates were little changed from a week ago, according to an industry report. The Mortgage Bankers Association Wednesday said its weekly applications survey rose 0.6% in the week ended July 23, but was down almost 35% from a year ago. "The purchase market continues to be very strong, in line with the numbers we have seen for new home and existing home sales," the association said. Existing home sales hit a record rate in June, as did the median price of a home. New home sales, however, slipped, but the decline was smaller than economists expected. The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 5.97% from 5.96% one week earlier, while the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 5.33% from 5.34%. The average interest rate for one-year adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMs, increased to 4.04% from 3.93%, perhaps reflecting market concerns about another Fed interest rate hike in August. The refinance share of all mortgage activity decreased to 36.8% from 37.1% a week ago.