WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- Mortgage applications increased 5% last week as mortgage rates edged lower. The volume of mortgage loan applications increased 5% on a seasonally adjusted basis in the week ending Jan. 14, the Mortgage Bankers Association said early Wednesday. Mortgage activity rose 2.2% in the prior week .
Refinancing application volume jumped 7.7% from the previous week, following a 4.9% uptick in the prior week. Home-purchase loan applications fell 1.9% in the week, on a seasonally adjusted basis, after falling 3.7% a week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the MBA's purchase index was 16% lower than in the year-earlier week. "Mortgage rates have moved somewhat lower since the beginning of the year, as mixed data on the job market continue to cloud the outlook for the economy," said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics. "Refinance applications have picked up, as borrowers take advantage of lower rates, but purchase applications remain quite low, indicating that home sales are unlikely to pick up any time soon." A total of 73% of all loan applications last week were for refinancing existing mortgages, up from a 72.1% share in the prior week. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage edged lower to 4.77%, from 4.78% in the prior week. It was the third consecutive week of declines in the 30-year fixed rate but remains below the survey's seven-month high observed three weeks ago. Still, mortgage rates remain near all-time lows.