Mortgage applications decreased 3.8% last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly application survey.

The share of refinancing loans in the mix also decreased, to 37.5% of the total from 38.1% the previous week.

The average interest rate was 6.97% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, up from 6.87%, and 6.19% for a one-year adjustable, up from 6.03%.

Fannie Mae's chief economist, David Berson, pointed out that higher rates have cut into the refinancing business. The fixed-rate average, which hovered at 6.75% during much of the fourth quarter, rose as high as 7.2% in March before dropping back, he noted.

But though refi applications this month have been running substantially below the March level, purchase loan applications through April 23 topped the total for all of March by 5.7%, he said.

"What the application numbers tell us is that the home sales numbers are going to remain strong for the next couple of months at least," Mr. Berson said.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.