Purchase applications for home mortgages rose a seasonally adjusted 3 percent in the March 23 week, increasing the year-on-year gain in applications by 2 percentage points to 8 percent. Refinancing activity by homeowners, which has been subdued by rising interest rates recently, also heated up, with applications for refinancing increasing by 7 percent from the prior week, raising the refinance share of mortgage activity 0.9 percentage points to a still low 39.4 percent. The average interest rate on 30-year fixed rate conforming mortgages ($453,100 or less) increased by 1 basis point from the prior week to 4.69 percent. Purchase applications continue to show solid year-on-year gains and point to housing market strength. Further insight on the state of the housing market may be gained from the release of the Pending Home Sales Index later this morning, expected to show a rebound of 3 percent in February after January's disappointing 4.7 percent decline.