According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates moved higher for the second consecutive week last week. Rates were up across all loan categories, including 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year loans. Joel Kan, an MBA economist, told CNBC that rates are being driven higher by economic conditions. “Rates moved higher last week driven by concerns over a weaker U.S. dollar, signs of more robust growth and rising rates abroad, and moderately strong fourth-quarter domestic growth,” Kan said. With rates rising, there was a decline in mortgage application demand. The number of homeowners looking to refinance and potential buyers requesting applications for loans to buy homes both saw a drop, with total demand falling 2.6 percent from the week before. However, mortgage rates still remain low by historical standards – though there is a belief that, with a strengthening economy, interest rates could rise further this year. The MBA’s weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications. More here.