KEY POINTS
  • An unusual surge in home buying, just as the market enters the historically slow holiday season, is driving mortgage demand higher.
  • Mortgage demand from home buyers rose for the third straight week.
  • Mortgage applications to refinance a home loan were essentially flat, rising just 0.4% from the previous week.
A real estate sign advertising a home "Under Contract" is pictured in Vienna, Virginia, outside of Washington.

An unusual surge in home buying, just as the market enters the historically slow holiday season, is driving mortgage demand higher. Total mortgage application volume rose 1.8% last week compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted index.

The increase was largely driven by applications to purchase a home, which rose 5% for the week but were still 4% lower than the same week one year ago. That was the third-straight weekly gain.