Mortgage RatesU.S. mortgage rates fell to a four-month low last week, supporting more home purchases and refinancing.

The contract rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage decreased 19 basis points to 6.23% in the week ended Jan. 13, according to Mortgage Bankers Association data released Wednesday. That helped boost total applications by nearly 28% in the week, though the data can be volatile around major holidays.

MBA’s purchasing and refinancing indexes each rose to the highest since September.

Even with last week’s advance, the refinancing index remains historically depressed. Mortgage rates have skyrocketed in the last year as the Federal Reserve increases borrowing costs to rein in inflation, which has hampered activity in the housing market.

A report later Wednesday is expected to show homebuilder sentiment remained near the lowest level since the early months of the pandemic in January.

The MBA survey, which has been conducted weekly since 1990, uses responses from mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. The data cover more than 75% of all retail residential mortgage applications in the U.S.