AUSTIN (Austin American-Statesman) – Applications for mortgages have jumped in the past week as the average interest rate on 30-year loans fell below 5 percent for the first time since May, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.

As the average interest rate for 30-year loans fell from 5.08 percent to 4.97 percent in the week ending Sept. 18, the association’s index of mortgage activity rose 12.8 percent and was 14 percent higher than the same week in 2008.

As has been the case for months, most applications continue to be for refinancings, which accounted for almost 64 percent of the total.

The association’s purchase index was up 5.6 percent last week from the previous week.

The average rate for 15-year loans was unchanged at 4.41 percent, and the rate for one-year adjustable loans slipped to 6.52 percent from 6.61 percent the previous week.