According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Applications Survey, mortgage rates continue to defy expectations, falling for the third week in a row. In fact, rates were down across all loan categories including 30-year fixed-rate loans with both conforming and jumbo balances, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. The drop led to another bump in home loan demand, with both the refinance and purchase indexes seeing large gains. Refinance activity – which is generally more sensitive to rate fluctuations – was up 11 percent over the previous week, while demand for loans to buy homes rose 5 percent over the week before. Joel Kan, an MBA economist, told CNBC that mortgage rates are being affected by volatility in the financial market. “As a result of more financial market volatility and continued flight to quality by investors, mortgage rates have decreased 18 basis points since the first week of January 2016,” Kan said. That drop has rates at their lowest point since last October. The MBA's weekly survey has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail residential mortgage applications.