Published: Aug 18, 2010 6:57 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 18, 2010 3:57 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - Mortgage applications rose 13 percent last week as consumers refinanced at the lowest rates in decades.

The Mortgage Bankers Association says the increase was driven by a 17 percent surge in applications to refinance home loans. Those taken out to purchase homes fell by more than 3 percent. The numbers are adjusted for seasonal factors.

Rates have fallen since spring as investors sought the safety of Treasury bonds, lowering their yield. Mortgage rates tend to track those yields.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan rose slightly to 4.6 percent from 4.57 percent a week earlier.