Applications for U.S. home mortgages increased last week as purchasing and refinancing activity rose despite higher interest rates on fixed loans, an industry group said on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (search) said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity increased 6.1 percent to 683.6 in the week ended April 8, more than offsetting a decline of 4.4 percent the previous week.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications rose 5.6 percent to 1899.6, after falling 3.1 percent the prior week.

The MBA's purchase index, a gauge of loan requests for home purchases, climbed 6.4 percent to 474.5, after it fell 5.3 percent the week before.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates (search) averaged 5.95 percent last week, excluding fees, up 4 basis points from 5.91 percent the previous week.