Continuing declines in fixed interest rates prompted a 9.2 percent increase in mortgage applications last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.

Most of the increase came, however, from refinancing. The percentage of loans for refinancing increased to 74.9 percent from 72.1 percent the previous week. The percentage of mortgages for buying a house fell 2.4 percent from the previous week.

Fewer adjustable-rate loans were originated last week, falling to 5.4 percent from 5.7 percent of all applications.

The government program encouraging borrowers to refinance played a small role in the increase in that mortgage activity. The association said the increase in refinance activity last week was concentrated in the conventional sector, which was up around 14 percent for the week, while government refinance applications were up only 4 percent.

— Alan J. Heavens#