Purchase applications for home mortgages rebounded last week, but demand for refinancing sagged for a second week in a row, an industry group said on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, slipped 1.2 percent in the week ended November 18, after a 10 percent drop the week before.

The gauge of loan requests for home purchases provided a bright spot, rising 8.2 percent. Even so, purchase activity remains almost 5 percent below last year's level, Michael Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics, said in a statement.

The index of refinancing applications fell 4.0 percent and the refinance share of total mortgage activity dropped to 75.9 percent of applications from 77.3 percent. It was the lowest level since September.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates were unchanged at an average 4.23 percent.

The survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, according to MBA.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Leslie Adler)