After rising sharply for weeks, mortgage interest rates briefly steadied last week, and homebuyers responded. Total mortgage application volume increased 2.7 percent from the previous week, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday in its seasonally adjusted report. Compared with a year ago, however, volume was 2.4 percent lower. The week-over-week increase was driven by homebuyers, who have been sidelined significantly this year by a record low number of listings and by weakening affordability. Home prices continue to rise faster than wages and inflation, and higher interest rates have reduced buying power.