Low mortgage rates drove mortgage loan application volumes sharply higher in the latest week as borrowing costs fell to 14-month lows. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.36% from 4.45%, the lowest since January 2018, with an average 0.44 in points. The MBAs Market Composite Index, a measure of total mortgage loan application volume, rose nearly 19% in the latest week. In addition, the refinance index surged 39% while the purchase index saw a 3.4% increase.
Private payroll growth slowed a bit in March as employers worried over a somewhat slowing US economy. ADP reports that private payrolls rose 129,000 in March, below the 178,000 expected while February was revised higher to 197,000 from 183,000. The 129,000 was the slowest private payroll growth since September 2017. The more closely watched government Jobs report will be released on Friday morning.
The service of the economy edged lower in March reports the Institute of Supply Management (ISM). The ISM Service Index fell to 56.1 last month from the 59.7 recorded in February. In the accommodation and food service industry, employers say labor is tight and in short supply. A reading above 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector is generally contracting.