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Mortgage News

Existing Home Sales: Is the Market Shifting Toward Buyers?

July 23 2024

Existing home sales fell in June, but the median sales price hit a record high as it had also done in May . The National Association of Realtors® said sales of previously owned single-family houses, townhouses, condominiums, and cooperative apartments receded by 5.4 percent compared both to May and sales in June 2023. Total sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.89 million units. Annual sales in the two earlier periods were at the rate of 4.11 million. Single-family home sales dropped 5.1 percent from May to a rate of 3.52 million in June and were 4.3 percent lower than a year earlier. The annual rate of existing condominium and co-op sales, estimated at 370,000 units, was 7.5 percent lower than the May number and 14 percent below the 430,000 sales posted a year earlier. [existinghomesdata] Home sales just missed the bottom of the range of forecasts from analysts polled by Econoday. Those estimates ranged from 3.90 million to 4.25 million with a consensus of 4.0 million. “We're seeing a slow shift from a seller's market to a buyer's market, ” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Homes are sitting on the market a bit longer, and sellers are receiving fewer offers. More buyers are insisting on home inspections and appraisals, and inventory is definitively rising on a national basis.” Clearly, the shift to a buyers‘ market is not yet complete as prices continue to rise. The median sales price for all housing types in June was $426,900, an all-time high and an increase of 4.1 percent from the June 2023 median of $410,100. Single-family home prices were also up 4.1 percent to $432,700. The increase in condo prices was more modest, 2.6 percent, resulting in a median of $371,700. [existinghomeprices]

Refinancing Volume Highest in Nearly Two Years

July 17 2024

Mortgage application activity staged a moderately strong recovery from the previous holiday-shortened week, although the recovery was attributable solely to the refinance side of the business. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage application volume, increased 3.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index was up 30 percent. The Refinance Index surged by 15.0 percent compared to the previous week and was 37 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity jumped to 38.8 percent of total applications from 34.9 percent and was the largest since mid-December 2023. [refiappschart] Purchasing on the other hand declined 3.0 percent after seasonal adjustment although it was up 22 percent before it. The Purchase Index was 14 percent lower than during the same week one year ago. [purchaseappschart] “Mortgage rates declined last week, as recent signs of cooling inflation and the increased likelihood of Fed rate cuts later this year pulled them lower. The 30-year fixed rate declined to 6.87 percent, the lowest rate since March 2024,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “ Application activity was up 4 percent, driven by a 15 percent jump in refinances to the highest level since August 2022. While FHA and VA refinance applications accounted for a significant share of the increase, these are likely recently originated loans with even higher than current offered rates. Even with last week’s rate decline, purchase applications continue to lag, down 14 percent compared to last year’s pace.”

Rates Continue to Depress Builders as Well as Sales

July 16 2024

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) blamed high interest for lagging new home sales and the resulting dampened industry confidence in building them. NAHB chief economist Robert Deitz said mortgage rates averaged 6.92 percent last month and rates for construction and development loans were also elevated. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), an indicator of home builders’ confidence in the market for newly constructed homes, was down 1 point in July to 42, the lowest reading since last December. Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for more than 35 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. The HMI index charting current sales conditions in July fell 1 point to 47 and the gauge charting traffic of prospective buyers also declined by a single point to 27. The component measuring sales expectations in the next six months increased 1 point to 48. Deitz said that, while buyers seem to be waiting for lower interest rates, the six-month sales expectation for builders moved higher, indicating that builders hope for lower rates later this year as inflation data are showing signs of easing.

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