Adel Mikhael is vice president and market manager of Provident Bank in Easton, where he is responsible for developing new business in the Lehigh Valley/western New Jersey market, working with businesses to meet their financial goals.
In addition, he oversees Provident’s Bethlehem and Phillipsburg branches and is responsible for sales management, operational proficiency, coaching and staff development.
Mikhael was most recently a vice president and branch manager with PNC Bank with its Allentown branch. Prior to that he was a vice president and branch manager with Santander Bank.
He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from American University Cairo and he is a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Lehigh Valley Business: What are some current trends happening now in relation to providing mortgages to customers? Are you seeing any increase or decrease in the volume of loans distributed?
Adel Mikhael: Prices in April continued to gain traction. The median sale price increased 1.1 percent to $192,000. Closed sales saw an increase of 3.8 percent to 651. Homes continued to sell quickly, lasting on average just 46 days on the market. Inventory levels shrank 10.2 percent to 1,588 units, leading to a month supply of inventory that dropped 12 percent to 2.2 months, yet the volume of loans has increased in the market from the same time last year by 15 percent
LVB: With a strong economy, has it been easier for customers to get a mortgage? Has mortgage lending criteria eased over the years? If so, to what can that be attributed?
Mikhael: The low unemployment rate is providing some reassurance to wary consumers. It’s also been easier to get a mortgage and the criteria has eased slightly from what it was, thanks to new programs offered to first-time home buyers and also lower interest rates.
LVB: As the homebuyer market continues to grow, will interest rates continue to rise as well? If the interest rates rise, how will that affect refinancing for homeowners?
Mikhael: If rates stay low, homebuyer and refinancing markets will continue to grow, but if rates rise it will affect the mortgage market in Lehigh Valley.
LVB: Where do you see the housing market moving in the next five years? Do you think it will continue to remain strong?
Mikhael: I think the housing market will continue to remain strong in the Lehigh Valley, as we see an increase in new construction across the valley, driven by growth in hiring in health care and other companies that are relocating to the valley.