Qantas restructures refurbs and reviews…

first_imgQantas will upgrade its fleet of 30 Airbus A330 aircraft with new cabin interiors, following a AU$30 million upgrade to its Brisbane heavy maintenance and engineering facility. — Qantas’ fare levels will be released for travel on or after 16 February 2014 for sales and ticketing from 4 December 2013 for economy and where available, premium economy fares; and 11 December 2013 for business and where available, first class fares. “Mr Hockey has reportedly posed the question: does Australia need its own airline? AIPA would argue strongly that it does and that most countries see it the same way… a national airline is vital national infrastructure, supplying the economy with quality jobs, skills, and security options.” The new fares will apply to all tickets issued in Australia for travel on Qantas operated services to the Americas, South Africa, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines and New Caledonia. AIPA has been appealing for a review of the QSA for some time now, in order to level Australia’s aviation playing field and ensure that Qantas can continue serving the national interest. Qantas also plan to recruit 30 apprentice engineers to assist with the fleet maintenance, which is expected to be completed by mid-2016. Source = ETB News: P.T. —center_img — Qantas has revealed changes to its international fare structure and announced major upgrading activities to be carried out in Brisbane, while the Qantas Sales Act may come under review. The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) has welcomed Treasurer Joe Hockey’s call for a “national conversation” regarding the Qantas Sales Act (QSA) but stipulated any adjustments should be focussed solely on improving Qantas’s Australian operations. “By being free to attract foreign capital streams there is no doubt that Virgin currently enjoys an unfair advantage over Qantas,” AIPA president Nathan Safe said. New features of the re-structure include; streamlined use of fare families; consistent RBD mapping; simplified stopover, change and cancellation fee conditions; and streamlined ticketing time limits. “From late 2014, we will be upgrading all 30 of our Airbus A330s with Business Suites with fully flat beds… ten A330-300s for Qantas International will feature new economy seats and 20 A330-200s for Qantas Domestic will see their economy seats refurbished,” Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said. The Qantas fleet is now it’s youngest since privatisation, with an average aircraft age of 7.9 years.last_img read more

Five things you should know about Chiang Mai

first_imgSource = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson Image credit: Brittney Levinson ETB Travel NewsDescribed as Thailand’s ‘Rose of the North’, Chiang Mai is one of the few places in Thailand where you can experience traditional and modern Thai culture seamlessly co-existing. Whether it’s in the form of lush green mountains, historic city temples or five-star luxury hotels, Chiang Mai’s beauty is undeniable. I recently spent some time in the city while attending Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2016, which was held in Chiang Mai for the very first time.It’s really no wonder I fell in love with Chiang Mai almost instantly; the friendly, laid-back nature of the locals is akin to the easy-going Australian culture. The moment I stepped out of the airport I was told that Chiang Mai is very different to Phuket or Bangkok – things move at a slower, more easy-going pace and it’s something the locals are definitely proud of.Five things you should know about Chiang Mai1. Luxury accommodation won’t break the bank137 Pillars House Chiang Mai. Image credit: Brittney Levinson ETB Travel NewsThere is no shortage of luxury accommodation in Chiang Mai and it is much more affordable than you would think. The Akyra Manor exudes luxury, right in the heart of the hip Artist Quarter of Chiang Mai. One night in a stylish Deluxe Suite with all the luxury trimmings, including a breathtaking bathtub on the balcony, costs as little as AU$250.The renowned 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai blends traditional and modern architecture to deliver a hidden sanctuary for guests seeking a luxurious Thai holiday. A night’s stay in this luxury haven will set you back around AU$500, complete with daily breakfast, a welcome drink and fruit basket, and free Wi-Fi throughout the property.2. You can hike in a national park by day and have fancy rooftop drinks by nightBeer Lab, Chiang Mai. Image credit: Brittney Levinson ETB Travel NewsAdventure seekers won’t be disappointed with what Chiang Mai has to offer, just as sophisticated types won’t be disappointed with the abundance of unique spots for a cocktail. Flight of the Gibbon offers ziplining tours about an hour out of the city and it is definitely worth a visit. Or head to Doi Inthanon National Park, home to Thailand’s highest mountain, for a guided hiking tour, where you can learn about the history and culture of the area while getting some gentle exercise.The best way to end a physically enduring day is with a drink (or three) at one of the city’s many bars. The Akyra Manor boasts an incredible rooftop bar with an impressive menu of cocktails, including classics with a unique twist.3. The food is next levelAmong the crowd favourites, like Pad Thai, green curry and sticky rice, Northern Thailand has its own unique dishes you would be a fool not to try. Don’t leave without trying the spicy Chiang Mai sausage and Khao soi, a soup-like dish topped with deep-fried crispy noodles. You’ll also find an abundance of Thai fruits, such as durian and mangosteen. And take my advice, every time you see a stall selling roti: stop, drop and eat. Seriously, you will never tire of light, crispy roti, covered in sweetened condensed milk and sugar – it’s the best.Khao soi. Image by Takeaway via Wikimedia Commons4. The facilities are state of the artAmong the beautiful, tradition architecture in Chiang Mai, there is also high quality, modern facilities and infrastructure. Built in 2013, the Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Centre (CMECC) is one of the largest convention and exhibition centres in Southeast Asia, with 60,000 square metres of usable space. The centre recently welcomed guests from all over the globe for this year’s Thailand Travel Mart Plus.And even the roads are top quality. Driving up towards the famous Doi Suthep, the roads were modern, well signed and secured with barriers. It looked as though we were driving up a mountain in Australia.5. It’s a gateway to many destinationsThanks to growing air and land connectivity within the Greater Mekong Subregion, Chiang Mai is a gateway to key cities in Cambodia, Lao PDR., Myanmar, Vietnam. As well as being an ideal entry and exit point to neighbouring countries, Chiang Mai is also a doorway to Northern Thailand’s lesser-know cities, such as Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son and Nakhorn Sawan. Visit Chiang Mailast_img read more

Malaysian Airline System Berhad Administrator Appointed MAS

first_imgMedia statement from Malaysian Airline System Berhad (Administrator Appointed) (“MAS) – MH370With regards to the MH370 Tripartite Communique issued by the governments of Australia, China and Malaysia, Malaysian Airline System Berhad (Administrator Appointed) (“MAS”) stands guided by the decision of the three governments to suspend the search for the missing MH370 flight. The search has been a thorough and comprehensive effort spanning over 120,000 square kilometres of the South Indian Ocean and we share in the sorrow that the search has not produced the outcome that everyone had hoped for.MAS remains hopeful that in the near future, new and significant information will come to light and the aircraft would eventually be located.MAS would also like to express our sincere appreciation and thanks to the governments and entities involved in the search, especially JACC who have been relentless in leading this international effort for almost three years. The airline appreciates the untiring efforts that have been put into the search for MH370 by many brave men and women from around the world.Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who are affected by this tragedy. We have lost a part of our family and they will forever be remembered.Source = Malaysia Airlineslast_img read more

TravelManagers PTMs have a hoot of a time in West Hollywood

first_imgBig thunder – All smiles ahead of the Big Thunder rollercoaster ride at Disneyland. Front left Stephanie Jones – Hoot Holidays and Jason Smith, Middle left Amy Poupos and Jane Fowler and back left Nicole Ginger and Christine AshtonTravelManagers PTM’s have a hoot of a time in West HollywoodExperiencing the West Hollywood region just like a client would, was the highlight for TravelManagers’ personal travel managers who recently experienced a seven-night exclusive educational hosted by TravelManagers’ sister-company Hoot Holidays and Visit West Hollywood.Stephanie Jones, Product Manager from Hoot Holidays and Sarah Thornton, Gate 7’s Account Manager for WeHo – Visit West Hollywood hosted famil participants Christine Ashton, Jane Fowler, Debra Deane, Lisa Metzl and Jason Smith from New South Wales, Nicole Ginger and Amy Poupos from Victoria with Simon Tinkler from Queensland.Located at the base of the Hollywood Hills and adjacent to Beverly Hills, the city of West Hollywood is just 1.9 square miles in size and has a population of 39,000. The city is comprised of three main districts: the world-famous Sunset Strip, eclectic Santa Monica Blvd., and The West Hollywood Design District.Metzl, representative from North Avoca was excited to discover a new and exciting destination in West Hollywood.PTM’s discover Carneys on their walking tour – known for the best hamburgers and hot dogs in LA and maybe the world! From left Simon Tinkler, Sarah Thornton – Visit West Hollywood, Christine Ashton, Nicole Ginger, Debra Deane, Jane Fowler, Lisa Metzl, Front left- Amy Poupos, Tracy our guide from WeHo Walking tours“Los Angeles is a destination I know well, but this famil allowed me the opportunity to explore West Hollywood, an area I hadn’t really explored before and I was pleasantly surprised with what it had to offer. With great hotels along with some fabulous restaurants – I can highly recommend Gracias Madre with its vegan Mexican menu using only locally grown organic food. The location is a great alternative for those who have travelled to LA several times, it’s really easy to get around and provides good access to Anaheim.”The highlight for Metzl was the three-hour walking tour of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.“The walking tour was fabulous. A local lady hosted it and her knowledge of past and present celebrities was phenomenal. The area is full of history and the stories are so interesting – we would have missed so much without this. I will be recommending this tour to all my clients.”Poupos discovered real value in having a ‘front of line’ ticket for Universal Studios.“Having the ‘front of line’ ticket is definitely worth the money if clients are short on time or just want to experience as much as possible. The ticket allows you to go to the front of the line once per ride so you can try at least every ride without having to wait in queues for lengthy times.”A visit to Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without some time at Disneyland.Personal travel managers in front of a mural highlighting West Hollywood at Andaz Hotel (from left Sarah Thornton – Visit West Hollywood, Lisa Metzl, Jane Fowler, Jason Smith, Simon Tinkler, Nicole Ginger, front left, Christine Ashton, Amy Poupos, Debra Deane)“No matter what your age, you can’t help but have fun at Disneyland. Make sure you don’t miss seeing the ‘World of Color’ show at Disneyland’s California Adventure Park. It really is something that can’t be described you really need to experience it in person to gain the full effects and really how incredible it is,” says Poupos.Shopping at the Citadel Outlets provided another great experience for Metzl.“The Citadel Outlets provide a fantastic option for Australians looking to make the most of their last day in Los Angeles before flying home in the evening. With access to their VIP room, you can store your luggage while you head out shopping. The VIP room provide snacks, drinks, a lounge area and lovely bathrooms where you can rest, change and repack your bags with all your new shopping purchases, before heading to the airport.”The personal travel managers attribute the behind-the-scenes support received from their in-house wholesaler Hoot Holidays, giving them the freedom to go above and beyond for their clients.“The support I receive from Hoot Holidays with their exceptional product knowledge, competitive pricing and exclusive value-add for land arrangements and holiday packages within the Asia Pacific region, gives me peace of mind that my clients will receive the best possible holiday in terms of value and experience. This gives me the confidence to focus on sharing my firsthand knowledge and travel tips that I know will make their travel the absolute best it can be and that is important to me,” says Poupos.For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.About TravelManagers TravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2015. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 500 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are only used for client purchases. Source = TravelManagerslast_img read more

Cyprus witnesses record tourist arrivals in September

first_imgIn terms of tourist arrivals, Cyprus recorded an increase of 14.0%, reaching 360,899 in September 2015 compared to 316,602 in September 2014.During the period between January and September 2015, arrivals of tourists totalled 2,203,599 compared to 2,051,483 in the corresponding period of 2014, recording an increase of 7.4%.On the basis of the results of the Passengers Survey, an increase of 32.0% has been recorded in tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom from 109,951 in September 2014 to 145,166 in September 2015, 99.9% increase from Israel from 7,383 to 14,756, 34.7% increase from Germany from 9,534 to 12,840, and 27.9% increase from Greece from 9,382 to 12,001 this year.Conversely, a decrease of 17.0% has been recorded in tourist arrivals from Russia with 75,391 in September 2015 compared to 90,866 in September 2014, and 5.9% decrease from Sweden with 15,951 compared to 16,947 last year.last_img read more

Nine Alleged Convicted in Mortgage Fraud Cases

first_imgNine Alleged, Convicted in Mortgage Fraud Cases Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank of America Citigroup Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Fraud Processing Service Providers Wells Fargo 2011-08-26 Ryan Schuette August 26, 2011 589 Views Another week rolled by with more instances of mortgage fraud, as reported by several news outlets from around the country. Nine defendants alternately received indictments, pled guilty, and submitted to their sentences from courts as a result of allegations and convictions stemming from mortgage fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, and money-laundering activities.[IMAGE]The fraudulent activities, followed up by days in court, occurred across four states, with the “”_Associated Press_””:, “”_Central Valley Business Times_””:, “”_Daily Local News_””:, and “”_Twin Cities Pioneer Press_””: all reporting.In Davenport, Iowa, a U.S. district court returned five-year sentences to Bettendorf natives Darryl Hanneken and Robert Herdrich for their pleas of guilty to conspiracy and fraud, according to the _AP_. The court ordered the defendants to restitute $869,000 in related fees.The news service reported prosecutors as saying that Hanneken and Herdrich purchased 30 properties in Davenport by submitting fraudulent applications to banks and lenders between 2005 and 2006. The two men went through a real estate agent and mortgage broker to carry out the operations.Across the country, in Sacramento, California, a federal grand jury slapped Sean Clendon, Anthony Salcedo, and Anthony Williams with 11 indictments over mortgage fraud identity, according to the _ Business Times_. The jury also indicted Williams for identity theft to the tune of two counts.According to the _Business Times_, Williams and McClendon, a loan officer, went through sham buyers to fraudulently obtain four properties in Rocklin, Folsom, Sacramento, and El Dorado Hills. The newspaper said that Salcedo paid off McClendon and Williams for their role in identifying the sham buyers, while McClendon oversaw the loans for each of the properties.[COLUMN_BREAK]Overstating home prices on loan documents and payments, each application falsified income and asset amounts for the buyers in order to qualify the loans.The _Business Times_ reports that convictions may send the defendants to prison for up to 30 years, with $1 million in fines for each. Penalties related to identity theft, as for Williams, could mean two-year prison terms.Meanwhile, one state over, in Las Vegas, Nevada, a defendant by the name of John Lucidi entered a guilty plea for his role in conspiring to commit millions of dollars in wire fraud and money-laundering activities, according to a story by the _Local News_ that quoted U.S. attorney Zane David Memeger. According to the _Local News_, Lucidi conspired to knowingly filch money from, and commit acts of fraud against, several mortgage giants while on the payroll as a mortgage broker for companies in Pennsylvania. The banks on his list included “”Bank of America””:, “”CitiMortgage””:, Countrywide Bank, “”First Magnus Financial””:, “”JP Morgan Chase””:, “”PNC Bank””:, and “”Wells Fargo””: Lucidi pled guilty to his role in these activities between 2005 and 2008.The newspaper reported that Lucidi allegedly scammed the banks to the tune of $7 million. He orchestrated the scheme by fronting a number of buyers to obtain mortgages under false information and pretenses. In turn, he paid the sham buyers $30,000 and $50,000, while he amassed inflated commissions and kickbacks on his purchases.With sentencing set down the line, Lucidi may face jail time that last from 108 to 135 months, a three-year release involving supervision, plus fines amounting to either $1.5 million or $500,000 in addition to double the value in criminally derived property, according to _Local News_.Finally, farther north, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a court sent Richard Sand down the river with a 30-month prison sentence for the part he played in a scam involving $2 million in fraudulent loans, according to _Pioneer Press_. Sand pled guilty back in March to one count of aiding and abetting wire fraud and another for money-laundering activities.According to the newspaper, Sand, plus an attorney and ex-chairman of White Bear Township’s board, faced sentences over a transaction that relied on falsified loan applications to secure a $2-million loan from Bank of America. Sand used his mother’s name in the application to falsely signal that she owned a stake in the loan.center_img in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Sharelast_img read more

Luxury Market Showing Strength in New York and Miami

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-05-15 Abby Gregory Share May 15, 2012 432 Views Luxury Market Showing Strength in New York and Miamicenter_img In New York and Florida, sellers appear to be gaining an advantage in the marketplace. [IMAGE]According to data “”Manhattan Miami Real Estate””:, both states demonstrated significant pricing increases during the first quarter.In Manhattan, per square-foot home prices rose by 8 percent in the luxury sector and condo prices were up by 9 percent for the year’s opening quarter. Additionally, the company’s statistics indicate that the city’s inventory level stands at an estimated 9 months of supply.[COLUMN_BREAK]Miami made pricing headlines as well, with residential prices in the luxury sector increasing by 13 percent on a per square-foot basis, as inventory levels descended to four month’s supply. Breaking down the city’s areas, the real estate group reported that South Beach pricing rose by 20 percent, Miami Beach pricing by 27 percent, and pricing in downtown was up by 19 percent.Both cities racked up record-making, high-end sales for the first quarter, with a penthouse on Manhattan’s Central Park West selling for $88 million. Meanwhile, Miami boasted a $20 million sale at St. Regis Bal Harbour and a $21.5 million sale at the Setai.Though pricing was the primary focus of the company’s recent study, their findings also showed a new emerging trend for down payments for foreign buyers in Miami. Using a practice that’s common in Brazil, developers in Miami are now “”requiring 50 to 60 percent in progress payments”” on a two-year continuum with payment in full due at closing, versus the previous 10 percent down payment model for those buying pre-construction property.Manhattan Miami Real Estate’s Richard Mello explains, “”Declining inventory levels has caused multiple bids on certain properties. While multiple bids are not widespread, since many prime neighborhoods now have a shortage of inventory, bidding wars, a boom-era phenomenon, are on the rise.”” in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technologylast_img read more

Bank of America to Donate 1000 Homes to Veterans

first_img in Origination, Servicing Share Agents & Brokers Bank of America Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-08-24 Esther Cho “”Bank of America””: announced Friday that it’s donating up to 1,000 properties for injured military veterans and first responders. [IMAGE]The properties will go to nonprofits and local government programs over a three-year period. [COLUMN_BREAK]””This is an important expansion of our property donation and community revitalization initiatives and improves the inventory of homes these organizations focused on assisting our veterans and first responders need,”” said D. Steve Boland, national mortgage outreach executive for Bank of America, in a statement. “”We understand our responsibility to help neighborhoods impacted by foreclosure and property abandonment to recover.”” So far, more than two dozen homes have been donated through the program after two retired servicemembers received homes this week. The two servicemembers were injured after serving in Operation Enduring Freedom. One veteran was based in Tucson, Arizona and received a three-bedroom, two-bath home through the Military Warriors Support Foundation. In San Antonio, a servicemember who is a single father of 6-year-old quadruplets and a 10-year-old daughter received a BofA-donated home through Operation Homefront.center_img Bank of America to Donate 1,000 Homes to Veterans August 24, 2012 431 Views last_img read more

Declining Affordability Shock or Not

first_img Share CoreLogic First-Time Homebuyers Home Equity Housing Affordability 2014-02-21 Scott_Morgan February 21, 2014 498 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Newscenter_img The degree to which a homebuyer can afford a house depends greatly on whether the buyer already owns a home, according to a report released Thursday by Mark Fleming, chief economist at CoreLogic.After a few years in a favorable market, first-time buyers are starting to face a tougher time, Fleming reports. The market overall is being affected by the intersection of rising home prices, rising interest rates and stagnating incomes, which puts first-time buyers behind the curve that has benefitted them greatly since 2007.According to CoreLogic, affordability—the measure of buyers’ ability to purchase a home and make a down payment given their income and the prevailing interest rate—was low in the early 2000s, particularly in the four years between 2003 and 2007, when market prices rose modestly and interest rates were as high as 8 percent. Then in 2007, home prices started to decline. The situation was exacerbated by the Great Recession, leading to a sharp drop in housing prices, open markets and historically low interest rates through 2012 and 2013.In that time frame, Fleming says, the drop in housing prices and interest rates created a market that first-time buyers could take advantage of. But with the economy growing, despite relatively flat incomes, first-time buyers increasingly face higher home prices in drier markets.This news, when taken with historical perspective, is hardly the “affordability shock” some economists make it out to be, Fleming says. Yes, affordability (as measured by the National Association of Realtors’ Housing Affordability Index) is down as much as 22 percent from its January 2013 peak, but is still far higher than it was in the early 2000s.Moreover, Fleming says, there is almost no change in affordability for buyers who already own a home. The simple reason is that existing homeowners have equity that can be directly transferred to the purchase of a new home, meaning that existing buyers—particularly those in good financial standing—have fewer concerns over making down payments or establishing new mortgages.Whether current trends will make houses unaffordable to most buyers by the end of 2014 remains to be seen, Fleming says. But he is sure of one thing—whatever happens, first-time buyers will be the ones who feel it the most. Declining Affordability: Shock or Not?last_img read more

Global Economic Woes Drag Mortgage Rates Down Further

first_img January 15, 2015 434 Views It’s been another down week for mortgage rates, which continued to sink as the economic picture dimmed overseas.In a survey released Thursday, Freddie Mac reported that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged a rate of 3.66 percent (0.6 point) for the week ending January 2015, a decline of 7 basis points from last week. Last year around this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.41 percent.The week’s decline put the 30-year fixed average at its lowest point since the week ending May 23, 2013.The 15-year FRM also slid down to its lowest level since May 2013, averaging 2.98 percent (0.5 point) from last week’s 3.05 percent.”Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week as oil prices plummeted and long term treasury yields continued to drop despite a strong employment report,” said Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist at Freddie Mac.While the headline employment numbers released for December—252,000 jobs added and a drop in the unemployment rate to 5.6 percent—the numbers underneath that were not as encouraging: Wage growth for all of 2014 was just 1.7 percent, while the labor force participation rate remains at its lowest in decades.Meanwhile, global economic prospects are dicey, with much of the eurozone battling deflation. Earlier this week, the World Bank cut its forecast for global growth in 2015 following a disappointing said the slashed forecast is “testament to the ongoing worries gripping financial markets.””These economic concerns, coupled with further declines in oil prices and renewed volatility in the stock market, brought bond yields and mortgage rates lower,” the site said in its weekly interest rate survey.As far as fixed mortgage rates go, Bankrate reported a 5 basis point drop for both the 30-year and 15-year fixed averages, bringing them down to 3.80 percent and 3.11 percent, respectively.Adjustable rates also continued to slide. Freddie Mac reported that the 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.90 percent (0.4 point) in the past week, while the 1-year ARM averaged 2.37 percent (0.4 point).Bankrate’s reading for the 5/1 ARM, meanwhile, was down 11 basis points to 3.09 percent. Adjustable-Rate Mortgages Bankrate Fixed-Rate Mortgages Freddie Mac Mortgage Rates 2015-01-15 Tory Barringer Global Economic Woes Drag Mortgage Rates Down Furthercenter_img Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Newslast_img read more

Here is Where SingleFamily Homes Sell the Fastest

first_img Days on the Market Homebuilding Housing Inventory National Association of Realtors 2016-08-12 Seth Welborn Share August 12, 2016 568 Views Here is Where Single-Family Homes Sell the Fastestcenter_img While the average number of days on the market for a single-family home ticked up from May to June nationwide, according to the most recent existing-home sales report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the number of days that a home remains for sale is shrinking in about a third of the states.About half of the properties that sold in the second quarter were on the market for 30 days or less in 16 states plus the District of Columbia, according to NAR Research Economist Scholastica (Gay) Cororaton.The majority of the states where half the properties sold in less than a month were located in the West and Midwest. The only three of these states located in the East (besides D.C.) were Massachusetts, Virginia, and Georgia.Western states included in the group were California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. Midwestern states where half of single-family houses sold in less than 30 days were Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota. Texas was also included in this group.As to the question of why homes are selling faster in West and Midwest states, the answer lies in the number of new homes that are being built—or rather, aren’t being built.“It all comes down to housing starts,” said Adam DeSanctis of NAR. “In the Midwest, there’s hardly any homes being built. It’s more affordable and you have more buyers there than you had a few years ago. In the West, this has been an issue for quite a few years now since the recovery. The economy, for the most part in most of those local markets is very strong. They just aren’t building enough homes and not enough people are listing their homes for sale. So what you’re seeing is that inventory is tight and homes continue to sell quicker because not enough is being built or put back on the market for existing homeowners to get that supply back up there again.”Distressed properties, which typically stay on the market longer than non-distressed properties, brought up the average number of days on the market. Foreclosed properties stayed on the market for an average of 49 days in June, and short sales took an average of 156 days on the market to sell. As a result, the average number of days on the market rose from 32 to 34 days over-the-month in June while staying flat over-the-year.In some states, single-family houses were still taking a while to sell in Q2. Wyoming, Alabama, and Delaware each had an average of more than 90 days for a single-family home to sell during the second quarter; overall in June, 11 percent of properties nationwide were on the market for longer than six months. in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Newslast_img read more

Housing Starts are Exceeding Expectations

first_img August 16, 2016 648 Views Housing Starts are Exceeding Expectations Housing Completions Housing Permits Housing Starts 2016-08-16 Seth Welborn Housing starts gained in July, even as permits stayed flat and completions dropped, according to the July 2016 residential construction report by the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.Privately-owned housing starts in July were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1,211,000. This is 2.1 percent above June’s estimated 1,186,000 and 5.6 percent last July’s rate of 1,147,000. Single-family housing starts in July came in at a rate of 770,000, or 0.5 percent above June’s 766,000. The July rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 433,000.Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in July, however, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.152 million, just short of June’s 1,153 million. While flat month-to-month, the number is almost a full percent higher than a year ago. Meanwhile, however, single-family authorizations in July were at a rate of 711,000, which is 3.7 percent below June’s 738,000.“Analysts had only been expecting a 1 percent decline in starts, but they were up 2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the revised rate in June,” chief economist Jonathan Smoke said. “Like permits, the seasonally adjusted rate was the best since February, and the non-adjusted actual estimate for the month was the highest since October 2007.”Completions also suffered in July. Privately-owned housing completions in July were 1,026,000, which is 8.3 percent below June’s 1.12 million. It is, however, 3.2 percent above last July’s rate of 994,000. There were 743,000 single-family housing completions just short of the June rate of 746,000. The July rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 275,000.“July represents the fourth straight month where the 12-month rolling total was flat or less than the previous month,” said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia. “Still, the total was the most starts in a 12-month period since May 2008.”McLaughlin also said that the new starts should be welcome news to buyers in tight markets.“Single-family starts are still growing at double-digit rates. Supply-constrained homebuyers should rest assured that relief is on the way,” he said.Tian Liu, chief economist at Genworth Mortgage Insurance in Raleigh, echoed that upbeat perspective.“This is a strong report, and we are particularly pleased with the single-family segment,” Liu said. “We believe that growth in housing starts will be led by single-family homes. Single-family homes have experienced a slower recovery in the past few years, and remain under-supplied today. We expect supply of single-family homes to catch up over the next few years.”However, McLaughlin said, the number of construction jobs per housing starts hit a 10-year low in July, likely due to persistent labor shortages.“The wave of single-family starts this year still isn’t showing signs of rising the tide for construction jobs,” he said.“New construction is failing to keep up with household formation, meaning that the low vacancies in rentals and the tight supply of homes for sale will continue to be a key theme for housing in the months ahead,” Smoke said. “Single-family is continuing to show gains, but the gains in permits are weaker than the gains in starts. Builders are starting what they already permitted earlier this year but are not bullish about demand this fall and winter.”Smoke continued, “The seasonally adjusted rate of permitting was not statistically significant, essentially unchanged from last month at the highest level of permitting since February. On a year-to-date basis, permits in multi-family have declined 16 percent, while single-family permits are up 7 percent. On a year-to-date basis, permits are up in every region but the Northeast where a massive 61 percent decline in multi-family is the cause of that region’s year-to-date declines.”Click here to view the entire report.center_img in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Sharelast_img read more

Hitting New Heights of Home Price Appreciation

first_img Home prices have been rising steadily since hitting their trough in January 2012, and are up to their pre-crisis peaks in many markets.According to Black Knight Financial Services’ Home Price Index (HPI) report for September 2016, seven of the nation’s top 40 largest metros reached new peaks in September as prices climbed by 5.4 percent over-the-year up to a nationwide value of $266,000. According to Black Knight, this number is only 0.6 percent off from a new national peak.Out of the seven metros out of the top 40 that hit new peaks in September, three were located in Texas. The seven were: Austin, Texas (6.6 appreciation from last year, up to $304,000); Boston, Massachusetts (6.0 percent appreciation from last year up to $431,000); Charlotte, North Carolina (7.0 percent appreciation from last year up to $213,000); Dallas, Texas (6.8 percent appreciation from last year up to $239,000); Nashville, Tennessee (9 percent appreciation from last year up to $241,000); San Antonio, Texas (5.2 percent appreciation over-the-year up to $204,000); and Seattle, Washington (11.6 percent appreciation over-the-year up to $413,000).One market that has lagged in home price recovery, however, is St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis was the only metro out of the top 40 that experienced a home price decline over-the-year in September, according to Black Knight. The median price fell by 1.9 percent in St. Louis down to $153,000 and is still 18.5 percent lower than the peak price of $188,000 for that market reached in June 2007. In Tampa, Florida, the median home price inched up by 0.6 percent over-the-year up to $205,000 in September, but is still 20 percent below its peak of $256,000 reached in May 2006Seven states hit new peaks for home prices in September as well, according to Black Knight: Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.Overall, Florida and Washington were the states that dominated the top 10 list of best performing metro areas as far as home prices, placing nine markets in the top 10 between them.Click here to view the entire Black Knight HPI for September 2016. November 27, 2016 576 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Hitting New Heights of Home Price Appreciationcenter_img Share Home Price Appreciation Home Prices 2016-11-27 Rachel Williamslast_img read more

AMDC Welcomes New Member

first_imgAMDC Welcomes New Member in Data, Headlines, News June 22, 2017 488 Views Sharecenter_img AMDC 2017-06-22 Brianna Gilpin We are pleased to announce that the American Mortgage Diversity Council (AMDC) welcomes a new member, National MI. “National MI has a keen interest and a strong commitment to promoting multicultural diversity and inclusiveness in the mortgage industry to open up more opportunities for homeownership in the U.S. We have a very active educational effort program underway that helps lenders expand their outreach to many first-time homebuyers, including multicultural segments, to facilitate affordable and sustainable homeownership for families with low down payments.” – National MIPlease join us in welcoming National MI as the newest member of the American Mortgage Diversity Council.last_img read more

Borrowers Get Comfortable with Digital Lending

first_img What does the Borrower want? To help lenders answer this all-important question, fintech company Fiserv conducted a study to gauge the expectations and experiences of borrowers while looking for a loan or managing their wealth. Titled “Expectations and Experiences: Borrowing and Wealth Management,” the study found that if it speeds up the process, borrowers were willing to use digital technology. It found that 69 percent of the borrowers surveyed said that they would use mobile to verify identity with security questions, followed by 56 percent who would use it to e-sign loan documents.The study was conducted for Fiserv by Harris Poll among 3,095 adults aged 18 years and older who either had a checking account with a bank, credit union, brokerage firm, or other financial organization and had used that account to make a purchase in the past one month.The path towards comfort with digital lending was again led by millennial borrowers with 48 percent millennials saying that they would be comfortable using their smartphones to research loan options compared to 19 percent of their older peers. The study also found that 46 percent of the consumers surveyed said that they had accessed their loan or lease statements online, while 42 percent said they had scheduled payments through digital platforms.When it came to barriers, the study found that while most consumers were very comfortable with online loan processes, they were concerned about doing these processes on a smartphone. On the key barriers to using a smartphone for loan applications and processing, half the people surveyed said that the screen size of a smartphone was a concern, followed by data privacy concerns cited by 47 percent of the respondents. Around 38 percent of the respondents said that they preferred a personal touch for questions and 33 percent were concerned the data would be used without permission.When it came to lenders, the study found that interest rates and fees continued to be important considerations in a consumer’s choice of a lender, with 57 percent consumers with a loan saying that they were important factors. In fact, prior experience with a lender also played a key role in how borrowers interacted with their lenders, with 74 percent saying that this had a moderate influence on their interaction. in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination Borrowers Get Comfortable with Digital Lending Sharecenter_img Borrowers Fiserv Lenders Loan processing loans Online Application Smartphones 2018-03-06 Radhika Ojha March 6, 2018 862 Views last_img read more

Fannie Mae Profit Margin Outlook Turned Positive

first_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Fannie Mae: Profit Margin Outlook Turned Positive Share Fannie Mae reported that the net profit margin outlook for mortgage lenders was positive for the first time in almost three years, primarily due to strong demand expectations for both purchases and refinances mortgages, according to the Q2 2019 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey. “Lenders are signaling strong demand-driven mortgage market dynamics, with optimism for both their consumer demand and profitability outlooks reaching multi-year highs,” said Doug Duncan, SVP and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae. “Lender sentiment regarding both recent and expected purchase mortgage demand growth across all loan types was the most upbeat in at least three years.”Of the lenders surveyed, consumer demand (64%) and operational efficiency and technology (32%) were the two main reasons for an increased positive outlook on the market.According to the report, 29% of lenders surveyed were positive on the markets’ outlook, which is a large increase from the 8% who had a negative outlook in Q1 2019.This is the first positive survey result since Q3 2016, and the second most positive reading in the survey’s six-year history. The last time the survey showed a positive result was Q2 and Q3 of 2016, when the readings were 12% and 11%, respectively.Lenders who had a negative outlook had gone as high as 34% in Q4 2018.Purchase mortgage demands increased across the board over the past three months, and are expected to do so over the next three months. GSE eligible mortgage demands reported a net increase of 39%, non-GSE eligible mortgages demands grew 48% and government mortgage demands increased 31% during Q1 2019.Those looking into refinancing due to low mortgage rates also saw big increases in Q1 2019. GSE eligible refinance demand grew 24%, non-GSE eligible refinance demand increased 13%, and Government refinance demand saw a 15% increase.According to a report by CNBC, the volume of mortgage applications rose 1.5% earlier this month, mostly due to those looking to refinance. The average interest rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages was 4.23% earlier this month.  Black Knight report found declining mortgages have resulted in 5.9 million refinance candidates in April. center_img Fannie Mae Mortgage Lenders sentiment survey 2019-06-12 Mike Albanese June 12, 2019 367 Views last_img read more

Acapulco once a playground for AList celebs has

first_imgAcapulco, once a playground for A-List celebs, has earned the title of Mexico’s most violent city for the fifth consecutive year (in 2016), yet the city’s Mayor, Evodio Velázquez, is talking up tourism, claiming 2015 also saw hotel occupancy at over 90% and that he’s confident 2016 will yield similar results.An article by Nathaniel Parish Flannery in The Guardian reports a press conference with the following exchange between Velázquez and a reporter:“My government is working to stop crime. I’ll keep working. Acapulco is a city with complications – it has to be accepted. But today we’re at over 90% hotel occupancy. People love Acapulco.”A reporter yells out: “Has the protective barrier around the tourism zone failed?”“I think we have to reinforce it,” Velázquez says. “We have to review and strengthen it.”“Will there be an effect from the Playa Angosta incident?”“The port is still an option for tourists,” the mayor replies. “We won’t take a step backwards. We’ll keep going.”Despite the Mayor’s confidence, Flannery finds a different story when he asks the manager of the Mirador hotel, Melchor Gonzalez, how many US tourists are currently staying at the hotel.“Right now, today, let me see … I don’t think I have one,” says Gonzalez. “Today Acapulco is mostly national [Mexican] tourism. Foreign tourism still isn’t recovering.”Read the full article here.Image: During 2016 almost 500 people have been killed in Acapulco. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images mexicotourismlast_img read more

The annual Whitsundays East Coast Roadshow in Apri

first_imgThe annual Whitsundays East Coast Roadshow in April is the chance for the region’s tourism operators to put their products in front of retail travel agents in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne from 19-21 April, with a record 21 tourism operators attending the event this year. Agents will be trained on Whitsundays product and educated about the region in general.Attending agents will be in the running for prizes including flights, accommodation and tours, donated by Tourism Whitsundays and Whitsunday operators.“We are seeing the best numbers to date for the roadshow, with double what we have ever had before in terms of the amount of operators attending,” said Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner.“This is an endorsement not only of the strength of our tourism industry but also of the collaborative approach that Tourism Whitsundays and operators have in promoting the best destination in the world.“We are really looking forward to heading to the capital cities with the operators and showing travel agents how much the region has to offer holidaymakers,” said Turner.The Whitsundays East Coast Roadshow follows a fantastic year for the Whitsundays, which saw domestic visitors to the region increase by an impressive 25.5 per cent in the year ending 30 September 2016.Brisbane: Capri by Fraser, 80 Albert St Brisbane, 5.30-8.30pm, 19 April Click to RSVPMelbourne: Vibe Savoy, 630 Little Collins St Melbourne, 5.30-8.30pm, 20 April Click to RSVPSydney: Radisson Blu, 27 O’Connell St Sydney, 5.30-8.30pm, 21 April Click to RSVP roadshowsTourism Whitsundayslast_img read more

From 1 July 2018 all new bookings from Asia Escape

first_imgFrom 1 July 2018 all new bookings from Asia Escape Holidays are eligible for TRIP DOLLAR$, paid on departure, making it easier than ever to achieve Jetsetter and Highflyer tiers!Since launching the TRIP DOLLAR$ program for the Qantas Holidays, Viva! Holidays, Ready Rooms, Rail Tickets and the Cruise Team brands, the program has been gradually increasing in size, with the addition of Insider Journeys, Sunlover Holidays and Territory Discoveries and, most recently, Seven Oceans Cruising, and now Asia Escape Holidays!Another slight amendment will be made to the TRIP DOLLAR$ Tiers (effective for departed bookings from 1 July 2018). These changes reflect the addition of five brands into the program over time. The revised tier structure can be viewed here.National Sales Manager at Qantas Holidays and Associated Brands, Steve Brady acknowledged the importance of the TRIP DOLLAR$ Program.“We know how important it is for agents to be rewarded when booking our brands. It’s also very important that the rewards reflect the value of the types of bookings being made. While we’re making changes to the tiers, rest assured this does not affect any current TRIP DOLLAR$ balance, current tiers or the earnings made on departed booking up until 30 June 2018.” Brady said.ReadyRooms for Agents is also receiving some slight changes and will be split onto its own earning rates.“We also understand how important it is for all agents to have a very competitive online hotel booking tool that offers outstanding rates while also absorbing credit card fees. Splitting ReadyRooms for Agents from the broader TRIP DOLLAR$ tiers helps us deliver this platform with a highly competitive price point.” added Brady. agentsincentivesrewardsTRIP DOLLAR$last_img read more


first_imgSydneyViking The Sydney Viking team spent the weekend moving across the bridge from North Sydney into a new, purpose-built office in Surry Hills. Viking is now located at:Suite 60166 Wentworth AvenueSurry Hills, 2010AUSTRALIA All phone numbers remain the same and the Call Centre opens from 9am (AEST) until 6pm (AEST) as usual from today.last_img