WTTC suggests government focus on travel and tourism

first_imgThe WTTC is spearheading strategic priorities to support sustainable economic development within Australia’s travel and tourism industry. Underlying trend that travel and tourism in Australia is beginning to slow “Mexico held the G20 chair last year and President Calderón took our research on visas all the way to the meeting of the heads of state, where our industry was discussed for the very first time as a growth engine for the global economy and stimulator for jobs. “Policies for growth, the freedom to travel and tourism for tomorrow are three key areas in which Australia’s government and tourism industry must work together in order to move forward,” Mr Scowsill said. Australia is ranked 167th out of 184 countries in regards to long term growth in travel and tourism economic contributions; one of the lowest growth rates among the G20 countries. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has suggested Australia’s future government must place travel and tourism front and centre when hosting and overseeing the 2014 G20 summit. “There is an underlying trend that travel and tourism growth in this region is perhaps beginning to slow, probably through a lack of investment and certainly through a lack of government focus,” Mr Scowsill said. Addressing delegates at the Centre for Aviation (CAPA) Australia Pacific Aviation Summit 2013 in Sydney, WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill suggested priority be placed on developing Australia’s travel and tourism industry. “Now think about next year; I would urge the new Australian government, whoever it is, to hold a meeting of the tourism ministers – a T20 meeting – as a formal part of the G20 process, in order to demonstrate a commitment to this under-developed industry.” “It doesn’t seem to make sense to me, when this country has so much to offer international visitors,” Mr Scowsill said. Mr Scowsill emphasised that “there is no other industry bound up in so much historical and governmental red tape,” when speaking about Australian aviation. Source = ETB News: P.T. Australia’s travel and tourism industry generates approximately 10 percent of the country’s total GDP each year, while supporting 12 percent of all jobs in Australia.last_img read more

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Sold out Alcoholfree Schoolies trip

first_img“Alcohol-free is here to stay and, if 2013 is anything to go by, we will again experience triple-digit growth in 2014,” Mr Lynas said. The provider of overseas school-leaver experiences, Unleashed Travel built its first alcohol-free holiday package based on demands from both students and parents and is, this year, making Hideaway Island in Vanuatu, Schoolies Only – but with a difference. Source = ETB News: M.H. According to Unleashed Travel chief executive Jot Lynas, the package’s success is indicative of the evolution of today’s youth. Chosen for its separation from the Mainland, Hideaway Island allows Unleashed Travel supervisors and security to keep an eye on the comings and goings of everyone who arrives by boat.center_img Last year, Unleashed Travel sold the same package minus the alcohol-ban, but only sold less than half of the bookings received this year. “We’ve already had maximum bookings and many more enquiries for our alcohol-free packages, even though we’re one year out of next year’s celebrations.” The idea of an alcohol-free Schoolies seems an oxymoron, but for Unleashed Travel, the concept has proven successful.last_img read more

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Australasian airlines awarded accolades

first_imgBest Low-Cost Airline: jetBlue (Americas), flydubai (Middle East and Africa), Jetstar (Asia Pacific) and Norwegian (Europe). “We found that there is absolutely no doubt that it is world’s best [domestic economy class offering] – and by a wide margin,” AirlineRatings.com editor Geoffrey Thomas said. “Importantly the Qantas lounges have robust broadband internet access that can handle demand – something lacking in many other airline’s lounges.” Regional Airline of the Year: Silk Air (Singapore) Aviation industry website AirlineRatings.com revealed the highest-achievers across a range of different categories, bestowing the esteemed ‘Airline of the Year’ award to Air New Zealand. While Jetstar was heralded best low-cost airline in Asia Pacific, jetBlue took out the Americas title, flydubai won in the Middle East and Africa, while Norwegian bested the competition in Europe. “These airlines may not always offer the lowest fare but what they almost always do is deliver by far the best value.” Source = ETB News: P.T. Qantas, Jetstar and rival Air New Zealand have been recognised as world leaders in aviation, all receiving acknowledgement and a variety of accolades at the 2014 Airline Excellence Awards. Best Business Class: Cathay Pacific 2014 Airline Excellence Awardscenter_img Best Long-Haul Airline: Air Canada (Americas), Emirates (Middle East and Africa), Singapore Airlines (Asia) and Swiss (Europe).  Qantas Airways was awarded ‘Best Economy’ and ‘Best Lounges’, while budget subsidiary Jetstar took home the title of ‘Best Low-Cost Airline Asia Pacific’. Best Premium Economy: Air New Zealand Best Economy: Qantas Airways See below for the full list of award recipients. Best In-Flight Entertainment: Emirates Best Lounges: Qantas Airways Best First Class: Emirates Airline of the Year: Air New Zealandlast_img read more

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Small Luxury Hotels of the Worlds opulent evening

first_imgSource = ETB News: Tom Neale The night profiled some of the group’s most popular hotels like the Kims Beach Hideaway on NSW’s Central Coast and Bloomfield Lodge in Cairns. Some guests were also lucky enough to win three nights at SLH’s hotels.   Mr Kerr also highlighted the benefits of joining the SLH’s Member Club including discounted room rates, early check-ins and free upgrading.center_img The Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) hosted an intimate cocktail event at the Ivy Penthouse last night, in order to showcase the group’s hotels before their 25th anniversary in 2015. The chief executive officer of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Paul Kerr, said that the group was expanding into the Asia-Pacific region, including a new hotel in Hawaii and in big cities in China.last_img

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ITB Asia to deliver exclusive Halal in Travel insights

first_imgITB Asia, “Asia’s Leading Travel Trade Show”, has established a partnership with CrescentRating, the world’s leading authority on halal travel. As part of the trade show’s first foray into Muslim travel, CrescentRating will host the “Halal In Travel – Asia Summit 2016” conference and various workshops, sharing invaluable insights on how delegates can strengthen their position in a sector that is currently worth billions of dollars.Organised by Messe Berlin, the ninth edition of ITB Asia will take place from 19 – 21 October 2016 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands.According to findings from MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2016, the global Muslim travel market was worth USD150 billion in 2015 and is projected to grow to USD220 billion by 2020.As part of ITB Asia, this inaugural event held on 19 October 2016 will bring together experts from National Tourism Organisations (NTO), travel industry stakeholders and online travel industry players to share insights and ideas on how to leverage this growth market to attract more travellers.Panel discussions will focus on national strategies to develop Halal tourism, the readiness of travel services and discuss the use of technology to target Muslim consumers.The dedicated workshops will share first-hand experience on developing Muslim-friendly travel packages as well as Halal fine dining options at hotels and restaurants. The event will also see the release of an exclusive market intelligence report by MasterCard and CrescentRating.“With the rapid growth of the Muslim travel sector, our partnership with CrescentRating is an integral addition to this year’s show. Delegates attending ITB Asia from all over the world can look forward to gaining deeper insights from the leading industry experts to help identify new business opportunities, helping to keep them at the forefront of key travel trends,” said Katrina Leung, Executive Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organiser of ITB Asia.Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating and HalalTrip, said: “We are delighted to partner with ITB Asia to deliver this inaugural Halal in Travel event. With the in-depth experience CrescentRating has gained over the last seven years, we look forward to delivering a best of class knowledge forum on Halal travel.“It will be an ideal platform for exchanging experiences between experts in the industry and destinations. We are confident that this will be a ground-breaking event which will shape the future of this sector.”Last year, ITB Asia attracted close to 760 exhibitors from 73 countries, as well as 880 buyers and more than 10,300 attendees over three days.ITB Asia has recently announced its first-ever MICE day, establishing partnerships with industry leaders including Society of Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS) and Incentive Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific (ICESAP) on the second day of the show.For more information on “Halal In Travel – Asia Summit 2016”, visit www.crescentrating.com. ITB Asia 2016Source = ITB Asia 2016last_img read more

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Readers choose Silversea as the Best Luxury Cruise Line for 2016

first_imgReaders choose Silversea as the ‘Best Luxury Cruise Line’ for 2016Readers choose Silversea as the ‘Best Luxury Cruise Line’ for 2016Silversea Cruises, the world’s leading luxury cruise line, has again been awarded the ‘Best Luxury Cruise Line’ by Cruise Passenger Magazine at the 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards.Amber Wilson, Silversea’s Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, says:“We are extremely honoured to again be named Best Luxury Cruise Line at this years’ annual Reader’s Choice Awards.  It is an absolute privilege to have the opportunity to help create incredible travel memories for all our guests, enabling them to sail to all seven continents and explore breathtaking destinations, all in the space, elegance and comfort Silversea is known for.”“I would like to express my appreciation to our guests and key travel partners who voted for us.  2017 is set to be another amazing year, with the new flagship, Silver Muse, set to launch in April 2017, as well as the conversion of Silver Cloud into the expedition fleet.  We look forward to adding to our incredible fleet and continuing to push boundaries and provide our guests with extraordinary voyages, unparalleled experiences and ultra-luxurious services.”For more information, contact Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand)About SilverseaSilversea Cruises, chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, is recognised as an innovator in the luxury cruise line industry. Silversea Expeditions offers guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, allsuite vessels: Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos, Silver Discoverer and Silver Cloud – all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance while exploring the most remote regions in the world. Silversea Cruises in addition to Silversea Expedition cruises encompass all seven continents and feature worldwide luxury cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, both Polar Regions and over 1,000 fascinating destinations in between.In Asia Pacific, Silversea has been voted “Best Luxury Small Ship Cruise Line” by Australia’s Luxury Travel & Style Magazine every consecutive year from 2006 to 2012 and Silver Whisper or Silver Shadow have also won the Gold Award as Best Small Cruise Ship in each of those years.  SilverseaSource = Silversea Cruiseslast_img read more

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Sales open for MSC Virtuosa

first_imgMSC CruisesSales open for MSC Virtuosa, the highly anticipated fourth Meraviglia generation shipMSC Cruises – the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and the Arabian Peninsula has announced the opening of sales for MSC Virtuosa, spending her inaugural season in the Western Mediterranean from 8th November 2020. Sales are initially open exclusively for MSC Voyagers Club members, as one of the many benefits of the programme that rewards loyal MSC Cruises guests. For all other guests, sales will open on December 3rd.MSC Virtuosa will be the fourth ship in the Meraviglia generation and the second Meraviglia-plus ship with additional cabins and even more public space, MSC Meraviglia has come into service in June 2017. MSC Virtuosa has been named to pay homage to the skill and expertise of our architects and shipyard partners at Les Chantiers de l’Atlantique who designed and built this innovative class of ships, which delivers “excellence” in both hardware and software when it comes to the guest experience.This ground-breaking class of ships has been designed to be rich in onboard features and MSC Virtuosa will be no exception, offering MSC Cruises guests a wide range of entertainment, dining, relaxation, shopping and other features as well as the MSC Yacht Club “ship within a ship” concept for those seeking exclusivity and luxury within a world of choice. MSC Virtuosa will offer guests a singular holiday experience with highlights such as:Two brand new Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows, created exclusively for MSC Cruises’ guests by the world leader in live entertainment, Cirque du Soleil. With performances six nights per week in the purpose-built Carousel Lounge, guests will be able to enjoy a unique experience that cannot be had anywhere else at sea, available exclusively on board MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia generation ships.The very latest in technology designed to enrich the guest cruise experience as part of the much-acclaimed digital innovation programme, MSC for Me. Every cabin will be fitted with custom-built voice-enabled Artificial Intelligence technology in every cabin. Zoe, MSC Cruises’ new digital cruise assistant – an industry first – is a bespoke device designed by HARMAN International, the experts in the field of voice-enabled technology. She will speak 7 languages and will be on-hand to offer guests a simple and stress-free way to find out information about everything the ships has to offer in the comfort of the cabin.An unprecedented choice of both fine dining and more casual options serving fresh, authentic food to meet the tastes of all guests, across multiple venues plus a huge range of bars for every occasion.The Promenade will be extended with a larger shopping area and will feature a new restaurant concept exclusively for MSC Aurea experience guests. In addition, a new bar and lounge, L’Atelier Bistrot will offer lounge seating with a stage and a dance floor in the heart of the Promenade.A wide array of family facilities and entertainment make this ship ideal for family holidays, thanks to programmes and facilities designed in partnership with leading family experts including LEGO® and Chicco.Six ports in seven nights in the Western Mediterranean: MSC Virtuosa will call at the iconic ports of Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona as well as other highly sought after destinations.MSC Virtuosa will be fitted with state-of-the-art environmental technology to reduce her environmental footprint including: an exhaust gas cleaning system for cleaner emissions; an advanced wastewater treatment system; smart heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) to recover heat from machinery spaces; and LED lighting and smart devices to significantly save energy. This is all part of MSC Cruises commitment to provide guests with the best holiday experiences at sea in a sustainable way.When booking MSC Virtuosa over the initial two-week opening of sales period exclusive to them, MSC Voyagers Club members will receive a special 5% discount in addition to their 5% loyalty discount as well as benefitting from being able to have the first selection of cabins. Other guests will also enjoy a 5% early booking discount until June 3rd 2019.MSC Virtuosa will commence her maiden voyage from Genoa, Italy on November 8th 2020.Key Stats: 181,000 gross tonnage, 331 metres in length, 2,421 cabins with a maximum capacity of 6,334 guests. Link to image hereFor more information and bookings visit www.msccruises.com.auAbout MSC CruisesMSC Cruises is the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company and the number one cruise line in Europe and South America, South Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. A game-changer in the world of cruises, the Company has achieved 800% growth in its first ten years, building a global reputation in the industry and one of the youngest cruise fleets at sea. MSC Cruises is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.The MSC Cruises fleet comprises 17 highly innovative and elegantly designed ships, offering an unparalleled holiday experience with authentic food, award-winning entertainment, plenty of relaxation, comfortable accommodation, as well as impeccable service and expertise.Under its ambitious industry-unprecedented €10.5 billion investment plan, the fleet is set to expand to 24 mega-cruise ships by 2026. To date, MSC Cruises has designed six new ship classes, all prototypes that push the boundaries of marine architecture and design.MSC Cruises feels a deep responsibility towards the physical and human environments in which it operates. The Company operates with the greatest respect for the world’s oceans and is on an ongoing journey to further develop innovative ways of lowering the environmental impact of its cruise passages.MSC Cruises’ holiday experiences are sold across the globe through a distribution network in 67 countries. The Company employs over 17,000 people worldwide, both ashore and on board its ships. MSC Cruises is part of MSC Group which is comprised of leading transport and logistics companies. Source = MSC Cruiseslast_img read more

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Food startup Hello Curry tiesup with IRCTC

first_imgHello Curry, a food start-up, announced its association with online ticketing system for railways IRCTC, to supply rail passengers with “wholesome healthy meal options” during their journey by placing orders on IRCTC website www.ecatering.irctc.co.in.“With Hello Curry selling Biryanis and parathas with our array of curry pots in our award-winning packaging, passengers now have access to complete Indian meals on the train”, Hello Curry Founder & CEO Raju Bhupati said.The menu of Hello Curry would be available for all the passengers boarding different trains at Secunderabad station. The home delivery brand also informed that plans are afoot to offer the Hello Curry menu for passengers from Delhi, Bengaluru, Vizag and Pune “very soon”.last_img

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Mortgage Returns Enhances Offerings to Maximize User ROI

first_img December 6, 2013 448 Views Share Mortgage Returns Enhances Offerings to Maximize User ROI in Technologycenter_img In St. Louis, “”Mortgage Returns””:http://web.mortgagereturns.com/ unveiled a number of enhancements to its services, furthering the company’s efforts to help originators maximize their return on investment (ROI) by marketing more effectively to customers, prospects, and referral partners.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]The enhancements include the ability to automatically upload new consumers and prospects from loan origination software directly into Mortgage Returns’ technology, the ability to order direct mail straight from Mortgage Returns’ Storefront marketing solution, and functionality to create company, branch, and loan officer websites, among other features.Those features are in addition to Mortgage Returns’ Business Analysis Report, which provides originators with detailed data on production statistics, marketing ROI, customer retention, and loan officer performance, all of which can be used to increase the impact of marketing efforts.””The new enhancements enable lenders to improve the effectiveness of their marketing programs and increase marketing ROI by capitalizing on their relationships with customers, prospects and referral partners,”” said Mortgage Returns CEO Jim Blatt. “”Our ‘re-imagined’ approach to marketing services has resulted in a TRUE CRM [customer relationship management], and the enhancements will help to support that vision.”” Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2013-12-06 Tory Barringerlast_img read more

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Ocwen to Sell 45 Billion Worth of Agency Performing Loans

first_imgOcwen to Sell $45 Billion Worth of Agency Performing Loans in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Servicing Ocwen Financial has signed a letter of intent to sell the mortgage servicing rights for $45 billion worth of agency performing loans, according to an announcement on Ocwen’s website late Monday night.The portfolio consists of about 277,000 performing loans owned by Fannie Mae. The approximate unpaid balance of the loans is approximately $45 billion. According to the announcement, Ocwen expects the deal to close by the middle of the year. The transaction is subject to approval from Fannie Mae as well as the Enterprise’s conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and other customary conditions. Ocwen expects the loan servicing to transfer over the second half of 2015.Monday’s announcement came less than a week after Ocwen announced it was selling an MSR portfolio worth $9.8 billion in performing Agency loans to Dallas-based Nationstar. That portfolio contained approximately 81,000 performing residential mortgage loans owned by Freddie Mac.These two transactions together represent approximately $55 billion in unpaid principal balance for which Ocwen has agreed in the last week to sell the mortgage servicing rights. Both of the transactions are expected to be completed in the next six months. According to Ocwen’s announcement, the Atlanta-based servicer expects the two transactions will generate approximately $550 million in proceeds and “accelerate Ocwen’s strategy to reduce the size of its Agency servicing portfolio.”Ocwen did not name the buyer in the $45 billion transaction announced Monday, though Ocwen President and CEO Ron Faris did say last week that the Atlanta-based servicer was looking forward to “exploring additional MSR transactions with Nationstar.”Also announced on Monday, Ocwen entered into an amendment to its $1.3 billion Senior Secured Term Loan to remove certain restrictions on asset sales and permanently increase a financial covenant. To repay cash received from asset sales, Ocwen has agreed to an accelerated repayment schedule.”We are pleased with the actions of our term loan investors. They have been supportive of Ocwen and recognize the importance and benefit of executing on our strategy,” Faris said. “Additionally, their willingness to enter into an amendment with Ocwen is an affirmation that the Company is, and always has been, in compliance with all of its SSTL covenants.”Ocwen’s regulatory troubles over the last year have been well-documented. The Atlanta-based non-bank mortgage servicer agreed to a $150 settlement with the New York Department of Financial Services in December 2014. That settlement included the departure of chairman Bill Erbey, who founded the company more than 30 years ago. Fannie Mae FHFA Ocwen Financial 2015-03-03 Seth Welborncenter_img Share March 3, 2015 472 Views last_img read more

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Auction Companies Agents Learn to Collaborate for Success

first_img Share 12th Annual Five Star Conference and Expo Auction Companies Real Estate Agents 2015-09-19 Staff Writer Auction Companies & Agents Learn to Collaborate for Success What was once an extremely acrimonious relationship is getting better all the time. According to a panel of experts at the REO lab at the 2015 Five Star Conference and Expo Friday, real estate agents and real estate auction companies are learning that a harmonious collaboration is the best solution for all parties involved.The lab co-directors were Brandon Kirkham, SVP of Business Expansion with VRM Mortgage Services, and Jinja Martin, Business Controls and Reporting & Analytics Executive with Bank of America. A panel moderated by SVP at Bank of America Renee Johnson and featuring Auction.com EVP Rick Sharga, Altisource Chief Revenue Officer John Vella, Genesis Capital President Rayman Mathoda, and EVP of Default Services with Williams & Williams Real Estate Auctions Elsa Lewis discussed such topics as the agents’ involvement in auctions and whether there is a need for an agent in the process.”Agents and auction companies have a common interest, which is to get the best results for their clients,” Sharga said. “What we have found in both the commercial and residential space is we get the best results for buyers and sellers when we can combine the global marketing power and the efficient online transaction capability of an auction company with the local market expertise of a real estate professional. It’s a win-win if everybody cooperates and they’re out to get the same objective.”That is a huge “if,” however, because the agents do not always have the same goal in mind as the auction companies and some agents are still not willing to collaborate. In many cases, Sharga said when the auction companies first entered the real estate space, they were “forced” on the agents in many cases, which caused resistance because sellers were reducing the amount of commission the agents were paid.”Our best results are almost invariably when an agent cooperates with us and we work together,” he said. “Our worst results are when the agent tries to deliberately sabotage the process to try to make the auction company look ineffective. Forward-thinking agents will embrace technology and partner with companies like ours to grow their business. Sadly, there are some agents who will cling to old, outmoded business models, and may go the way of the dinosaur—munching contentedly on their ferns when the meteor hits.””I think when you can start giving specific examples of how you’re already doing it and how it’s successful for the seller, the buyer, and the agent involved, it starts to prove the point.”In a market where all distressed volume, including REO, is currently at a fraction of what it was five years ago at the height of the crisis, the shift toward online auctions has taken place.”In real estate, everyone sees REO as a declining market. Defaults are down, delinquencies are down, foreclosure starts are down, foreclosure inventory is down, but there is still a real estate market that needs to be managed,” said panelist John Vella from Altisource. “We’re seeing now where more of the buyer and seller activity is taking place online. The auctions have been very successful. The ballroom auctions have given way to the online auctions and servicers and investors have gravitated toward that model because you’re getting maximum eyeballs on the product and getting multiple buyers negotiating and bidding on properties, which ultimately is best for the investor as far as driving the price up. We’re also finding ways to work with real estate agents through this process, because real estate agents are still part of the process. We want the real estate community to engage and work as part of the process.”According to panelist Elsa Lewis, who is both an agent and an executive with an auction company (Williams &Williams), the local expertise the agents provide is invaluable to the process.”The important part to remember is that the agents are the local experts and we are the auction experts,” she said. “By combining their knowledge of the property and our expertise in auction, we provide the seller the best opportunity to achieve the highest results possible. The agents bring the ‘rest of the story’, as Paul Harvey used to say. If you don’t get that, the result is only a flat number on a screen. We market to the individual property, not just a platform, and bring life to the property. The agent helps us do that. “Lewis talked about their standing partnerships with real estate broker networks such as Long & Foster and JLL, both of which are very successful for the individual agents in helping get properties sold through auction and bringing successful sales results to their sellers in 30 days. “We are looking for good partnerships with real estate brokers nationwide,” Lewis added.Sharga said he believes that the auction companies participating in the Five Star Conference presented the message that agents needed to hear, which was that the auction companies are actively looking to partner with them.”I think when you can start giving specific examples of how you’re already doing it and how it’s successful for the seller, the buyer, and the agent involved, it starts to prove the point,” Sharga said. “There is still a lot of skepticism. I think a lot of agents are looking for ways to keep their business viable as the market for distressed assets compresses, and for us to be going outreach and saying, ‘Hey, work with us and we’ll grow this together’ is probably the tonic that they’re looking for.”center_img in Daily Dose, News, REO, Secondary Market, Technology September 19, 2015 484 Views last_img read more

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Home Sales Increase as Buyers Avoid Rising Rents

first_img 2017-03-09 Mirasha Brown Home Sales Increase as Buyers Avoid Rising Rents March 9, 2017 659 Views in Headlines, News, Originationcenter_img Share As rents in some areas continue to rise, people are beginning to realize that home ownership might be a better choice. Three Florida economists say this truly is a good time to buy a home in most U.S. cities. Research on this issue was performed by Ken Johnson, Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University; William G. Hardin III, Ph.D., Florida International University; and Eli Beracha, Ph.D., Florida International University. Together, these economists author The Beracha, Hardin & Johnson (BH&J) Buy vs. Rent Index. “This is great news for home ownership and the financial returns to ownership,” said Johnson, a real estate economist who is an associate dean of graduate programs and professor in FAU’s College of Business. “We are not where we were in 2012, when nearly any purchase was a sound financial decision. However, overall, we are now in a situation where aggressive marketing from sellers combined with due diligence and sound negotiation from buyers is creating a housing market that’s more in line with what we’ve seen historically.”The latest BH&J Index comes on the heels of the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which found that home prices rose 5.8 percent year over year, the highest annual increase since June 2014.The BH&J Index is designed to signal whether current market conditions favor buying or renting a home in terms of wealth creation over a fixed holding period in a particular market relative to historical market conditions and alternative investment opportunities. The index summarizes 23 major metropolitan housing markets and the U.S. real estate market as a whole (represented by the member index metropolitan areas). In order to arrive at the index value for each location and each point in time, the index conducts a “horse race” comparison between an individual that is buying a home and an individual that rents a similar quality home and reinvests all monies otherwise invested in home ownership. The end results of each comparison are calibrated to yield a value between -1 and 1. The comparison between buying and renting considers many factors including, but not limited to, rent-to-price ratio, mortgage rates, expected rate of inflation, real past stock market long term returns, long term rent growth and housing price appreciation, costs associated with maintenance and property taxes, homeownership tax benefits, transaction costs and average homeowners’ duration between relocations.The major goal of the BH&J Index is to provide information on the health of housing markets around the country enabling consumers, real estate market professionals, developers, lenders and housing policy makers to make more informed decisions.Both indexes incorporate property appreciation from housing markets around the country, but unlike Case-Shiller, the BH&J Index adds additional rental, maintenance and alternative investment data streams, among others, to indicate when and why housing markets might be changing direction.These latest numbers show that 15 of the 23 cities in the index are solidly in buy territory, while another five are only marginally in rent territory. Only three cities—Dallas, Denver, and Houston—present scores that are worrisome in terms of local housing market conditions. “The scores for Dallas, Denver, and Houston have worried us for some time now,” said Beracha, co-author of the index and assistant professor in the T&S Hollo School of Real Estate at FIU. “The last time we saw scores of this magnitude, housing market crashes soon followed.”last_img read more

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Interest Rate Uncertainty Spurs Stock Market Drops

first_img Share The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 1,200 points on Monday, after having dropped 1,500 points earlier in the day. This came on the heels of a 666-point drop in the Dow last Friday. With the Standard & Poor’s index down in four out of the last five sessions and Nasdaq won the last six out of eight, what’s causing this level of investor skittishness, and what does it mean for the housing industry?The Washington Post throws the stock turmoil into stark relief, pointing out that the Dow “has swung more than 2,100 points in the last two sessions, a decline pushing more than 8 percent and shattering long-term momentum.” The Post cites changes at the Fed as one likely contributing factor, with new Fed Chair Jerome Powell having just taken over from the departing Janet Yellen. While Powell, who was officially sworn in on Monday, is widely expected to continue many of the cautious policy approaches championed by Yellen during her time in the role, a new Fed Chair can nevertheless contribute a level of uncertainty into the economic landscape.The Post cites investor concerns that Powell and the Fed will accelerate interest rate hikes, which could slow the economy. The Fed increased their benchmark interest rates to a range of 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent in December, but left them unchanged at last week’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. Analysts expect another rate hike to come in March, following the first FOMC meeting under Powell, with several more rate hikes being widely predicted throughout 2018. Further interest rate hikes would drive up mortgage rates, which, when combined with widespread affordability and inventory issues throughout many parts of the country, could make the difference between many potential homebuyers choosing to purchase a home or stick with the rental market.In a video posted to the Fed’s website Monday, Powell said, “Today, unemployment is low, the economy is growing, and inflation is low. Through our decisions on monetary policy, we will support continued economic growth, a healthy job market and price stability.” Powell also stated his belief that the financial system is now stronger and more resilient than in the days of the housing crisis. “We intend to keep it that way,” Powell added. “My colleagues and I will remain vigilant, and we are prepared to respond to evolving risks.”During an appearance on CBS Sunday Morning, Yellen praised Powell, saying, “I’ve worked with Gov. Powell for five years, very constructively,” Yellen said. “He is thoughtful, balanced, dedicated to public service. I’ve found him to be a very thoughtful policymaker.”As one of Yellen’s final acts, the Fed announced on Friday that it would restrict Wells Fargo’s growth due to “widespread consumer abuses.” The Fed is limiting Wells Fargo from growing any larger than its total assets at the end of 2017 until such time as “sufficient improvements” have been made. In response, Wells Fargo announced that it would be replacing four directors by the end of the year. Shares of Wells Fargo stock fell 9.2 percent on Monday, as of this writing.During an appearance on CNBC’s Power Lunch, veteran banking analyst Dick Bove downplayed the impact of the Fed’s actions, saying, “There will be no reduction in the ability of this company to lend money, take in deposits, or operate the way they have historically.”Investors are likely also watching the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds. As the Post explains, “Bond yields are rising as the Federal Reserve trims its U.S. bond holdings. The U.S. Treasury is also having to borrow more money, partly because of the tax cuts, and issuing more debt tends to raise yields.”There are other potential landmines on the horizon as well. After a brief government shutdown followed by a stopgap agreement in late January, the government is once again poised to shut down unless the House and Senate can come to terms. Last week, the Congressional Budget Office announced that if the debt ceiling is not raised by mid-March, “the government would be unable to pay its obligations fully, and it would delay making payments for its activities, default on its debt obligations, or both.”David Kelly, Chief Global Strategist for JPMorgan Asset Management, told ABC News, “It’s like a kid at a child’s party who, after an afternoon of cake and ice cream, eats one more cookie and that puts them over the edge.”On Monday, Wells Fargo shares sank $5.91 to $58.16, a drop of 9.22 percent. Bank of America closed at $30.26, down 5.29 percent. JPMorgan Chase dropped 4.80 percent to close at $108.80. Interest Rate Uncertainty Spurs Stock Market Drops in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, journal, Market Studies, Newscenter_img Bank of America Federal Reserve Interest rates Janet Yellen Jerome Powell JPMorgan Chase Stock Market Wells Fargo 2018-02-05 David Wharton February 5, 2018 688 Views last_img read more

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Another Tough Home Buying Season on the Way

first_imgAnother Tough Home Buying Season on the Way? February 27, 2018 570 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Home prices continued their upward climb over the last 12 months, ending 2017 with a growth of 6.3 percent according to the December 2017 data on the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index that was released by S&P Global on Tuesday.“Home prices capped the year on a high, reflecting 2017’s favorable economic conditions which were characterized by strong consumer fundamentals such as job growth and low unemployment. Demand also grew with mortgage rates in December holding below 4 percent despite a mid-month interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve,” said Cheryl Young, Senior Economist at Trulia.However, these numbers could also herald another tough home-buying season as inventory remains scarce going into 2018. “The stage is set for another tough home buying season. Starter home buyers will again bear the brunt of frustration as affordability remains out of reach, exacerbated by mortgage rates marching upwards to usher in 2018,” Young said.According to the data, Western U.S. remained the hottest housing market, with Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Francisco reporting the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities covered under the index’s 20-City Composite. Though the overall 20-City Composite posted a 6.3 percent year-over-year gain, slightly down from 6.4 percent in the previous month, Seattle posted a 12.7 percent year-over-year increase in home prices—leading the market for home prices. Seattle was followed by Las Vegas which showed an 11.1 percent increase, and San Francisco with a 9.2 percent increase in home prices.“Seattle and Las Vegas had the fastest growing prices for the second month in a row and continued their double-digit growth in December. Prices are up throughout the country, but these two markets are seeing the growth that’s almost double the U.S. average,” said Joe Kirchner, Senior Economist at Realtor.com. “This year, we could see Las Vegas taking the top spot from Seattle in the 20-City composite.”center_img Expensive Home Prices HOUSING Housing Market Indices Inventory Mortgage Rates Prices S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Index S&P Global 2018-02-27 Radhika Ojha Sharelast_img read more

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Home Wasnt Built in a Day

first_img Building Permits Census Bureau Construction homes HOUSING Housing Starts National Association of Home Builders 2018-07-10 Alison Rich in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Share July 10, 2018 570 Views center_img For folks considering building a house from the ground up, they’ll have to sit tight a fair bit before moving in. And depending on the part of the country they call home, that wait could stretch into the double digits, all of this according to the National Association of Home Builders that cited data from the Census Bureau’s 2017 Survey of Construction (SOC).The average completion time of a single-family home hovers around 7.5 months, the newly released survey says. That figure typically includes nearly a month from authorization to start, plus another 6.5 months to complete the construction, it notes.That authorization-to-completion timeline fluctuates across the nation and hinges on geographic location, metropolitan status, and whether the property is erected for sale or if it’s custom-built. From obtaining a building permit to completing the project, it can take anywhere from under a month to 77 months to build a single-family home, according to the SOC.When considering all the single-family builds wrapped up last year, those constructed for sale took the least time: 6.9 months from scoring the permits to ending the job, the report says. By contrast, customized dwellings took the most time, at 12.3 months. Those created by hired contractors were in process for about nine months.A lion’s share of single-family homes built for sale and custom-made ones built on owners’ land launched construction within the same month after securing building authorizations, the SOC said. Custom residences built by owners who served as general contractors, however, had a one-month gap between getting permits and kicking off construction.The average time from authorization to completion in 2017 also differed across country divisions, according to the report. New England netted the longest time (10.4 months), trailed closely by the Middle Atlantic (10.3 months), East South Central (9.4 months), East North Central (8.2 months), and Pacific (8.5 months), the SOC found. Together, these five chalked up an average permit-to-completion time eclipsing the 7.5-month U.S. average. The South Atlantic division registered the shortest timeframe, at 6.4 months. What’s more, the average waiting period from permit to construction launch spanned from the shortest time of 17 days in the Mountain division to the longest of 39 days in the Pacific.Metro-area homes took an average 7.3 months to finish—a full two months shorter than their non-metropolitan-area counterparts. This same pattern played out all over the U.S. last year, save for the West North Central division. There, the average time to completion in metropolitan locations charted longer than in non-metro zones, the SOC survey said.Learn more about the Census Bureau’s monthly housing starts data:Are Rising Housing Starts Really Balancing Demand? Home Wasn’t Built in a Daylast_img read more

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Fannie Mae Consumers on the Fence on Housing

first_img Consumers Fannie Mae Home Home Prices Home Purchase Home Sales Home Sellers Homebuyers HOUSING 2019-03-07 Radhika Ojha Fannie Mae: Consumers on the Fence on Housing March 7, 2019 1,318 Views The net share of consumers who think that now is the right time to buy a home declined 7 percentage points in February compared to the same time last year, according to Fannie Mae’s latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI).The report indicated that home seller sentiment had also declined compared to last year, with the number of consumers saying that now was a good time to sell a home dropping 6 percentage points compared to last year, and 5 percentage points to 30 percent compared to January 2018.On a month-over-month basis, Fannie Mae noted that the HPSI remained virtually unchanged, decreasing by 0.4 points to 84.3 in February. The largest change among the HPSI components, the report noted, was a 9 percentage points drop in the net share of consumers who reported a substantially higher household income compared to the same period last year. However, this drop was offset by an 8 percentage points jump in job confidence.“The HPSI held steady in February, as consumers’ continuing optimism about economic conditions seems to be balanced with softening attitudes toward the housing market,” said Doug Duncan, SVP and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae.Duncan noted that home price growth expectations had trended significantly downward with the net share of consumers expecting home prices to rise, falling 19 percentage points “from its survey high established at the start of 2018.”“Job confidence reached a new survey high, but consumers were less optimistic about home buying and selling conditions than they were a year ago,” Duncan said. “While declining home price expectations may point to improving affordability, the share of consumers who think it’s a bad time to buy has grown over the last year, and high home prices remain the most frequently cited concern. It is plausible that consumers believe that price gains could decelerate further, making it worthwhile to wait rather than act now.”The report indicated that the net share of consumers who said that mortgage rates would go down over the next 12 months also rose slightly, increasing 1 percentage point to -52 percent. This component is up 5 percentage points from the same period last year, the report said.center_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Sharelast_img read more

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Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute ri

first_img Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation “Well Kevin [Kolb] missed some things which that happens with quarterbacks,” Whisenhunt said. “But he’s working through running our offense and getting comfortable with that.” Although the Cardinals can place the team’s struggles on the relative youth of the team, rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson knows what the Cardinals must do to start winning games. “At the end of the day a football game is four quarters,” Peterson said. “We have to give four quarters just like we play in the first three quarters relentless effort and play fast so we just got to finish our game.” Of the three losses this one is probably the toughest to swallow for the Cardinals. The team had a 27-17 lead with just over five minutes left in the game but two Eli Manning touchdown passes gave the Giants a 31-27 lead, the eventual final score. Even though the team is struggling, Whisenhunt and players believe they can still turn the season around. “I think the way our guys are working right now they believe that we have the right guys that if we do it the right way we’re going to be successful,” Whisenhunt said. “I think we’ve shown glimpses of that and I think they certainly believe that.” The Cardinals have had to learn a new defensive scheme, welcome in plenty of new players, as well as adjusting to quarterback Kevin Kolb’s playing style, so the team is still in transition. “It’s a growing process that we’re going through with this team,” Whisenhunt said. “We’re better than we were last week, we’ve got to stay the course and continue to work that way. We know it’s going to turn for us if we continue to work the way were doing.” Kolb, who was 20-34 for 237 yards and an interception, has now spent two months in the Cardinals offense, but Whisenhunt knows the QB is still learning. What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Comments   Share   Different week, same result. The Arizona Cardinals found themselves with yet another chance to take the lead on the final drive for the third straight week, and for the third straight week the team stumbled. The Cardinals could easily be 4-0 at this point, but are instead 1-3. “The bottom line is this, we’ve had a chance the last three weeks to win games and we didn’t get it done at the end,” head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “What we’re going to do is continue to work on improving and we’re going to win one of those and turn it and that’s our goal.” Top Stories last_img read more

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Top Stories

first_img Top Stories Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Wells rushed for 1,047 yards and 10 touchdowns last season — both career marks — but sputtered down the stretch, failing to top the 70-yard mark in each of his last four games. Wells didn’t play in the season finale. 0 Comments   Share   What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke It was long thought that Beanie Wells, once the season was over, would have surgery done on his ailing right knee. Well, the operation is done. RB Beanie Wells did indeed have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee today. The procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews in Florida.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) January 25, 2012 Wells should be ready to go for next year, though, and the hope is that he’ll combine with 2011 2nd-round pick Ryan Williams to form one of the better running back tandems in the NFL.last_img read more

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The 5 Takeaways from the Coyotes introduction of

first_img The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo He ran from a shotgun set most of the time at Oklahoma State and will have to learn how to run from a pro-style offense more consistently. As a runner, he is much better running to the outside of the offense right now. Because of his smaller frame; he can be taken down too easily at times.What makes me think Randle could be a guy that could be a fit in Arians’ offense is his ability to run the stretch play to the outside, either to the tackle or outside of the tackle/tight end — something the Colts did on over 55% of the rushing attempts they had in 2012.Randle is an escape artist when he gets outside, and shows a natural ability to make people miss and make big plays, something that I am not sure our first three prospects can do.He is excellent in pass protection, something he had to do a lot of in Oklahoma State’s offense, and understands how to take on defenders, takes good angles and knows how to cut down defenders when he can’t take them on head-up.Mike Gillislee, Florida – 5-11, 208 lbsGillislee was an underutilized part of a Florida offense that struggled at times in 2012 and I don’t blame him for that.Gillislee is a power runner with adequate vision, an exceptional burst to and through the hole and the ability to hit the home run when running inside or out. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling He consistently wins the one-on-one battle in the hole with excellent leverage, and shows a nice wiggle to make defenders miss.Concerns with Gillislee: his vision isn’t always the best, hence why I used the word adequate above, and will too often bounce outside instead of staying patient and following his blockers.Gillislee shows willingness in pass pro, but isn’t always effective. He can dive too often at ankles and miss, but that may be something that is correctable and the fact that he seems to like to block, it may just be a technique flaw that he needs to work on.While none of these backs are Doug Martin or Trent Richardson, there could be a number of effective, every down backs that can answer the bell week in and week out like Arians wants.I may not be on board with the Cardinals taking a running back on day two — I still think there are too many other needs and the value of players to fill those needs will be excellent, but I understand the philosophy of what the staff is looking for. I feel these are players that can meet those needs. He can catch out of the backfield if needed, but is better off being kept in as a blocker in the passing game. He does a great job of using a cut block to neutralize pass rushers, understands blocking schemes and how to pick up the blitzing defensive player and even more than that, he shows a willingness to stick his nose in and take on the blitzer.The questions surrounding Ball are simple: how many carries does he have left after racking up almost 900 in college, and can he become a special runner at the next level?Stepfan Taylor, Stanford – 5-9, 214 lbsTaylor is another one of the “complete backs” in this draft. He was on the field in every situation in his career at Stanford, and it shows up on film.He’s a tough, inside, patient runner that comes from a power-based scheme, and should be comfortable in the Arians running scheme.Taylor, like Ball, isn’t a great athlete, but he shows enough of a burst to get to the hole and through it. He has excellent vision, knows how to bounce a run when needed even if he lacks a consistent burst to get outside on planned outside runs.While Taylor is a deft receiver out of the backfield (he definitely has better hands than most of the other backs in the class), he also is good in pass protection. He consistently cuts down oncoming defenders, and is effective in blitz pick up. Ray Graham, Pittsburgh – 5-9, 200 lbsWhile Graham may not have the durability of Ball and Taylor, when he is healthy on the field he shows exactly what the Cardinals may be looking for in a running back.Graham excels on the inside run using great vision, following his blocks and shows a burst that the first two prospects on this list don’t have.What makes Graham so special is his ability to break through arm tackles when in the hole even though he is a smaller back, and use a good forward lean to always fall forward in the run game.Like the other two, he is a good receiver out of the backfield and will definitely be an asset in pass protection, as he mirrors rushers well, likes to stick his nose into pass rushers instead of cutting them at the legs.The question with Graham, and what could push him down some draft boards, is concern about his durability. He runs like a big back in a smaller back’s body. Graham reminds me of Ahmad Bradshaw in this regard, and that could turn teams, including the Cardinals, off.Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State – 6-0, 204 lbsRandle is an oddly-built running back. Acually, he looks more like a wide receiver right now and not a running back, but he shows room to add weight and is, in my opinion, the best back in pass protection in the class. I have talked about the later round running backs that I like in Dennis Johnson, Robbie Rouse and George Winn, and I believe that Johnson and Winn are still in the discussion late. But with what Arians and Mitchell said in the article, I wanted to take a look at five running backs that fit what Arians and company want to do.While I don’t think there’s any way the Cardinals take a running back at seven (in fact I may have a stroke if this happens), this new talk makes me think that a running back in round two or three may be in play and these are the five that make the most sense… to me.(Note: I did not look at Eddie Lacy, Andre Ellington or Giovani Bernard because I do not see them being available when the Cardinals are on the clock with their second round selection)Montee Ball, Wisconsin – 5-10, 214 lbsBall was the definition of what the Cardinals are looking for in a running back — a reliable, every down back that can carry a huge workload and won’t leave the field.Of course that was in college, and that doesn’t mean he can do the same thing at the NFL level.Ball is an effective, patient runner that understands how to wait for his blocks, and then use a deceptive burst to get to and through the hole, and does an excellent job of taking what is given to him and not trying to do too much.center_img I’m not a writer/analyst that’s shy about being wrong; in fact I think an analyst that struggles to see where they made a mistake is an analyst that you probably shouldn’t listen too.The reason I say that is because of Tuesday’s excellent article by Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. I was in the camp that believed the Cardinals would be looking for a running back, but one that would be available in the later rounds. That still may be true, but this article made me come back to my Cardinals’ big board (one that I am still formulating and will be unveiling in the next couple of weeks) and look at the running backs again. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Comments   Share   Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

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The Cardinals are also going to save a little bit

first_imgThe Cardinals are also going to save a little bit of money.Cardinals save $2.9M in 2013 salary by releasing Snyder. Can defer 3/4 of $4M in dead money to 2014 if they choose.— Mike Sando, ESPN.com (@espn_nfcwest) April 29, 2013 Snyder, who started 14 games for the team, struggled with injuries and was not all that effective when on the field. He spent time at both right guard and center. Last offseason, Adam Snyder was one of the Arizona Cardinals’ big free agent acquisitions. Though he signed a five-year, $17.5 million contract with the team, his tenure in the Valley did not last long.The Cardinals, who drafted North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper in the first round last Thursday, announced Monday they have released the veteran, likely clearing room for the rookie.No surprise Cardinals released Adam Snyder. Our 2nd lowest ranked RG last year.— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 29, 2013 Comments   Share   Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

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