Emirates will continue to operate 28 flights per week to New Zealand, with daily flights to Auckland from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; and the daily flight between Sydney and Christchurch. Bookings taken, joint network enhanced. As part of the enhanced schedule, Qantas has retimed its existing Christchurch-Sydney service to allow for more international connections from Sydney and will also launch a new Perth-Auckland service. “These are the first significant signs of the Qantas-Emirates partnership at work across the Tasman and the advantages for our customers will continue to increase as the relationship grows,” Emirates president Tim Clark said. Beginning 1 October 2013, Emirates will operate an Airbus A380 on all flights to Auckland. Emirates and Qantas have begun taking bookings for their new schedule of flights between Australia and New Zealand. “Through the partnership, the Emirates network has now been opened up to include Queenstown and Wellington in New Zealand in addition to the 55 destinations in Australia already on offer to our customers.” Qantas currently operates twice daily A380 services from Dubai to Australia, providing customers with over 100 flight connections per week to New Zealand. Emirates’ trans-Tasman services are operated by Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, while Qantas’ services are operated by a dedicated fleet of next generation Boeing 737-800s.
“He really opened up Australia to the more discerning, educated traveller.” “I remember watching him on This Day Tonight when I was a child and then his travel shows… it inspired me to get into the travel industry in some ways,” Travel Associates general manager David Lovelock said. Source = ETB News: P.T. Bill hosted the first ‘Great Australian Aircruise’ in 1984, with his clients travelling the country by jet, luxury cruise ship, rail and land. An Australian travel and tourism icon – Bill Peach – passed away earlier this week, leaving behind a legacy of intrepid tours and a career full of highlights and heroic memories. Bill was a pioneer for small group tours down under and was also respected within the travel writing community, being a long-time member and support of the Australian Society of Travel Writers. In the 1970’s, Bill produced a travel series entitled Peach’s Australia and several other travel shows before founding luxury travel company Bill Peach Journeys in 1983, the Herald Sun reported. Peach was made a member of the Order of Australia for his services to media and tourism. Bill was a genuine Australian icon within the travel community and will be forever remembered. The former This Day Tonight host lost his battle with cancer at age 78, following a pioneering career of tours, business endeavours, travel television shows and journalism.
Research released today by American Express defines 85 per cent of Australians as pattern spenders when spending their monthly disposable income.The American Express Pattern Spending Report reveals almost 50 per cent of Australians routinely visit the same shopping centre and most shoppers will not venture from their ten preferred stores or online shops.American Express vice president customer service Andrew Carlton said understanding the shopping habits of their customers is vital to the company and enables them to spot unusual spending and stop fraud.“Our intelligent security systems can easily detect those ‘needles in the haystack’ transactions and this is one of the reasons why we have one of the lowest fraud rates in the country,” Mr Carlton said.The report investigates the shopping motivations and habits of Australians and identifies the different pattern spending categories shoppers may fall under.The report shows 41 per cent of shoppers are Sale Seekers, those who are drawn to sales and spend most of their disposable income on special offers.Passionists mainly spend on a single hobby and 30 per cent of Australian shoppers fall into this category.Paydayers (28 per cent) splurge on their payday each month and Loyalists (24 per cent) spend their money on the same brands.The report shows Australians spend an average of 20 per cent of their disposable income online. Of the survey participants, 67 per cent owned a credit card and two thirds admit to using them to make online purchases.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson
Source = Western Australia Westin Hotels & Resorts opens in PerthWestin Hotels & Resorts opens in PerthThe five-star Westin Perth hotel opened to the public today (Friday, April 27) in the city’s revitalised East End. Offering a new level of luxury for Perth, the 368-room hotel includes eight Westin suites, 10 club suites, five executive suites and an exclusive presidential suite. Room sizes range from 42 square metre deluxe rooms to the 240 square metre presidential suite. Guests will enjoy 24/7 access to the large-scale fitness centre on the dedicated wellness level, which also includes an outdoor infinity swimming pool and locally owned and operated Bodhi J Wellness Spa. The hotel’s food and beverage offerings include acclaimed chef Guy Grossi’s first restaurant outside of Victoria, Garum – offering a contemporary Roman dining experience – as well as Haven Lounge for lighter fare and signature high teas. The hotel also boasts state-of-the-art meeting and function facilities with over 2,300 square metres of event space including an 800 square metre ballroom.
Source = Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia New time-lapse footage of Australia’s spiritual heart releasedAmazing new time-lapse footage has been created to capture the essence of the living cultural landscapes of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, showing the changing colours of the desert as day turns to night.The inspiring new images take viewers on a short journey as they experience an inspiring snapshot of the timeless landscape.Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park expands across more than 327,414 acres of Australia’s desert outback and is home to two of the world’s most iconic rock formations. The spectacular ancient monoliths of Uluru and Kata Tjuta are more than 300 million years old and the area’s Indigenous culture dates back more than 30,000 years.Uluru is the tip of a huge rock made of arkosic sandstone that continues below the ground for possibly 5-6km. The monolith is 3.6km long and 348m at its tallest point: 43m higher than Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower, 24m higher than the Eiffel Tower and just 33m lower than the Empire State Building. The colour changes of Uluru result from the filtering effect of the earth’s atmosphere on the sun’s rays.Kata Tjuta (meaning many heads) is located 30 km west of Uluru and is made up of 36 domed heads, the tallest of which is around 546m high. This is 198m higher than Uluru.For more information go to: www.ayersrockresort.com.au or call 1300 134 044.About Voyages Indigenous Tourism AustraliaVoyages Indigenous Tourism Australia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) established to undertake tourism business on its behalf. Voyages offers unique experiences and cultural immersion in spectacular locations around Australia including Ayers Rock Resort in the Northern Territory, Home Valley Station in The Kimberley in Western Australia and the Mossman Gorge Centre, in Tropical North Queensland. Voyages works collaboratively with local communities, respecting and supporting the local Indigenous cultures and offering employment and training opportunities to the local and broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Profits from all business activities are re-invested in the Indigenous and resort experiences and through the various training and development programs in place around Australia.
Source = Hotel Grand Windsor Hotel Grand Windsor crowned world’s best new hotelHotel Grand Windsor crowned world’s best new hotelAuckland’s Hotel Grand Windsor, MGallery by Sofitel has been recognised amongst the best in the world at the Boutique Hotel Awards in London, winning the esteemed ‘Best New Hotel’, as well as taking out top honours as Australasia’s Best New Hotel and Australasia’s Most Inspired Design Hotel.Widely regarded as the most influential Awards programme globally, the Boutique Hotel Awards finalists are nominated by travel industry experts and luxury travel journalists to be independently evaluated. More than 300 nominees from 80 countries this year were reviewed with judges looking for the character and feel of a unique experience.The Boutique Hotel Awards is the first and only international awards organisation exclusively dedicated to recognising unique excellence among boutique hotels. It is the only independent awards organisation in hospitality where each and every property is visited personally by an experienced hotel judge, who specialises in each category, and where decisions on winners depend on true first-hand guest experience at the property.Judge’s comments on Hotel Grand Windsor reflected the outstanding attention to detail and customer experience. Remarking on design; “The design was beautiful, elegant, understated and calming. It felt a world away from the hustle and bustle of the central city, it was amazing how you could just step away from it.” When it came to service; “All staff seemed to be very knowledgeable about the services, times and options available during our stay. As well as knowing the background to this historic building’s history. The staff effortlessly struck the balance between attentive and intrusive. We got the sense that staff were happy to be there. At no time did we sense any tension, fatigue or desire to clock off.” And finally, location; “The location was ideal as an oasis from the city. Once you stepped through the doors you forgot you were amongst the hustle and bustle of the city. However, if you wanted it, it literally could not be more convenient.” Ronnie Ronalde, Group Operations Manager for CPG Hotels (the in-house management company of hotel owner CP Group), which operates the Hotel Grand Windsor, was honoured to accept the award at the Gala in London and said the accolade was not just the first international award for the Hotel, but an extremely important milestone. “It is a delight and a privilege to be recognised amongst the World’s best boutique hotels at these distinguished awards. We are truly setting the benchmark for the boutique hotel experience in New Zealand and look forward to continuing to welcome discerning travellers from around the globe as our guests.” An MGallery by Sofitel property, the original 1920’s Art Deco architecture and interior design within the Hotel Grand Windsor provided the aesthetic foundation for the extensive redevelopment, successfully transforming the property from a three-star to five-star hotel while still operating, over the course of 12 months, starting in 2016. Hotel Grand Windsor boasts a bespoke range of rooms, from the Classic to Superior, as well as Luxury rooms and Junior Suites. Crowning the accommodation on offer are the sumptuous ‘Duchess’ and ‘Windsor’ suites. Cooke’s Restaurant & Bar pays homage to the eatery of the same name in the first Windsor House, with a special focus on using only the freshest local produce, carefully crafted with a strong focus on nourishing wholefoods, and a nod to the iconic dishes from the original restaurant which have been revamped with a modern take. The newly-introduced High Tea is also receiving widespread acclaim. Conference facilities and Spa are set to be introduced to the Hotel in the near future. Hotel Grand Windsor joins the line-up of prestigious New Zealand luxury accommodation that have won Boutique Hotel Awards. In 2016 Bay of Many Coves Resort won Australasia’s Best Relaxation Retreat and in 2015 Azur Lodge won Australasia’s Best Relaxation Retreat.
The Union Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Culture (Independent Charge) and Tourism (Independent Charge), Dr Mahesh Sharma jointly inaugurated the 8th International Conference on ‘Indian Civil Aviation & Tourism’ in New Delhi. The event was organised by Ministry of Civil Aviation and ASSOCHAM. The conference aimed at holding deliberations on various issues affecting the aviation sector and invite suggestions from the stakeholders to meet these challenges.During the event, a Knowledge Report titled ‘Indian Civil Aviation: At the Cusp of Taking off’ was released by Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Dr Mahesh Sharma. The Knowledge Report outlines the future roadmap for transforming the Indian civil aviation sector through a comprehensive development policy and provides important insights into the civil aviation sector. The awards were also given in various categories such as Best Airlines (International), Best Airlines (Indian) and Best Business Hotel etc.On the occasion, Union Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that the Government policy acts like catalyst, but everyone has to work together to make it a success. He said that the Prime Minister himself takes keen interest and has held discussions on the draft aviation policy. Speaking on the tourism growth in India, he said that India has a rich heritage and aviation sector can be helpful in promoting the growth of tourism in India. He called upon the industry leaders to work in the direction of taking India to new heights and come up with new ideas. The dialogue and idea-exchange should not stop, he added.Addressing the audience during the event, the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Culture (Independent Charge) and Tourism (Independent Charge), Dr Mahesh Sharma said that revolutionary changes are being incorporated in the new Draft Aviation policy that will be fruitful to the nation. He also said that holistic process should be adopted integrating the culture, tourism and aviation. He said that medical tourism can get a boost if the connectivity in provided via new means such as air ambulance.During the inaugural session, H. E. Gustavo de Aristegui, Ambassador, Embassy of Spain also delivered his keynote address and shared various factors that contributed to the growth of tourism in Spain.Dr B P Sharma, Chairman & Managing Director, Pawan Hans Limited also addressed the gathering. He emphasised upon the inter-state and intra city connectivity through helicopters. He also said that the first heliport of the country is expected to come up in Rohini (Delhi) next year.The inaugural session was followed by various sessions in which crucial issues related to aviation sector like Infrastructure challenges, Cargo and freight Industry, Regulatory Issues, Fiscal framework and potential of Tourism.Machendranathan, Chairperson, Airport Economic Regulatory Authority of India, Pratyush Kumar, President, Boeing India, Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet Ltd and other representatives of the aviation sector were also present on the occasion.
Indonesia is gearing up to lure more international tourists by hosting PATA Travel Mart 2016 in Jakarta on September 7 – 9. The hand-over from India (Host Country of PTM 2015) was held on farewell dinner at Vivanta by Taj Hotel, Bengaluru on September 8, 2015. During the dinner, Jakarta’s traditional dancers performed to attract 500 invited buyers and stakeholders. The audience enjoyed Indonesian dance and cultural performances for about an hour.Arief Yahya, Minister of Tourism of The Republic of Indonesia gave a presentation about Indonesia as the Host Country for PATA Travel Mart 2016. He said, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world, comprising more than 13,000 tropical islands fringed with white sandy beaches. Among the most well-known islands are Bali, Java, Kalimantan (formerly Borneo), Papua, Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), Sumatra, and the Maluku Islands (or better known as Moluccas, the original Spice Islands). The destination offers richly diverse cultures and heritages, beautiful beaches and eco-tourism along with green rain forests to trek through, deep blue pristine seas to dive and swim, and the warmest and most hospitable people on earth to welcome tourists and visitors.Before the end of this year, Indonesian government will give free visa extended to 30 countries including India. To attract 10 million international tourists in 2015, Indonesian government encourages three Greats – such as Great Bali, Great Batam and Great Jakarta. The destinations of Great Bali consist of Surabaya, Bali, Lombok, and East Musa Tenggara. The destinations of Great Batam consist of Batam, Medan, and Padang. While Great Jakarta consists of Jakarta, Bandung, Puncak and Yogyakarta.
Zanzibar-China’s MCC Overseas Company has signed a contract to build the Zanzibar Amber Resort in Matemwe Village. The resort will be one of the biggest in the East African region, say project owners. The signing ceremony was witnessed by dignitaries including Speaker of the Zanzibar House of Representatives Zubeir Ali Maulid, his deputy, Mgeni Hassan Juma, legislators and ministers.The ceremony saw exchange of documents between Zou Weimin, Chairman, MCC Overseas and the Brian Thomson, Owner & Director, Pennyroyal (Gibraltar) Limited. While giving a brief statement at the signing ceremony, Khamis Mussa, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Finance had expressed that the project is a milestone for Zanzibar’s efforts in building the economy through the tourism industry.The ambitious project is worth $1.6 billion and according to Thomson, it will include construction of 1,900 luxury villas, 3,500 apartments, residential complexes, five-star hotels, marina, luxury islands golf course, 100,000 square metre of retail space, among others.“It is my honour and pleasure to witness the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract on Amber Resort. This is an opportunity for Zanzibar…all you need is tourism infrastructure and facilities to match the escalating demand for high-end destination,” Weimin said.
AccorHotels announced its partnership with Rescue Foundation- an NGO working for over two decades to rescue trafficked women from forced prostitution. Rescue Foundation is a non-profit, government recognised and registered NGO working for rescue, rehabilitation and repatriation of victims for human trafficking from different parts of India, Nepal & Bangladesh.As part of the association, AccorHotels has provided sizeable contribution in developing Rescue Foundation’s Kandivali Shelter for their health and dietary needs, medical assistance and education & Skill development for the year 2017.Ashwin Shirali, Vice President- Talent and Culture, AccorHotels India & South Asia, said, “Our support for Rescue Foundation is a part of AccorHotels Community outreach policy where we are determined to combat all forms of sexual abuse of children especially minor girls. The teams at AccorHotels in Mumbai will work closely with the Rescue Foundation team at site to support and collaborate in taking care of the rescued girls.”Triveni Acharya, President, Rescue Foundation said, “We appreciate AccorHotels’ initiative in supporting Rescue Foundation for the girls health and dietary needs, medical assistance and education and skill development as we both strive to achieve a common goal of betterment of our society. We look forward to the association growing in the coming times.”
In a statement released Thursday, mortgage software provider “”Ellie Mae””:http://www.elliemae.com/ announced new technology and service upgrades to make it easier for mortgage lenders to manage their trade, improve eFolder capabilities, and ensure compliance in their operations.[IMAGE]By incorporating the new upgrades into their “”Encompass360″”:http://encompass360.org/ software, users will now be able to apply compound filters that adjust prices for loan trades, according to the statement.””With the industry’s new guidelines and regulations, originators need to change the way they fulfill tasks across the mortgage cycle and they’re understandably concerned about staying compliant,”” said Jonathan Corr, chief strategy officer for “”Ellie Mae””:http://www.elliemae.com/. [COLUMN_BREAK]””These upgrades are based on feedback from our clients and address a wide range of their concerns and requests. This release includes adjustments designed to help address our clients’ concerns about compliance, increase efficiency and enhance the process overall,”” Corr said.Drawing on feedback from “”Encompass360″”:http://encompass360.org/, an e-mortgage solution, “”Ellie””:http://www.elliemae.com/ developed new tools that aim to allow users to track eFolder history, customize an eFolder, and align sales-side lock and trade data.””Ellie””:http://www.elliemae.com/ includes several features that it says will help users understand compliance policies; adjust closed-end loans for the Mortgage Disclosure Improvement Act; and keep mortgage loans within Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act guidelines ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô something needed in the market, given anticipation that the “”Consumer Financial Protection Bureau””:http://www.consumerfinance.gov/ will crack down on non-compliant lenders and servicers come July.Among other features: the ability to manage revised GFE due dates, calculate for loan term sections of the GFE and HUD-1, and explain calculations for these areas.Offering software variety, “”Ellie Mae””:http://www.elliemae.com/ serves mortgage bankers, community banks, credit unions, and other mortgage lenders. Agents & Brokers Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-07-08 Ryan Schuette in Origination, Servicing, Technology July 8, 2011 489 Views Ellie Mae Adds New Software Features Share
“”LRES””:http://www.lres.com/, a California-based provider of commercial and residential valuations and asset management, welcomed Scott Pickell as its new VP of operations.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Before joining LRES, Pickell served in many leadership positions as a senior appraiser. His most recent role was serving as chief appraiser at a real estate appraisal management service provider, where he developed numerous policies and practices related to employee training and executive management.He was also owner of Preferred Appraisal Services, where he managed company strategy and performed appraisals and property reviews following strict time and quality standards. In addition, he worked for Bank of America for 12 years as a senior appraiser, earning accolades as top producer for statewide departmental staff.At LRES, Pickell is responsible for strategic planning, labor efficiency, budget spending, engineering effectiveness, material spending, and customer service.””Scott’s past experience ensuring appraiser guidelines, training others on compliance issues and meeting strict quality and time constraints makes him an invaluable addition to our leadership team,”” said LRES CEO Roger Beane. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-06-06 Tory Barringer June 6, 2013 396 Views Share New,LRES Hires New VP of Operations
Mortgage Applications Rise to End January February 4, 2015 571 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Fannie Mae Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Rates Purchase Loans Refinances 2015-02-04 Tory Barringer Share Mortgage application volumes edged up slightly in January’s last week as another drop in interest rates spurred an increase in refinancing.The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said Wednesday that mortgage loan applications rose a seasonally adjusted 1.3 percent for the week ending January 30. It was the third increase of the month, following a minor holiday-adjusted drop the previous week.MBA’s Refinance Index rose 3 percent week-over-week, reflecting renewed interest among homeowners for refinancing as the average 30-year fixed rate slipped to 3.79 percent, its lowest in more than a year and a half.Including the latest increase, refinance application volume for the entire month of January saw a 54 percent surge from the end of 2014, according to macroeconomic research firm Capital Economics.”We expect this is the start of a refinancing boom that will last for the first half of 2015 and see refinancing volumes rise by 200 percent,” said Paul Diggle, property economist for Capital Economics, in a note.The late-month implementation of lower Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance premiums also played a role, sending FHA refinance applications up by 76.5 percent week-on-week.”Conventional refinance volume was up only 0.5 percent for the week while VA [Veterans Affairs] refinance volume was down 24.3 percent,” said Lynn Fisher, VP of research and economics for MBA. “FHA purchase applications were also up 12.4 percent over the week prior, despite a decrease in purchase applications in the rest of the market.”Seasonally adjusted, home purchase applications fell 2 percent over the week, according to MBA.The results fit with the Federal Reserve’s recently released Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey, which showed demand for home purchase mortgages weakening across most loan categories, even as credit standards continue to ease.Despite that cooldown, mortgage executives surveyed late last year by Fannie Mae said they anticipate purchase volume to recover in the year ahead, though it may take some time for the market to warm back up.”Although lenders have become increasingly concerned with weak consumer demand over the last year, they are still optimistic about the mortgage business for the longer term,” said Steve Deggendorf, director of business strategy for Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group. “[L]enders seem to have adjusted to handling compliance issues and can focus more on their firm’s longer-term strategy and business.”
July 28, 2016 738 Views First mortgages and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) both increased substantially in the first quarter while the number of subprime mortgage loans approved remained consistent for the third straight year, according to a recent report from Equifax.The number of first mortgages rose by 10.3 percent over-the-year up to 1.86 million during the first quarter, according to Equifax’s May 2016 National Consumer Credit Trends Report. Home equity lines of credit during the quarter totaled 314,000, which represented an increase of 10.2 percent since the same quarter a year earlier.This data means good news for the housing market as potential buyers still look to take advantage of low interest rates. The average 30-year FRM has been below 4 percent for a year now and is still at just 3.48 percent (only 17 basis points above its all-time low) even after increasing by 6 basis points in the last two weeks.“You haven’t missed the boat yet. There is still time to buy a house at a very low interest rate,” Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts said. “When mortgage originations go up, part of the reason is they go up because it’s seasonal—homebuying happens in the second quarter. The second part of that is, refinance activity is not dead yet. We have this steadiness of refinance activity with the push of home purchase activity driving up mortgage originations at a pretty nice pace. Last year, they went up 66 percent, but that had to do with a refinance boom early in the year. Then it kind of died out in the latter half of the year. Now it seems to be reborn again.”“We have this steadiness of refinance activity with the push of home purchase activity driving up mortgage originations at a pretty nice pace.”Amy Crews Cutts, Chief Economist, EquifaxIn addition to the increases in first mortgages and HELOCs during Q1, home equity installment loans spiked by 23.5 percent in the first quarter up to 182,400—an eight-year high for an opening quarter, according to Equifax. The share of new mortgage accounts issued by lenders to subprime borrowers (those with Equifax Risk Scores of 620 or lower) increases on a consistent basis alongside prime lending in Q1 (95 percent accounted for prime loans and 5 percent accounted for subprime).“The first quarter of 2016 was a strong one for mortgage lending and underwriting practices appear to have maintained their rigor over the last three years,” Crews Cutts said. “We anticipate that the second quarter of 2016 will maintain this trend. And later this year, the much-anticipated addition of trended credit data to the mortgage underwriting process will help to strengthen the marketplace further by helping to statistically separate lower risk borrowers from those presenting higher risk.” First Mortgages and HELOCs See Substantial Growth First-Time Mortgages HELOCs 2016-07-28 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination Share
Share CBCInnovis to Provide Tax Verifications with Day 1 Certainty in Headlines, Technology May 3, 2017 588 Views CBCInnovis DataVerify Fannie Mae Fannie Mae Day 1 Certainty Fannie Mae Desktop Underwriter Mortgage Lending Representations and Warranties 2017-05-03 Krista Franks Brock CBCInnovis, a Columbus, Ohio-based mortgage credit and data validation services provider, announced this week it is now able to provide tax verification through Fannie Mae’s Day 1 Certainty program.Through Day 1 Certainty, lenders are able to protect themselves from representations and warranties and validate mortgage application data upfront with Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter.CBCInnovis is a sister company to DataVerify, which also announced its confirmation as a Day 1 Certainty authorized report supplier this week.Both CBCInnovis and DataVerify are able to offer 4506-T IRS tax transcript verification services with Day 1 Certainty.“CBCInnovis offers our clients products and services focused on enhancing processing efficiencies and reducing costs,” said Pam Lahr, SVP of Sales at CBCInnovis. “Participating in Fannie Mae’s Day 1 Certainty is a result of our customer focus.”
Summer Slump Share RE/MAX 2017-08-17 Joey Pizzolato in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News, Origination Home sales experienced a summer slump, according to the August 2017 RE/MAX National Housing Report, which analyzes data from a total of 54 metro areas across the country.The month of July saw a 0.8 percent drop in home sales year-over-year, even considering that 19 out of 54 of the measured metros saw an increase in sales. However, this trend isn’t unusual.“After a jump in home sales in May and June, it’s not unusual to see a dip in sales in July,” said Adam Contos, RE/MAX Co-CEO. “This summertime slowdown is a national trend that we sometimes see this time of year, even though this month’s decrease was razor thin. Low inventory continues to constrain the market. Successful buyers will have to be prepped and ready to act fast to purchase listings that, on average, are selling in record time.”Even though sales were down, homes were selling faster than ever recorded by RE/MAX—at an average of 45 days on the market. That average is lower by two days than June 2017’s number, and eight days from July 2016’s. The lowest average days on the market were 20, 20, 22, and 24, with Omaha, Nebraska; Seattle, Washington; Denver, Colorado; and San Francisco, California, respectively.Median home prices were also barely down compared to June—$239,950, which was the highest ever recorded in the nine years the company has been recording this specific dataset, but still 1 percent lower than the month of June. Year-over-year, however, that number is 7.4 percent higher. Out of the 54 metros, three were either unchanged or experienced decrease year-over-year: Billings, Montana (down 2.2 percent); Anchorage, Alaska (down 0.7 percent); and Houston, Texas, which was unchanged. The highest increase in median sales price were Seattle, Washington at 13.7 percent; Tampa, Florida at 13.5 percent; Milwaukee, Wisconsin at 11.6 percent; Portland, Oregon at 11.4 percent; and, Charlotte, North Carolina at 11.0 percent. August 17, 2017 575 Views
August 23, 2017 517 Views Mortgage Options for Veterans in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, News National Housing Act 2017-08-23 Joey Pizzolato A new bill could change requirements in the National Housing Act if it succeeds the long road to becoming law. House Resolution 2777—Give Veterans Home Loan Choices Act of 2017, aims to require that a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage notice to a veteran include information that compares Veteran Affair (VA) loan information along with information about conventional loans and FHA loans. Currently, it is not a requirement under the Informed Consumer Choice disclosure to include information about VA loans.Originally introduced by Representative Marc Veasey (D-Texas) in June, the goal is to help veterans make an informed decision when deciding which route to take when buying a home.“Homeownership is a pillar of the American dream and a goal that should not be out of reach for our nation’s veterans,” said Congressman Marc Veasey. “That is why I am committed to ensuring that the brave men and women who serve our country have access to the benefits they’ve earned and are provided the information they need to make an informed decision when purchasing a home.”The bill currently has 13 co-sponsors, including Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii); Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas); Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-Washington D.C.); Sandord Bishop Jr. (D-Georgia); Mark Takano (D-California); Dwight Evans (D-Pennsylvania); Donald Norcross (D-New Jersey); Gene Greene (D-Texas); Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona); Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona); Daniel Lipinski (D-Illinois); Norma Torres (D-California); and Eric Swalwell (D-California); and is sponsored by a handful of organizations, such as the Association of the United States Navy, National Military Family Association, Association of the United States Army, Reserve Officer Association, and the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP).As of Wednesday, the bill has referred to the House Armed Services Committee. According to G-II Varrato, the AZ State Director for VAREP and the Chairman of VAREP National Legislative Committee, this bill has been in the works for four years, and is a “multipronged effort.”The first hurdle the bill had to overcome was to require the loan application to ask the potential borrower if he/she has ever served. According to Varrato, that piece of information has been missing from the application since 1944 when the loan was created.“Because of that,” Varrato said, “over 65 percent of the veteran community are disenfranchised—missed out on this loan product.”VAREP succeeded in altering the loan application in 2016; the new application will go live in December of 2018.The second piece of the puzzle, which Veasey’s bill is currently trying to do, would be to require the side by side comparison. Share
Brian Montgomery CFPB Fannie Mae FHA FHFA Freddie Mac Home Home Prices HOUSING Housing Finance Reform Kathy Kraninger Mark Calabria S&P CoreLogic Se. Mike Crapo State of the Union Steve Mnuchin 2019-02-05 Radhika Ojha Bipartisanship was the theme throughout President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. Touching upon some of the key factors that have propelled the U.S. economy such as a tight jobs market, low unemployment rates, and a fast GDP growth, all of which have also impacted the housing industry, Trump declared that the “State of our Union is strong.” However, he said that “victory is not winning for our party, victory is winning for our country.”The border wall, trade talks, and the recent government shutdown were some of the prominent topics that he touched upon during his State of the Union speech that lasted more than an hour. Stressing that it was time to redefine the American middle-class Trump said that it was time for both parties to come together to make “our communities safer, families stronger and our middle-class bigger and more prosperous than ever before.”Commenting on President Trump’s address, HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson said that the address offered a strong vision of unity that put the country before politics and that both parties in Congress work together to fix the broken immigration system. “There is no challenge we cannot overcome if we embrace the bipartisan, common-sense approach our President outlined tonight,” he said.The next big priority he said was the “great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure.” Trump said that he was ready to work with Congress to pass an infrastructure bill to that effect.Applauding this commitment, National Association of Realtors President John Smaby said that voters throughout the country had made clear their desire to see lawmakers secure bipartisan infrastructure reform. “The National Association of Realtors®, together with our 1.3 million members, understands the critical role infrastructure improvements play in maintaining property values, creating livable neighborhoods and developing communities in which businesses can succeed,” Smaby said.The State of the Union address was also a good time to take a look at the state of the housing industry, which saw three factors defining it in 2018—inventory, rising mortgage rates, and a cooling down of home price growth. The industry also saw some key legislation passed during the year to strengthen housing as well as appointments to leadership positions across the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).The Big PictureThe housing market is seeing some stability after getting a late boost at the end of 2018 as mortgage rates declined and home price growth started showing signs of slowing down. According to Freddie Mac’s latest forecast, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages began to let up at the end of the year, after climbing for several months, averaging 4.6 percent in 2018 and dropping to a nine-month low of 4.45 percent in early January.“Despite the weakening of the housing market in 2018, early 2019 data signals a possible turnaround for the year to come,” said Sam Khater, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac. “This recent uptick in activity proves that homebuyers are very sensitive to changing interest rates and will likely respond positively if mortgage rates remain below five percent.”“Home prices are still rising, but more slowly than in recent months,” says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. He indicated that the pace of prices is “being dampened by declining sales of existing homes and weaker affordability.”On a year-over-year, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index covering all nine U.S. census divisions, revealed a 5.2 percent annual gain in November, down from 5.3 percent in the previous month. The 10-city composite annual increase is at 4.3 percent, dropping from 4.7 percent in the previous month. On the other hand, the 20-city composite reflected a 4.7 percent year-over-year gain, a decline from 5 percent in October 2018.According to Fannie Mae, home affordability continues to be a challenge across the country with rising interest rates and continued home price appreciation discouraging both first-time and move-up homebuyers. As a result, through its quarterly lender sentiment survey, Fannie Mae asked senior mortgage executives their views on improving housing affordability for low- and moderate-income homebuyers.Increasing the supply of housing stock is the key to making housing affordable to a larger population of homebuyers, according to the lenders who responded to Fannie Mae’s Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey for the fourth quarter of 2018. Some of the other ideas put forth by them included offering consumer subsidies as well as more loan choices such as mortgages involving low down payments or loans including renovation costs.”In the face of the perceived impacts of non-mortgage supply constraints, it appears that further easing of consumer credit standards would be more likely to contribute to stronger home price appreciation than expanding sustainable homeownership,” said Mark Palim, VP and Deputy Chief Economist at Fannie Mae in his Perspectives blog.Housing Finance Reform in the Cards?With the overall housing market expected to remain stable during the year, housing finance reform, is likely to be a key focus area for the Senate Banking Committee. The committee’s Chairman, Sen. Mike Crapo, recently introduced an outline for housing finance legislation, which, according to a statement by Crapo, incorporates elements of the various “plans and principles for housing finance reform that have been previously discussed by legislators, analysts, stakeholders, and thought leaders.””Protecting American taxpayers by ensuring the safety and stability of the United States housing finance system is a priority for the Treasury Department,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in response to the outline released by Crapo. “The outline for housing reform legislation released by Chairman Crapo is a productive first step toward that goal, and I applaud him for his efforts.”This legislation outline comes close on the heels of the White House’s statement that it would announce a framework for “the development of a policy for comprehensive housing finance reform shortly,” and that it had not yet made a decision on any housing finance reform plan. The announcement was made within weeks of FHFA Acting Director, Joseph Otting’s remarks to staffers that the agency would be announcing plans to remove the GSEs from conservatorship soon.Otting is one of the many appointees who was nominated by the Trump administration to key positions in the housing industry last year.Legislation and AppointmentsNew appointments to key positions within regulatory bodies like the FHA and the CFPB along with nominations to head the FHFA were followed closely during the year. Brian Montgomery, who had been nominated by the President for the position of Assistant Secretary for Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in November 2017, was approved by the Senate by a vote of 74-33 in May 2018. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve with Secretary Carson and the team at HUD to further equal access to affordable rental housing and homeownership opportunities and seek solutions to restore vitality to the housing market,” Montgomery said in a statement.In November, Kathleen Kraninger succeeded Acting Director Mick Mulvaney to become the Director of the CFPB after a Senate vote confirmed her nomination. “As Congress continues its efforts to reform the Bureau into a law enforcement agency that truly protects consumers and is accountable to the people, I am confident that with her experience and knowledge of budget management, Kathy will excel as Director of the Bureau,” said Jeb Hensarling, then the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. “I look forward to working with her, the Trump Administration and House and Senate Democrats to put real reforms in place that protects consumers.”With the Democrats taking over the House Financial Services Committee after the mid-term elections, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Cal) succeeded Hensarling as the Chair of the House Financial Committee Chairwoman.In December, the Trump administration announced the nomination of Dr. Mark Calabria, who is currently the Chief Economist to Vice President Mike Pence, to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency for five years after the term of the current FHFA Director, Mel Watt expires in January.If confirmed, Calabria would have significant influence over the housing finance market at the FHFA. Share What Is the State of the Union? in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News February 5, 2019 4,046 Views
The head of Indian fruit importer IG International says there is “immense potential” for club apple varieties in the country, which has seen huge growth in imports of the fruit over the last decade and where its large, young population is eager to try new things.Speaking at the Interpoma, the largest trade fair in the world dedicated to apples which takes place in Bolzano in Italy every two years, the company’s CEO Tarun Arora also spoke about how trade conflicts with China and U.S. were creating significant opportunities for European exporters.”People outside of India often see it as the land of one hundred problems, but what we must see is that it’s also the place of one billion opportunities,” he said.Of India’s total fruit imports, around 75% are apples. The country saw slow and steady growth for apple imports from the turn of the millennium until 2008, but since then they have skyrocketed, soaring to around 350,000 metric tons (MT) in 2016. The following year saw a marked reduction to around 240,000MT following a ban on apple imports from China, which had been the leading supplier.”China was a big exporter, but on the other hand the U.S. grasped the opportunity,” he said, explaining that in 2017, the U.S. supplied around half of all imported apples in India, with the country becoming Washington state’s third-biggest export market after Mexico and Canada.However, U.S.’s position as the leading supplier is in jeopardy, with the Indian Government threatening to implement an additional 25% tariff on U.S. apples at the end of January, in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. This would give U.S. apple exporters a 75% rate compared to all other countries which are on 50% and would therefore significantly impact trade volumes.The main beneficiary of this situation will be Europe, Arora explained. He said the continent already had excellent trade relations with India in a number of areas, and was able to reach the Indian market in just three weeks, compared to around 40 days on average for the U.S.In 2017 Italy was the main European apple supplier to India, accounting for around 5% of the total.The Indian apple season normally starts around September but only lasts through December, in part due to lack of infrastructure and because the apple’s shelf life is not very good. Domestic growers are heavily focused on the Red Delicious variety, but Arora said that imported club varieties have been delighting consumers during the rest of the year and are set for strong growth in the future.”Overall, the evolution to other varieties has been quite large. You’re looking now at Royal Gala taking quite a bit of market share from Red Delicious, and there are also a lot of other varieties that are going well, for example Pink Lady,” he said.”All the new club varieties have immense potential into the Indian market”He explained that Indian consumers – of which millennials represent a huge proportion – are very dynamic and open to trying new things. They are also very health conscious, which is helping to increase the overall demand as well.Indian millennials are very tech savvy, he added, and so a digital market campaign is important for new varieties entering the market. January 08 , 2019 Chile edges closer to Vietnamese market access for … You might also be interested in Apples in Charts: With prices at four-year high, h … NZ: New method doubles Envy apple yields, boosts S … U.S.: ‘Apples are often on the tariff carousel’, s …
Park Hotel Group announced yesterday the signing of a management deal with Roxy-Pacific Holdings Limited to open Park Hotel Melbourne, on Little Bourke Street, in 2022.“We are thrilled to introduce Park Hotel to Melbourne and bring the upscale brand’s culturally rooted, globally inspired hospitality to travellers and locals in this city,” said Allen Law, Chief Executive Officer of Park Hotel Group.The 23-storey hotel will feature 319 guest rooms and suites, a lobby lounge, a concept restaurant and bar with alfresco terrace seating on the eighth floor. as well as a fitness centre. The new-build hotel will offer five versatile function rooms that can be combined into a ballroom to accommodate meetings and events ranging from 20 to 200 persons.“… the new Park Hotel Melbourne is a continuation of the Group’s strategic efforts to strengthen our hospitality and is in line with our plans to grow our stable of recurring income streams,” said Teo Hong Lim, Executive Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Roxy-Pacific.“As a popular tourist destination, tourism in Melbourne grew significantly in 2018. Going forward, Australia’s tourism and hotel sector is expected to record strong growth in the coming years, likely to exceed the country’s broader economic growth, and should augur well for the new hotel.”Designed by Bates Smart, Park Hotel Melbourne will pay homage to the unique attributes of Little Bourke Street and its neighbourhood. The hotel façade will reflect the old red brick warehouses and architecture in the surrounding precinct.Taking inspiration from Kirk’s Bazaar, a lively horse and livery trading centre in the mid-1800s within the vicinity, the hotel interiors will have semblances of the city’s yesteryears. The décor features tumbled tile flooring, timber cladding and saddlery accents with contemporary, sleek furnishings to evoke curiosity and a sense of discovery. Designed to engage locals and visitors of the city, the bustling bar in the lobby will welcome guests on arrival with a flavour of the distinctive laneway culture of Melbourne.TOP IMAGE: Park Hotel Group signs the agreement for Park Hotel Melbourne on 27 March 2019. (L to R) – Mr Brent Anderson (Regional General Manager South/ SE Asia, Tourism Australia), Mr Mohd K Rafin (Chief Corporate Officer, Park Hotel Group), Mr Allen Law (Chief Executive Officer, Park Hotel Group), Mr Teo Hong Lim (Executive Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Roxy-Pacific Holdings Limited), Mr Chris Teo (Deputy CEO and Executive Director, Roxy-Pacific Holdings Limited) and Mr Benjamin Hopkins (Managing Director, Roxy-Pacific Melbourne House) MelbournePark Hotel Melbourne