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first_imgDestination New South Wales (NSW) in partnership with Qantas are set to launch the next stage of their joint campaign which encourages Japanese tourists to visit Sydney and Regional NSW.Japanese travellers are urged to fly on Qantas’ new daily service that flies direct from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Sydney.The campaign will promote various events as a reason to visit NSW, such as Vivid Sydney 2015 and the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival.Not only will the campaign promote the capital city, it will also encourage travellers to explore parts of Regional NSW like the Blue Mountains, Port Stephens and the Hunter Valley.Running from 1 April until 30 June 2015, the campaign will utilise a range of print and digital advertisements on trains operating on the Keikyu Narita Airport and Haneda Airport access line in Japan.Destination NSW chief executive officer Sandra Chipchase says the AUD$30 million three-year partnership with Qantas, which began in April 2013, will help encourage Japanese travellers to discover NSW.“This campaign leverages our exciting 2015 Sydney events that have proved popular with Japanese visitors such as Vivid, and promotes fantastic experiences available across Regional NSW to one of our top international priority markets,” Ms Chipchase said.“Vivid Sydney is a unique and spectacular event that gives visitors an experience of a city like no other.“With 3D building projections and our icons lit up including the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay, it’s an unmissable event.“We are very proud of this innovative campaign with Qantas, and are confident the promotion of the new Qantas service will help drive visitation to Sydney and Regional NSW and encourage Japanese visitors to experience Australia’s number one State.”Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinsonlast_img read more


first_imgPhase 2 of T1 transformation under waySydney Airport has commenced phase two of the T1 improvement program to deliver a world-class airport experience for passengers, visitors and staff. The improvement works follow consultation with stakeholders and address requests for more direct paths through the terminal, clearer sight lines, better wayfinding, more passenger seating closer to gates, and an overall superior customer experience.Key benefits include:Wider pathways to deliver improved passenger flows and more direct paths to aircraft gates;A new central “boulevard” providing passengers with shorter walking distances, greater lines of sight and access from security to the boarding gates and aircraft;Clear signage and wayfinding that will better assist passengers to know where they are in the terminal, and how long it will take them to reach their gate lounge;Additional casual seating located closer to boarding gates;An improved retail and food and beverage offer with commanding views of the city and airfield; andRe-organised duty free tenancies on Arrivals level to provide improved pre-passport control zones with more space for access to e-passport kiosks, orientation space and optimised access to passport control line.The works in phase two include: The roll out of automated technology for passport control by Customs; The construction of a straight path through the main duty free store from the screening area to gate lounges, ensuring airlines and passengers have a direct path to gates, with works expected to be completed by September 2015;Expansion of the inbound immigration hall to provide increased passenger passport control processing capacity in both Pier B and Pier C Arrivals; andPier C Departures duty free store being relocated and arrivals store opening.During the transition there will be a reduction in the food and beverage offering in the airside precinct, however passengers will be able to access a great range of food and beverage options in the casual dining precinct before going through passport control and security. This includes new outlets Roll’d, Nando’s, Grand Cru, Hokka Hokka, Soul Origin and Mach2, catering to all budgets and tastes.The second phase of the T1 improvement program follows the commencement of our new duty free partner Heinemann on Tuesday, 17 February 2015.Once completed, the Heinemann duty free stores will showcase 400 new brands and will offer customers the convenience of online and mobile shopping. In addition to its extensive core product range, they’ll be offering an exciting collection of premium fashion and accessories brands, a large selection of toys and games, local and international delicacies, and a dedicated Australian products section.With the combination of Heinemann and the new luxury retail precinct, Sydney Airport’s T1 International terminal will soon be one of Sydney’s premier fashion destinations, offering a world-class international retail mix delivering more choice and value to customers.Due for completion in the third quarter of 2016, the works have been staged over 20 months to minimise potential disruption to passengers.“Following the completion of works, we will deliver a world-class airport experience for passengers,” Sydney Airport managing director and chief executive officer Kerrie Mather said.“Direct, straight paths, wider walkways, more gate lounge seating, improved terminal ambience, a brand new shopping and dining offering and improved wayfinding will help transform T1 into Australia’s premier airport terminal.“Sydney Airport is Australia’s gateway and we are working hard to deliver our passengers an enhanced customer experience and airline partners more efficient operations.” Find out more hereSource = Sydney Airportlast_img read more


first_imgMSC Cruises www.msccruises.com.au Second Passenger for One DollarSecond Passenger for One DollarThey say good things come in pairs, and our latest deal is no different! Enjoy a cruise of a lifetime and bring a friend along for only $1 (plus port charges). Choose from a wide range of itineraries cruising to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Caribbean, Cuba and Arabian Peninsula. Available on over 90 departures cruising from May 2016 through to March 2017 there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.Get lost in the magical Mediterranean as you embark on a journey of culture, beauty and history. Departing from Genoa, explore the picturesque sights of Civitavecchia, Palermo, Valetta, Valencia and Marseille on board MSC Preziosa. Enjoy this 7 night cruise from $985 (AUD)/ $1090 (NZD) per cabin when you bring a friend along. Stay longer for a fantastic 14 night mate deal!There is no better time to discover the colourful Caribbean and experience the ultimate island life. Departing from Miami, let MSC Divina take you on a 14 night adventure starting from $2248 (AUD)/ $2374 (NZD) per cabin.A must see on everyone’s bucket list and our newest destination, Cuba, is waiting to be discovered. Enjoy an incredible 7 night adventure departing from Havana and explore all this lively city has to offer with prices for the 1st passenger starting at $935 (AUD)/ $1009 (NZD) and 2nd passenger, including port charges, at $176 (AUD)/ $211 (NZD) per cabin.Book before the 24th June 2016 and bag yourself the bargain of the century. This offer is valid for new bookings only and subject to limited availability so be quick and bring a friend along for an unforgettable experience. MSC CruisesBook Now Today HereCONTACTMarketing Department MSC Cruises (Australia & New Zealand) Pty Limited marketing@msccruises.com.au 02 8076 1019 www.msccruises.com.au MSC Cruises, part of the MSC Group, is the number one cruise line in Europe, South America and South Africa, and sails year-round in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Its seasonal itineraries cover northern Europe, Cuba and the West Indies, South America, Southern Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula. MSC Cruises feels a deep responsibility for the environments in which it operates, and was the first company ever to earn the Bureau Veritas “7 Golden Pearls” for superior management and environmental stewardship. In 2009, MSC Cruises began an enduring partnership with UNICEF to support various programmes assisting children worldwide. So far, more than €3m has been collected in voluntary guest donations. MSC Cruises was born in the Mediterranean, and draws inspiration from this heritage to create a unique experience for holidaymakers worldwide. Its fleet comprises 14 modern ships: MSC Preziosa; MSC Divina; MSC Splendida; MSC Fantasia; MSC Magnifica; MSC Poesia; MSC Orchestra; MSC Musica; MSC Sinfonia; MSC Armonia; MSC Opera, MSC Lirica. and the 2 newest ships MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside, which are now available for sale. In 2014, MSC Cruises launched a €5.3 billion investment plan through the order of two ships of the Meraviglia generation and two others of the Seaside generation (plus an option for a third) and in February 2016, confirmed the existing options to build a further two Meraviglia Plus ships with an even greater capacity. This means seven new ships will enter MSC Cruises’ fleet by 2021, enabling the Company to double its capacity to more than 3.4 million passengers a year. Source = MSC Cruiseslast_img read more


first_imgSwiss-Belhotel International Group to open first Australian hotelSwiss-Belhotel International Group to open first Australian hotelThe Swiss-Belhotel International Group will open its first Australian hotel, the Swiss-Belhotel Brisbane next month.The newly-built Swiss-Belhotel Brisbane is located within easy walking distance of River Quay, South Bank Parklands, Brisbane Convention & Entertainment Centre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Gallery of Modern Art and the Mater Hospital and Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital precinct. The Goodwill Bridge provides a direct link to the CBD and Queensland University of Technology Gardens Point campus.The full service, 134-room Swiss-Belhotel Brisbane is situated at 218 Vulture Street, South Brisbane. Rooms range from Superior Rooms to Swiss SuperSuites and interconnecting rooms, many with views of the Brisbane River, city skyline or Story Bridge and Kangaroo Point cliffs.The stylish, contemporary interiors are designed for comfort and convenience with amenities including full minibars, galley kitchens (in some rooms), marble desk and LED lighting accents.Hotel facilities include a large Corporate Lounge, ideal for early arrivals or late departures, two meeting rooms, an indoor heated swimming pool, in-house gymnasium and secure on-site parking for 40 cars.While dozens of restaurants and cafes are within a short stroll, Café 63 at Swiss-Belhotel will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner daily from a menu featuring local produce, signature dishes as well as casual options. Cafe 63 at Swiss-Belhotel is an expanded version of the very popular Cafe 63 in Brisbane. There’s also a large bar with evening and weekend entertainment, which is sure to prove a popular spot for a casual drink.Cafe 63 at Swiss-Belhotel will also provide room service and cater for the meeting rooms as well as selling takeaway coffee and meals.Swiss-Belhotel International Chairman and President Gavin Faull said the group was very excited to be opening its first Swiss-Belhotel branded property in Australia in the booming Brisbane market.”We have a unique location with three large and famous children’s hospitals nearby which will bring in a special medical and family market,” said Mr Faull.  “We are very close to the Gabba – the international sports ground where Swiss-Belhotel will be well placed to capitalise on many of the international sporting fixtures at that ground. We are also close to the Brisbane CBD – which can be walking distance away – and Swiss-Belhotel Brisbane will be the ideal business hotel for the CBD market.”Swiss-Belhotel Brisbane General Manager Mrs Dinah-Louise Marrs said the hotel was on track to open October 15, and was looking forward to welcoming its first guests.For Swiss-Belhotel Brisbane bookings, call (07) 3120 0800, email: Brisbane-infor@swiss-belhotel.com. www.swiss-belhotelbrisbane.com. Opening rates of $165 per room are available, subject to availability.Swiss-Belhotel International International currently manages a portfolio of 135 hotels that stretch across the globe incorporating the Middle East, Europe, China, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The brand now spans 20 countries and employs more than 7,000 people worldwide with a new Athens office providing a beachhead for European growth. And there is no sign of a slowdown with plans to have at least 10 hotels managed by Swiss-Belhotel International in Australia within five years and at least 40 within 10 years. *Numbers may fluctuateSwiss-Belhotel International currently manages a portfolio of more than *135 hotels, resorts and projects located in China, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Turkey and Georgia. Awarded Indonesia’s Leading Global Hotel Chain for six consecutive years, Swiss-Belhotel International is one of the world’s fastest-growing international hotel and hospitality management groups. The Group provides comprehensive and highly professional development and management services in all aspects of hotel, resort and serviced residences. Offices are located in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, United Arab Emirates, China, Indonesia and Vietnam.Source = Swiss-Belhotel International Group – Swiss-Belhotel Brisbanelast_img read more


first_imgTourism Australia and BuzzFeed seek applicants for the road trip of a lifetimeTourism Australia and BuzzFeed Australia are on the hunt for the next generation of visual storytellers from around the world to join the first ever BuzzFeed Mateshipprogram, a once-in-lifetime fellowship and travel program that will see the Mates work, travel and capture content across Australia.Eight young travellers and aspiring content creators from the UK, Germany, Italy and France will be flown to Australia for a three-month road trip to discover and report on some of the most unique, eye-opening and breathtaking experiences across the country for both Tourism Australia and BuzzFeed.com social channels.Known as the BuzzFeed Mates, they will head off-the-beaten-track to discover some of Australia’s very best local culture, festivals, surf breaks, food and wine offerings. They will be given a bespoke itinerary filled with things that appeal to the young traveller, like swinging on the world’s fastest Minjin jungle swing in Cairns, enjoying world class music acts at one of Australia’s many summer festivals or discovering ancient watering holes in Kakadu National Park.Throughout the program, the Mates will learn to create spectacular digital content and master social storytelling whilst being mentored by the BuzzFeed Australia editorial team and Tourism Australia. Each Mate will be tasked with documenting their experiences and sharing them with the world on dedicated BuzzFeed social feeds.“As far as working holidays go, I think you’d have to go a long way to beat this. It’s the road trip to end all road trips,” said Tourism Australia’s Managing Director, John O’Sullivan.“We’re excited to partner with Tourism Australia to give our audience around the world the opportunity to come and embed with the BuzzFeed Australia team, learn new creative skills and see the best of what this country has to offer. It’s truly the opportunity of a lifetime, and we can’t wait to see what the BuzzFeed Mates create!” said Simon Crerar, Editor-In-Chief and General Manager BuzzFeed Australia.Entries for the BuzzFeed Mateship program are open to applicants from the UK, Germany, Italy and France. The entries are open from 2-18 August to creative professionals and enthusiasts alike. Application details can be found online at buzzfeed.com/jobs.Tourism Australia’s partnership with BuzzFeed forms part of a new campaign set to launch in October, aimed at putting Australia back on the map as a memorable and desirable youth destination.Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP said that the youth segment represented a quarter of all international arrivals to Australia and 44 per cent of visitor spend.“The Turnbull Government recognises the importance of bringing more young people to Australia, both to travel and work, and that is why we have made improvements to the working holidaymaker program and committed $10 million to Tourism Australia for this campaign. These eight-lucky young travellers have a life-changing trip ahead of them and one which we believe will motivate many more young international travellers to follow in their footsteps.”Source = Tourism Australialast_img read more


first_imgVietjet IPO wins prestigious award for “Best Vietnam Deal” in 2017Vietjet IPO wins prestigious award for “Best Vietnam Deal” in 2017Vietjet Aviation Joint Stock Company (HOSE: VJC) has received the “Best Vietnam Deal” award from Asia’s leading publication, FinanceAsia, for its IPO held early 2017.The prestigious award not only highlighted Vietjet’s highly successful IPO but also the airline’s subsequent performance for the rest of the year, which boosted the position of Vietjet in particular but also Vietnam-based companies on the global capital market in general.The presentation ceremony for the FinanceAsia Awards, one of the world’s leading awards for the regional finance industry, took place at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong on January 31, 2018. Mr. Chu Viet Cuong from the Vietjet Board of Directors represented the airline to receive the coveted award.Leading “a series of successful deals” in 2017, Vietjet’s US$164 million IPO was professionally conducted, involving the consultation of world-renowned law firms and financial institutions for a period of nearly 800 days (due on the listing date, February 28, 2017), and following all the international IPO standards Regulation S.Earlier, Vietjet was also awarded for “The IPO Deal of the Year 2017” and named “The Company with Best M&A Information Disclosure” at the M&A Awards 2016-2017 Vietnam as part of the Vietnam M&A Forum 2017 in Vietnam.The airline’s 2016 annual report also received a Platinum Award in early 2017 at the Vision Awards 2016 organized by the League of American Communications Professionals (LACP) which ranked Vietjet fourth out of all awardees from the Asia Pacific region and 11th out of 100 worldwide participating businesses. Themed as “the flight to the future”, the 150-paged annual report received top scores for sub-categories, including First Impression, Letter to Shareholders, Report Financials and sustainable development programs.Source = Vietjetlast_img read more


first_imgBlacklane introduces Chauffeured Green Class with TeslasBlacklane introduces Chauffeured Green Class with TeslasTravelers can now book and take emissions-free chauffeured rides in 20 cities with Blacklane. The company’s new Green Class features Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles in Adelaide, Amsterdam, Auckland, Austin, Basel, Birmingham (U.K.), Denver, Dublin, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Lisbon, London, Milan, Montreal, Munich, Paris, Phoenix, Sydney and Zurich.The Green Class expands Blacklane’s fleet beyond its current Business Class, Business Van/SUV and First Class that are available in 260 cities worldwide. As local chauffeurs add more qualifying vehicles to their fleets, Blacklane will extend Green Class to new cities.“We welcome battery-electric chauffeur-quality vehicles from all premium automakers to our fleet. Supporting business and leisure travelers with green travel options is essential to a healthy planet,” said Jens Wohltorf, CEO and co-founder of Blacklane. “We are proud to combine zero emissions with the vehicle comfort, quiet and performance that passengers expect.”By booking Blacklane’s Green Class, companies can also lower their emissions and help fulfill Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals.The Green Class builds on Blacklane’s environmental commitments. Last year, the company became the first ride service to offset carbon emissions from all rides globally. Blacklane also was a founding member of the World Alliance of Efficient Solutions. Most recently, Blacklane was certified completely carbon-neutral by offsetting emissions from its entire global operations.Green Class rides come with the same high-quality standards and full duty of care as all other Blacklane trips:All-inclusive rates guaranteed at the time of booking. Blacklane never adds taxes, tolls, fees, tips or surges to fixed fares.Instant booking confirmations.Commercially licensed and insured drivers dressed professionally.Driver meet-and-greet, including luggage assistance.Up to one hour of free driver waiting time at airports and up to 15 minutes at all other locations, for transfers.Free changes and cancellations for transfers up to one hour before pickup.Real-time flight tracking and adjustment of pickup times according to actual arrival times.Free cancellations for transfers up to one hour before pickup.Driver contact information sent over SMS and email one hour before pick-up.24/7 multi-lingual customer service on phone, email and social media.About Blacklane (www.blacklane.com)Upgrade your travels with Blacklane. The company covers the first and last miles and feet of your journey. We provide peace of mind in more than 50 countries and 260 cities with chauffeured rides and in 500 airports with airport concierge services and lounge access. We guarantee high quality at fair, fixed and all-inclusive rates. You can book Blacklane on our website or mobile apps or via distribution and channel partners.Source = Blacklanelast_img read more


first_imgAccorHotels have announced a series of attractive offers including a free night, free upgrade, lounge access and unlimited drinks at participating hotels across its network of 39 hotels in the country. The offer will be exclusively available to guests booking rooms through AccorHotels.com, the app and brand sites, during the period of July 15-22, for a stay anytime from July 15-Dember 31, 2016.As part of the ‘Stay Three and Pay Two’ offer, guests can avail a complimentary night’s stay with Wi-Fi access and Breakfast included for two adults at Grand Mercure and majority of Novotel, Mercure and ibis hotels in India.The ‘Free Upgrade and Lounge Access’ offer will allow guests booking stay for two nights at select Novotel hotels in India to opt instead for a complimentary room upgrade complete with lounge access. At locations where the lounge facility is not available, guests can enjoy unlimited free drinks at the bar (from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm). In the latter offers, Accor Plus members are entitled to an additional 10% discount.last_img read more


first_imgThe Global Hospitality Conclave (GHC) an initiative organised by the alumni of the erstwhile Oberoi School of Hotel Management (OSHM), now The Oberoi Centre for Learning & Development (OCLD), recently organised its fourth edition at The Leela Gurugram.The conclave’s agenda was to initiate a dialogue between industry professionals on diverse themes, catering amass hospitality segment. The opening and overview was given by Vikram Mehta, Chairman, Brookings India.The first panel discussion on Hospitality Development & Investment- The future ahead was moderated by Rattan Keswani, Deputy Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels with Nirupa Shankar, Brigade Hospitality; Ashish Jakhanwala, Managing Director & CEO, SAMHI Hotels; Manav Thadani, Chairman, Asia Pacific-HVS and Dilip Puri, Managing Director, India & Regional Operations, Starwood.It discussed the shortcomings and the turn key features that can add value for the growth of the hospitality industry. “We should be more focused on why an investor will invest in hospitality segment. In the purview of an investor, capital and return plays a key role. Therefore, it’s essential that the hospitality industry accentuates more on the returns on their capitals,” pointed Thadani.The second session had an overview by Patu Keswani, Founder, The Lemon Tree Company.  In 2002, he founded the Lemon Tree hotel, a mid-market hotel. Thereafter, the company expanded in two more categories like Lemon Tree Premier and RedFox. “We have observed that our mass market is the mid scale category. Hence, we realised the potential on expanding within the mid market space that in India is still far behind and collectively we as hospitality professionals should work hard in achieving this segment,” said Keswani.Ingo Schweder, Founder, GOCO Hospitality headed the third session by giving a brief on wellness tourism. The fourth panel was on Diversity & Inclusion at Workplace, moderated by Radha Ahluwalia, IMA with panellists Niren Chaudhary, President-Global, Yum Brands; Aradhna Lal, Vice President, Sustainability Initiatives, Lemon Tree Hotels and Pritha Dutt Director, EMPOWER.The concluding session of the evening was on F&B Trends and Innovation moderated by Vir Sanghvi with panellists including Habib Rehman, Ex-Managing Director, ITC Hotels; AD Singh, Partner & Managing Director, Oliver Group; Rohit Khattar, Chairman, Old World Hospitality Pvt Ltd.last_img read more


first_imgA new trail across South West Wales aims to bring to life the mystery that surrounds the story of Britain’s legendary King Arthur. The new trail showcases the Arthurian legend related experiences across the counties of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Swansea Bay and Neath Port Talbot.Visitors inspired by Charlie Hunnam’s rugged sword wielding Arthur portrayal in the big-screen version of the tale can head off on a quest to see wizard and warrior related sights and sounds using the new trail.The trail aims to help visitors understand who Arthur really was. From the boulder he is said to have tossed 11 miles from Llanelli to Gower to his burial place in the Preseli Hills and the supernatural caves near Neath, the trail guides visitors through everything from a day out in one region, to a five night break spread over all four, hunting for clues to Arthur’s existence. For those who just want to indulge in the playful side of Arthur’s tale there are fun attractions– from owl experiences to wizard themed afternoon teas throughout the four counties.last_img read more


first_imgEthiopian Airlines recently announced that it has finalised preparations to resume daily flights to Asmara, Eritrea with the most technologically advanced commercial aircraft, the Boeing 787. This follows agreements reached in Asmara between H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and President H.E. Isaias Afewerki of the State of Eritrea.Regarding the resumption of flights to Eritrea’s capital, Group CEO, Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde GebreMariam stated, “We at Ethiopian feel an immense honour and joy to resume scheduled flights to Asmara after 20 years, following the visit to Eritrea by H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. With the opening of a new chapter of peace and friendship between the two sisterly countries, we look forward to starting flights to Asmara with the B787, the most technologically advanced commercial aircraft, which gives customers unparalleled onboard comfort.”“The resumption of air links will play a critical role in boosting the overall political, economic, trade and people-to-people ties between the two sisterly countries. Thanks to Ethiopian extensive network of more than 114 international destinations in 5 continents, our flights to Asmara will avail best connectivity options to the vast Eritrean Diaspora Community across the world and will boost the flow of investment, trade and tourism into Eritrea. Very quickly, we plan to operate multiple daily services and to start cargo flights in view of the huge market potential between the two sisterly countries,” he added.Asmara is the capital and the largest city of Eritrea and is situated in Eritrea’s central Maekel Region. It is home to the Eritrean National Museum and is known for its early 20th century buildings including the Art Deco Cinema Impero, one of the world’s finest examples of Art Déco style building, Cubist Africa Pension, eclectic Orthodox Cathedral and former Opera House, the futurist Fiat Tagliero Building, the neo-Romanesque Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, neoclassical Governor’s Palace and much more.last_img read more


first_img April 22, 2013 430 Views Home sales and prices continued to grow in March, but low supply continues to temper otherwise positive news.[IMAGE]According to “”RE/MAX’s””:http://www.remax.com/ National Housing Report for March, closed transactions climbed 27.8 percent month-over-month, starting the selling season off strong. Year-over-year, sales were up 2.9 percent, making March the 21st straight month to see higher sales than the previous year.Of the 52 metro areas surveyed, RE/MAX reports 31 seeing higher sales than March 2012, with 15 posting double-digit gains, including: Honolulu, Hawaii (+43.5 percent); Albuquerque, New Mexico (+28.7 percent); and Nashville, Tennessee (+26.1 percent).In addition, the median price for all homes sold in those 52 metro areas was $170,000–a gain of 6.2 percent over February and 8.4 percent over March 2012. According to RE/MAX, median prices have shown year-over-year improvements for 14 straight months as of the most recent survey.Out of all 52 areas tracked, only two saw yearly declines in median price: Hartford, Connecticut (-2.7 percent), and Little Rock, Arkansas (-7.9 percent). On the other hand, 19 metros reported double-digit increases, including: Atlanta, Georgia (+41.9 percent); San Francisco, California (+41.4 percent); and Las Vegas, Nevada (+32.7 percent).””Home sales remain strong, and rising prices are a positive trend, but the shrinking inventory is starting to be a concern,”” said RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly. “”Hopefully, higher prices will result in more homeowners gaining increased equity, and feeling comfortable putting their home on the market.””Months Supply of homes fell to 3.8 in March, down 29.5 percent year-over-year and the lowest level recorded since RE/MAX’s National Housing Report began in August 2008. Month-over-month, supply was down 3.3 percent. Only two metros reported a rise in overall inventory from last year: Manchester, New Hampshire (+1.9 percent), and Phoenix, Arizona (+1.1 percent). Out of all the markets surveyed, San Francisco had the lowest Months Supply: 0.8.In addition, of all homes sold in March, the average Days on Market was a mere 85, down four days from February and 16 days from March 2012. The 85-day average is the 10th time in the past year that the Days on Market average has been below 90.””Real estate agents across the country report that interest in the market is high and home sales should remain strong into the summer,”” RE/MAX said in its report. “”While home prices have not returned to their pre-crisis levels, increasing numbers of homeowners are finding they now have a much better equity position.”” Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Demand For-Sale Homes Home Equity Home Prices Home Sales Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers RE/MAX Service Providers 2013-04-22 Tory Barringer in Datacenter_img RE/MAX: Prices, Sales Climb in March, Inventory Sees New Low Sharelast_img read more


first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Origination, Servicing The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported today in its quarterly Mortgage Bankers Performance Report that independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks reported a net gain of $1,447 on each loan they originated in Q1 2015, a sizable increase from a reported gain of $744 per loan in the Q4 2014.”Net production profits among independent mortgage bankers nearly doubled from the fourth quarter of 2014 and secondary marketing gains improved by 31 basis points over the fourth quarter, based largely on the increase in refinancing volume in the first quarter of 2015,” said Marina Walsh MBA’s VP of Industry Analysis. “However, total production operating expenses per loan remained a challenge, rising to $7,195 per loan in the first quarter of 2015, from $7,000 per loan in the fourth quarter of 2014.”Origination costs in the first quarter are also higher in comparison to quarters with similar production volume within the past few years, Walsh said.The performance report also found that average production volume was $473 million per company in the Q1 2015, up from $417 million per company last quarter. The volume by count per company averaged 1,917 loans in the first quarter, an increase from 1,769 loans last quarter.The average loan balance for first mortgages grew to a study high of $242,791 in Q1 2015, from $233,655 in the fourth quarter, the MBA reported. The net cost to originate was $5,597 per loan this quarter, up from $5,283 in the fourth quarter.The MBA also reported today that mortgage applications decreased 7.6 percent from one week earlier, according to its weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 29, 2015. This week’s results were adjusted due to the Memorial Day holiday.The measure of mortgage loan application volume, also called the market composite index, decreased 7.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, according to the survey. On an unadjusted basis, the index decreased 17 percent compared with the previous week. The refinance index also decreased 12 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index decreased 3 percent from one week earlier, while the unadjusted purchase index decreased 14 percent and was 14 percent higher than the same week one year ago.The refinance share of mortgage activity is at its lowest level since May 2014, dropping to 49 percent of total applications, from 51 percent the previous week, the MBA reports. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 6.1 percent of total applications.Despite all of the negative activity related to loan applications, the MBA reported that the FHA’s share of total applications increased to 14.9 percent from 14.5 percent the week prior. Meanwhile, the VA share of total applications increased to 12 percent from 11.7, and the USDA share of total applications increased to 1 percent from 0.8 percent the week prior. June 3, 2015 514 Views Sharecenter_img Mortgage Applications Survey Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Bankers Performance Report 2015-06-03 Staff Writer Independent Mortgage Banks Profits Up for Q1; Mortgage Applications Downlast_img read more


first_img Healthy Activity National Association of Realtors Pending-Home Sales 2015-09-28 Staff Writer September 28, 2015 499 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Market Studies, News The National Association of Realtors (NAR) found pending home sales fell in August as contract signings modestly declined, but they still project healthy supply and demand and price growth.Year-over-year for 12 consecutive months, pending home sales have increased.According to the NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), contract signings decreased 1.4 percent to 109.4 in August, down from 110.9 in July. However, the index is still 6.1 percent higher than 103.1 recorded in August 2014.”Pending sales have leveled off since mid–summer, with buyers being bounded by rising prices and few available and affordable properties within their budget,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Even with existing–housing supply barely budging all summer and no relief coming from new construction, contract activity is still higher than earlier this year and a year ago.”NAR also forecasts the national median existing–home price is expected to increase 5.8 percent to $220,300 in 2015. Meanwhile, Yun forecasts total existing–home sales this year to increase 7.0 percent to around 5.28 million.The PHSI in the Northeast fell 5.6 percent to 93.3 in August, but is still 8.9 percent above a year ago, while in the Midwest, the index inched down 0.4 percent to 107.4 in August, and is now 6.5 percent above last year.The South’s pending home sales dropped 2.2 percent to 121.5 in August, but are still 4.1 percent higher than last August. Pending home sales in the West increased 1.8 percent in August to 104.9, and is now 7.6 percent above a year ago.Yun noted that sales should be able to maintain their current pace, but he cautions of likely barriers that could impact housing.”The possibility of a government shutdown and any ongoing instability in the equity markets could cause some households to put off buying for the time being,”  Yun said. “Furthermore, adapting to the changes being implemented next month in the mortgage closing process could delay some sales.”Click here to view the full report.center_img Pending Home Sales Decline in August, but Remain Healthy Sharelast_img read more


first_img Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Monday that the central bank will raise the federal funds rate when economic outlook uncertainties clear the air.Yellen spoke today at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and showed that she believes that the Fed will still raise rates this year if and when the economy improves.However, the rate increase at the Fed’s June meeting, which Yellen noted would be “likely,” has been nearly ruled out due to the most recent employment data released last week.Minutes from the last meeting said, “Participants agreed that their ongoing assessments of the data and other incoming information, as well as the implications for the outlook, would determine the timing and pace of future adjustments to the stance of monetary policy. Most participants judged that if incoming data were consistent with economic growth picking up in the second quarter, labor market conditions continuing to strengthen, and inflation making progress toward the Committee’s 2 percent objective, then it likely would be appropriate for the Committee to increase the target range for the federal funds rate in June.”Janet Yellen”My colleagues and I will make our policy decisions based on what incoming information implies for the economic outlook and the risks to that outlook. What is certain is that monetary policy is not on a preset course, and that the Committee will respond to new data and reassess risks so as to best achieve our goals.” -Janet Yellen, Chair, Federal Reserve. Yellen explained in her speech today, “While the general picture of the labor market is largely positive, some people are still struggling.”She continued, “While the economy has made great strides toward the FOMC’s objective of maximum employment, somewhat less progress has been made toward our inflation objective. Inflation has run persistently below the Fed’s goal of 2 percent over the past several years even as the labor market strengthened significantly.”Yellen noted in her speech in Philadelphia that although the jobs data was “concerning,” she emphasized that “one should never attach too much significance to any single monthly report.”According to Yellen, there is “uncertainty about the economic outlook” and “we should expect to be surprised in the future just as we have been surprised in the past.” She identified four areas of uncertainty seem particularly salient at present:Trust and resilience of domestic demandEconomic situation abroadProductivity growthHow quickly inflation will move back to 2 percent.”I have explained why I expect the U.S. economy will continue to improve and why I expect that further gradual increases in the federal funds rate will probably be appropriate to best promote the FOMC’s goals of maximum employment and price stability,” Yellen said. “I have also laid out the considerable and unavoidable uncertainties that apply to both this outlook for the economy and to the appropriate path of the federal funds rate. My colleagues and I will make our policy decisions based on what incoming information implies for the economic outlook and the risks to that outlook. What is certain is that monetary policy is not on a preset course, and that the Committee will respond to new data and reassess risks so as to best achieve our goals.” Share Federal Funds Rate Federal Reserve Mortgage Rates 2016-06-06 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, Newscenter_img Fed’s Yellen Leans on Economy for Future Rate Hikes June 6, 2016 489 Views last_img read more


first_imgFiserv Aims for Faster Modification Process with CoreLogic Integration October 19, 2016 597 Views CoreLogic Fiserv Loan Modifications Servicers 2016-10-19 Seth Welborn Wisconsin-based Fiserv, Inc., a global provider of financial services technology solutions, has announced an agreement with analytics and data-enabled services provider CoreLogic to integrate CoreLogic’s IntelliMods loan modification decisioning tool with Fiserv’s comprehensive servicing platform, LoanServ. The integration is expected to reduce default risk and improve the time and cost of servicing loans.“Facing default is a truly distressing situation for a borrower,” said Joe Dombrowski, director of product management, Lending Solutions, Fiserv. “The integration of LoanServ from Fiserv with CoreLogic IntelliMods enables a servicer to quickly—in real time—and accurately evaluate borrower information and present the appropriate loan modification package, thereby reducing default risk and greatly improving borrower interaction.”The integration will mean faster processing of information necessary for a rules-based analysis of workout options for distressed borrowers to ensure compliance with all federal regulations, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac requirements. IntelliMods can deliver a decision in seconds once the user selects a modification profile that includes term extension, rate, or principal reduction. The integration of IntelliMods into LoanServ will trim days off of the process by allowing Fiserv clients to upload, qualify, process, route to borrowers, and track loan modifications at an accelerated rate. The follow-up of terms can also be automated.Once the terms of the modification are approved, IntelliMods will instantly generate the appropriate modification package. The package can then be sent to the server’s production house for printing, assembly, and shipping, or to FedEx for printing and overnight delivery to the borrower. A prepaid return envelope is included with the FedEx option, which allows servicers to track the package process using recordation using outbound and inbound tracking numbers which are incorporated into IntelliMods.“As a result of this integration with Fiserv, the CoreLogic IntelliMods platform enables servicers to take advantage of unique capabilities that provide real-time loan decisioning for Fiserv customers,” said Sapan Bafna, vice president, advanced delivery engines, CoreLogic. “IntelliMods helps reduce the workload and risk associated with the evaluation of workout options, and provides further add-on solutions for data append, property ownership reports, title reports, compliant document generation, e-delivery, e-sign and recording services.”center_img in Headlines, News, Technology Sharelast_img read more


first_img in Commentary, Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Share The Long Road to Consensus on Tax Reform & the Mortgage Interest Deduction November 9, 2017 766 Views center_img The clock keeps moving forward on tax reform as Senate Republicans on Thursday released their version of a overhaul plan while House Republicans on the Committee on Ways and Means advanced their reform bill that was initially announced last week to the House floor. The House and Senate must come in line with their tax visions to create one uniform plan to pass through Congress.While the House bill is expected to cost $1.51 trillion over a decade, the Senate version comes with the major difference of waiting to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent until 2019. This move would lower the cost of the bill by over $100 billion.Another major difference is that the Senate bill has more individual tax brackets at seven compared to the House’s four. The Senate bill merely seeks to change the estate tax, as opposed to the House bill that proposes to eliminate it entirely by 2024.The Washington Post reports that the Senate bill seeks to reduce the number of people who are required to pay the estate tax by doubling the size of the estates that are tax-exempt.Perhaps the biggest difference presented by the Senate bill impacting housing professionals is that the Senate plans to keep the mortgage interest deduction intact at $1 million while the House counterpart seeks keep existing homeowners at the deduction while capping future purchases at $500,000.Finally, CNN reports that the Senate bill seeks to potentially repeal the state and local tax deduction, known as SALT, which is a priority for moderate House Republicans to keep in the bill. The current plan for the House bill is to keep the tax deduction for property taxes up to $10,000 while repealing deductions on income or sales taxes.“While we are still reviewing the outlines of this proposal, we are watching closely for changes to current law that might leave middle-class homeowners–and homeownership broadly–in a worse place than it is today,” said National Association of Realtors President Elizabeth Mendenhall.  “We’ve already seen that a near-doubling of the standard deduction, combined with the elimination of other deductions like the state-and-local tax deduction, can turn the American Dream into a nightmare for families, as the rug is pulled out from under them. Simply preserving the mortgage interest deduction in name only isn’t enough to protect homeownership.” House HOUSING Mortgage Interest Deduction Senate Tax Reform 2017-11-09 Rachel Williamslast_img read more


first_img Share Account Executives Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions Borrowers Lenders Lending mortgage Non-Prime Non-QM 2018-05-13 Radhika Ojha Angel Oak Appoints New Accounts Executives May 13, 2018 697 Views center_img in News, Origination Atlanta-based mortgage solutions provider, Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions, has announced the addition of seven new account executives (AEs) to help the company keep pace with the growth of its non-prime business. Adding additional coverage across the country, the company appointed Mary Moehring in Sacramento, Reginald Ross in Dallas, Peter Ronga in New Jersey, Mike Dattorre in Connecticut, Rudy Pineda in inside sales, and Laurie Cullen and Mel King in Missouri.“With each passing month, more brokers looking to expand their product offering to include non-QM. These new AEs will help expand our footprint, and educate brokers and correspondents on the value of working with the leader in the non-QM space,” said Tom Hutchens, SVP of Sales and Marketing for Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions.Speaking on her appointment Moehring said, “Using sincerity and integrity as barometers for value, the organizational culture at Angel Oak thrives on innovation, provides opportunity and offers sustainability. With exponential growth on the horizon in 2018, I look forward to going from good to great at Angel Oak.”Dattorre said that he had been watching Angel Oak for two years. “Reading about all the securitizations,  I knew Angel Oak was not just leading the way in non-QM, they were doing it the right way.” Cullen said that he joined Angel Oak to help mortgage brokers bridge the gap between stringent agency guidelines and borrowers that don’t fit in agency “boxes” but are a good credit risk and deserve the opportunity to own a home.With aggressive growth plans for 2018, Angel Oak is continuing to hire AEs in markets across the country and underwriters/support staff in Atlanta and Dallas.Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions, is a wholesale and correspondent provider of non-qualified mortgage loans. Angel Oak’s team of mortgage experts continues to pioneer a fresh, common sense approach to overcoming today’s mortgage lending challenges. Operating in 38 states, their breadth of non-Agency products expands the pool of borrowers by offering partners more opportunities to grow their business and better serve their customers.last_img read more


first_imgSneak Preview: MReport’s June 2018 Cover Story Editor’s Note: This is a special sneak preview of the June issue of MReport.The full issue will be available on June 1.This year marks the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Fair Housing Act, which promotes equal housing opportunities regardless of race, color, gender, familial status, or religion. The act also protects property activities such as sale, rental, and financing of real estate from discrimination. From a mindset of merely complying with this act in 1968 to making diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives for equal housing a part of their business strategy, the industry has come a long way from when this act was first introduced.The business case for D&I becomes especially important in today’s housing market as the homebuying population continues to become more multicultural, span new generations, and break down barriers across gender lines. Today, the industry faces a new set of questions such as what can be done to create a more inclusive workforce, one that not only includes individuals from diverse backgrounds, but also gives a competitive edge in the marketplace. Most importantly, the industry is trying to answer the question of moving beyond the organization to unlock the true value of D&I.View from the TopThe accountability to encourage the participation of a diverse workforce begins at the top, and the top management of many banks has stepped up to the plate, actively taking part in and guiding D&I as the overall business strategy in America and beyond.In June 2017, 175 CEOs from leading global companies signed a pledge that started a new CEO-led alliance called the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion that focuses on creating an equal workplace for all.Today, that movement has grown to include 400 leaders, with many of the signatories including CEOs of some of the biggest banks and financial institutions. These signatories have pledged to three core commitments: continue to cultivate workplaces that support open dialogue on complex, and sometimes difficult, conversations about D&I; implement and expand unconscious bias education; and share best known—and unsuccessful—actions. To date, more than 400 actions were submitted across 19 key topic areas.Mary Mbiya, Director of D&I at Flagstar Bank, one of the many organizations that has signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge, said, “Leadership commitment is very important to D&I, and our CEO demonstrated that by signing the pledge. This set the tone from the top, which has led to tremendous engagement by our employees.”Banks like Wells Fargo are not only members of this coalition but have also supported legislations that encourage diversity beyond the workplace. “In addition to standing against the potential deportation of an estimated 800,000 young adults in the U.S., our CEO joined other business leaders in signing an open letter that supports the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program,” shared Brad Blackwell, EVP and Head of Housing Policy & Homeownership Growth Strategies at Wells Fargo Home Lending.To read the rest of the story, check out the June issue of MReport, available June 1. May 22, 2018 642 Views Diversity and Inclusion mreport sneak preview 2018-05-22 David Whartoncenter_img in News, Origination Sharelast_img read more


first_imgagentshotelsreservations Aussie cruise/tour wholesaler Cruisefusion has significantly expanded its hotel inventory offering to agents by going live with Hotelbeds’ APItude suite, providing instant access to 175,000 hotels and more than 10,000 activities.APItude is now offered using Cruisefusion’s Odysseus live dynamic packaging reservations platform unveiled last year, which allows agents to book a complete fly/cruise/stay travel package for clients and access a range of unique cruise holidays.Cruisefusion General Manager Geoff Hackett said the new platform had been very well received since its introduction and is being expanded to provide even greater product access.“This integration with Hotelbeds’ APItude provides agents with access to hotel inventory about three times greater than previous with the continued benefit of viewing live availability,” Hackett said.“Agents are enjoying the benefits of being able to process a cruise, air and hotel booking with live and dynamic pricing in the one platform.”last_img read more