The Jetstars receive joint venture approval

first_imgACCC grants approval for four Jetstar branded joint ventures. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted approval for four Asian based Jetstar branded airlines to coordinate on each other’s passenger and cargo services.The authorisation was delivered to Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Pacific, Jetstar Japan and Jetstar Hong Kong on intra-Asian routes until 31 March 2018.ACCC chairman Rod Sims said coordination will likely benefit travellers with increased access to Jetstar flights and destinations across Asia.“The ACCC considers that the coordination is likely to result in little, if any, detriment due to the fact that the Jetstar joint ventures are unlikely to be close competitors with each other with or without authorisation, nor are the joint ventures likely to be close competitors with their owners,” Mr Sims said.“More important, in most instances where overlap does occur, there are multiple competitors present. As a result the ACCC considers that the coordination is likely to result in little, if any, detriment.”Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.last_img read more

Continue reading »

No money no travel Aussies most fiscally responsible

first_imgAustralian travellers are amongst the most fiscally responsible travellers in the world, according to a new study.STA Travel research found Aussies are amongst the least likely travellers to go into debt for a holiday, with travellers in the US and UK twice as willing to go into debt to book overseas trips than Australians.In addition, only 55 percent of Aussie trips booked with STA were made on a credit card, compared to 97 percent in the US and 95 percent booked in the UK.  Meanwhile, 66 percent of Australian respondents said they would ‘raid the piggy bank and pay cash’ to book a trip, while 21 percent said they would be willing to go into debt for their travels.STA Travel Australia managing director David Green explained research found those booking via credit cards were doing so to lock in cheaper prices.Accommodating to the money savvy Aussie traveller, STA has launched a new ‘Lay-By’ program, which allows Australians to lock in their holiday at cheaper booking prices and pay them off over time, without using a credit card. STA’s new Lay-By program to assist money savvy Aussies. Image: commons.wikimedia Source = e-Travel Blackboard: NJlast_img read more

Continue reading »

Boeing sees demand in China for 6330 airplanes

first_imgBoeing, China’s leading provider of commercial airplanes, today projected a demand in the country for 6,330 new airplanes over the next 20 years.Boeing released its annual China Current Market Outlook (CMO) in Beijing, estimating the total value of those new airplanes at $950 billion.“Despite the current volatility in China’s financial market, we see strong growth in the country’s aviation sector over the long term,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.“Over the next 20 years, China’s commercial airplane fleet will nearly triple: from 2,570 airplanes in 2014 to 7,210 airplanes in 2034, with more than 70 percent of these deliveries accommodating growth.”As China becomes the world’s largest domestic air travel market, Boeing is forecasting demand for 4,630 single-aisle airplanes through 2034.This sector is driven by growth in new carriers and low-cost airlines in developing and emerging markets, as well as continuous expansion in established airlines.In fact, the efficiency and flexibility of single-aisle aircraft like the 737 helps Chinese carriers connect and stimulate growth along the Economic Belt as part of the One Belt, One Road Strategy.Tinseth said the Next-Generation 737-800 and new 737 MAX 8 – Boeing products at the heart of the single-aisle market – offer airlines the best fuel efficiency, reliability and capability.China’s low-cost carriers are currently responsible for about 8 percent of single-aisle market demand, rising to 25-30 percent of demand by 2034, Tinseth noted.“The 737 MAX 200 will have the lowest fuel costs – 20 percent per seat – versus today’s most efficient single-aisle airplanes,” Tinseth said.“737 MAX fuel efficiency and the 737’s position as the industry’s most reliable airplane offer Chinese low-cost carriers competitive advantages as they grow new business.”Boeing forecasts that the widebody segment will require 1,510 new airplanes, led by small and medium widebody airplanes such as the 777-300ER (Extended Range), 777X and the 787 Dreamliner.Tinseth stressed that Chinese airlines have more than doubled their long-haul international capacity over the past three years, in large part following the delivery of 747-8 Intercontinental airplanes to Air China and 777-300ERs and 787s to several leading Chinese carriers.“Enabled by China’s growing middle-class population, new visa policies and the underlying strength of its economic growth, this expansion is expected to continue, and in fact accelerate,” Tinseth said. More information on the China forecast hereSource = Boeinglast_img read more

Continue reading »

THAI holds 2016 Annual General Shareholders Meeting

first_imgSource = THAI Airways International Thai AirwaysTHAI holds 2016 Annual General Shareholders MeetingAir Force Convention Hall – Mr. Areepong Bhoocha-oom, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI), presided over the Company’s Annual General Shareholders’ Meeting 2016, with the attendance of THAI Board of Directors, THAI Management and shareholders, covering the following agenda:1. Operating Results for 2015At THAI’s 2016 Annual General Shareholders’ Meeting, the operating results for 2015 (January-December 2015) were acknowledged. Since the first quarter of 2015 THAI implemented the Transformation Plan approved by the State Enterprise Policy Committee on 26 January 2015. The Transformation Plan in the first phase aimed to stop the bleeding by reducing flight frequency and/or discontinuing non-profitable routes, cutting unnecessary cost items, generating revenue by adjusting sales strategies, increasing ancillary revenues and enhancing product and services competitiveness. This included personnel cost restructure in order to reduce long-term human resource costs in the long run.THAI received seven new aircraft while decommissioned 15 aircraft following the fleet rationalization strategy resulting in 95 aircraft outstanding as of 31 December 2015 which was a decrease from 102 aircraft in 2014. Nevertheless, the network rationalization strategy resulting in adjusting flight frequency and change of aircraft to match the passenger demand caused more effectiveness on aircraft utilization causing (a) increasing Available Seat-Kilometer: ASK by 0.6%, (b) increasing Revenue Passenger-Kilometer: RPK by 6.5%, (c) increasing cabin factor to an average of 72.9% comparing with 68.9% in 2014, and (d) increasing in number of passengers carried to 21.25 million passengers or an increase of 11.3% from the previous year.Strictly following the strategic and transformation plans which were closely monitored by the Management and Board of Directors, THAI and its subsidiaries reported a 2015 operating loss of THB 1,304 million from airline business, compared with THB 21,715 million or 93.4% improvement from the same period the previous year due mainly to 11.2% total expense reduction on the back of fuel expense and non-fuel expense resulting from cost management initiatives. Total revenue declined by 1.2% from 2014 mainly from 1.5% reduction in passenger revenue and 21.0% reduction in freight revenue. The main reasons for revenue decline were due to high competition, drop in fuel surcharge and strength in the Baht compared to major currencies.In 2015, THAI and its subsidiaries had gained THB 3,512 million on foreign currency exchange. THAI incurred a THB 4,167 million one-time cost from the Transformation Plan and THB 12,157 million in aircraft and asset impairments. Including all these items, the total net loss for 2015 was THB 13,047 million. Loss attributable to owners of the parent amounted to THB 13,068 million. Loss per share was THB 5.99 which was a lower loss than in 2014 by THB 1.16 (16.2%).As of 31 December 2015, total assets were THB 302,471 million, a decrease of THB 4,796 million (1.6%) from 31 December 2014, mainly due to impairment loss of aircraft. Total liabilities as of 31 December 2015 totaled THB 269,545 million, which was an increase of THB 3,574 million (1.3%) as of 31 December 2014. Total shareholders’ equity amounted to THB 32,926 million, which was a decrease of THB 8,370 million (20.3%) as compared to 31 December 2014.2. Distribution of DividendAt the 2016 Annual General Shareholders’ Meeting, the shareholders approved to suspend payment of dividend in reflection of the Company’s financial performance in 2015. The suspension of dividend payment is in accordance with the Company’s dividend policy providing that the Company shall distribute “not less than 25 percent of the consolidated net profit before gains or losses on foreign currency exchange and shall also be subject to the future investment plans, necessity and appropriateness.”3. Selection of Board of DirectorsAt the 2016 Annual General Shareholders’ Meeting, the following Directors retired by rotation: 1. Police General Chakthip Chaijinda2. Mr. Rathapol Bhakdibhumi3. Mr. Kanit Sangsubhan4. Mr. Weerawong Chittmittrapap5. Mr. Somkiat SirichatchaiAt the Annual General Shareholders’ Meeting, the following five Directors were appointed for another term:1. Police General Chakthip Chaijinda2. Mr. Rathapol Bhakdibhumi3. Mr. Kanit Sangsubhan4. Mr. Weerawong Chittmittrapap5. Mr. Somkiat SirichatchaiAttending THAI’s Annual General Shareholders Meeting were 1,831 shareholders, representing 1,595,489,723 shares.Furthermore, the Company reported progress on the transformation plan 2015 that consists of three stages, as follows:1. Stop the bleeding2. Strength building3. Sustainable growthIn 2015, six strategies were implemented, as follows:1. Route network strategy2. Fleet strategy: by selling decommissioned aircraft3. Commercial strategy: to increase revenue efficiency4. Operations and cost strategy5. Human resource management6. Manage the Company and subsidiaries as well as business unitsIn 2016, the Company’s focus is on “strength building” in order to improve its abilities to compete by concentrating on the following four areas:. Generate revenue. Effective cost reduction. Build sustainable capability. Customer service excellence THAIbook your airfares herelast_img read more

Continue reading »

Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort celebrates 25th anniversary

first_imgSource = Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort celebrates 25th anniversaryOaks Cypress Lakes Resort celebrates 25th anniversaryOne of the Hunter Valley’s most popular resort properties, Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort, is commemorating a very special milestone in style this month, by taking to the skies over the renowned wine region.The sprawling 25-acre Resort is celebrating its 25th anniversary with the launch of its very own hot air balloon, which is flying high to mark the occasion.In partnership with Balloon Aloft, the branded Oaks Hotels & Resorts balloon recently made its debut at the annual Hunter Valley Balloon Fiesta, where a kaleidoscope of brightly coloured balloons floated above the Hunter at sunrise, creating a sky-high spectacle for all to see.Following on from the four-day event, the Oaks balloon will now become a permanent addition to Balloon Aloft’s fleet over the next five years, offering Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort guests and other travellers the chance to experience the magic of hot air ballooning for themselves.Guests will soar high above Australia’s oldest wine region and take in breathtaking panoramas of the Hunter’s native hinterland, verdant vineyards, charming cellar doors and manicured golf greens from the ultimate vantage point.Prices start at the special rate of $245 per person and include a sunrise balloon flight, delicious gourmet breakfast at Peterson House, champagne celebration and sparkling wine tasting, and can be added to accommodation bookings at the Resort.Mr Dillip Rajakarier, Chief Executive Officer of Oaks Hotels & Resorts, said the hotelier was delighted to celebrate 25 successful years in operation.“Cypress Lakes Resort has enjoyed a rich 25 year history as one of the Hunter’s most sought after accommodation, golf, wedding and conferencing destinations.“Over the years, the Resort has welcomed thousands of guests through its doors, and we are so grateful for the loyal support we continue to receive from holidaymakers and business delegates alike who choose to stay with us when visiting the Hunter Valley.“The Resort has transformed significantly since first opening in 1992, with close to $20 million injected into revitalising the property’s villa accommodation, championship golf course, conferencing and events precinct, and leisure facilities. We are extremely proud of the refreshed product we can now offer our guests and look forward to another successful 25 years in business.”Located just two hours’ drive from Sydney and close to the Hunter Valley’s most popular attractions and experiences, Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort boasts 136 villas in a range of One, Two, Three and Four Bedroom configurations, and features three swimming pools, tennis courts, a championship golf course, onsite restaurant and bar, gymnasium, and seven versatile function venues.To book, visit http://www.minorhotels.com/en/oaks/oaks-cypress-lakes-resortlast_img read more

Continue reading »

Silverseas Silver Cloud embarks on inaugural expedition voyage

first_imgSilversea’s Silver Cloud embarks on inaugural expedition voyageSilversea’s Silver Cloud embarks on inaugural expedition voyageFresh from an AU$52.8 million (US$40 million) refurbishment and conversion to an ice-class expedition ship, Silversea’s luxury Silver Cloud set sail this week from Buenos Aires on her first-ever expedition voyage. Over the course of 16 days, the newly reimagined ship will explore the iceberg sculptures, calving glaciers, and rare and majestic wildlife of Antarctica. Her guests will enjoy such signature comforts as spacious all-suite accommodations with butler service, open bars and five dining options offering sumptuous cuisine, including the only Relais & Châteaux restaurant at sea.“We are proud to celebrate this momentous occasion. Silver Cloud launched the Silversea fleet on its path to redefine luxury travel and she is now set to embark on a new path as we continue to push the boundaries of innovation and luxury in expedition cruising,” said Roberto Martinoli, Silversea’s CEO.The completely transformed Silver Cloud accommodates 254 guests (200 in polar waters) in exquisitely updated suites, most featuring a private veranda. Her elegantly redesigned public spaces include the new Tor’s Observation Lounge, offering commanding views of the scenery, and refreshed boutiques stocked with essential expedition gear. Other amenities rarely found on an expedition ship include a heated, resort-style pool, the all-new Zàgara Spa, and the new Photo Studio, where a manager, state-of-the-art equipment and professional photo editing software are available to assist guests with their photography needA fleet of 16 Zodiacs provides unprecedented opportunity for up-close exploration, while 10 kayaks offer a truly personalised experience of nature in the polar realms. Depending on the region, between 20 and 22 passionate and dedicated Expedition Team members are always at hand to share their considerable knowledge and insights. They give lectures in the multi-tiered Explorer Lounge, run workshops, lead Zodiac and kayak trips, and guide nature walks — all of which are complimentary.Following her first season in Antarctica, Silver Cloud will trace a path up Africa’s seldom-seen western coast to Northern Europe and the Norwegian Arctic, where she will spend the summer sailing glacier-filled bays and fjords in search of polar bears, whales, walruses and other amazing wildlife. Then, a series of expeditions to Iceland, Greenland, Canada, and Central and South America will culminate with a return to Ushuaia for another season of exhilarating Antarctic expeditions.For further details on Silver Cloud expeditions, please visit www.silversea.com/ships/silver-cloud-expedition.html.For more information contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on 1300 306 872 or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit www.silversea.comSource = Silversea Cruiseslast_img read more

Continue reading »

Vietnam Airlines receives two awards at World Travel Awards 2018

first_imgVietnam Airlines receives two awards at World Travel Awards 2018Vietnam Airlines has been named the World’s Leading Cultural Airline and World’s Leading Airline – Premium Economy Class at this year’s prestigious World Travel Awards gala ceremony, held in Lisbon, Portugal on 1 December 2018.The World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all key sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries. Each year the World Travel Awards covers the globe with its Grand Tour – a series of regional gala ceremonies to recognise excellence within each continent, culminating in a Grand Final at the end of the year, which this year was held at the historic Pátio da Galé in Lisbon, Portugal. Today, the World Travel Awards™ brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of industry excellence.Vietnam Airlines has retained these dual awards for two consecutive years, echoing its commitment to bringing customers the highest quality service, in line with the airline’s impressive four-Star Skytrax ranking.Mr. Le Hong Ha, Executive Vice President, Vietnam Airlines, says:  “It is an honor for Vietnam Airlines to be recognised by the World Travel Awards for the third consecutive year. Whilst one award reinforces our award-winning Premium Economy, the other recognizes the portrayal of the distinctive Vietnamese culture throughout the total passenger journey. Taking the top spot in two categories reflects the airline’s ongoing efforts to provide quality consistency and motivate us to reach further.”Mr. Graham Cooke, Founder and President of the World Travel Awards, added, “Vietnam Airlines has demonstrated phenomenal dedication to improving its customer service and upgrading its fleet, and I am delighted that it has been acknowledged by both the travel trade and the public by being voted ‘World’s Leading Airline – Premium Economy Class’ and ‘World’s Leading Cultural Airline’.”Earlier this year, Vietnam Airlines was certified with a four-star airline rating by prestigious international air transport rating organisation Skytrax for the third consecutive year. Its Premium Economy class, available on both the state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 on several international routes, offering generous legroom as well as spacious reclining seats for ultimate comfort.Vietnam Airlines’ four-star services are characterised by a distinctive touch of Vietnam’s enchanting traditional culture. From Pho – a tasty traditional dish served on board – to the Ao dai worn by cabin crew and the signature Golden Lotus logo, passengers can easily recognise Vietnam’s most iconic features in the airline’s products and services, both in-flight and on-the-ground. Earlier this year, Vietnam Airlines further enhance inflight dining experience by appointing Luke Nguyen as its Global Cuisine Ambassador. Luke will reimagine the in-flight menus, drawing inspiration and influences from the rich Vietnamese culture and cuisine around the world. This partnership comes from a shared ethos of respecting cultural values by designing, preparing and presenting authentic Vietnamese flavours in harmony with on-board dishes.Source = Vietnam Airlineslast_img read more

Continue reading »

Lufthansa to fly Airbus A350900 to Mumbai this summer

first_imgLufthansa Group is all set to deploy its newest long-haul aircraft, the Airbus A350-900 to India’s financial capital during the summer schedule of 2017. Mumbai, from April 16 onwards would become the third destination worldwide to welcome the aircraft. Flying on Lufthansa’s Munich (MUC) to Mumbai (MUM) route, the A350-900 will offer Mumbai area residents travel choices and better connections to Lufthansa’s global network.Lufthansa Group had recently marked a key milestone in Indian aviation by starting the first commercial operations of A350-900 to Delhi.The A350-900 aircraft is one of the world’s most environmentally friendly long-haul aircraft and in comparison with similar types of aircraft it consumes 25% less fuel and produces 25% fewer emissions. The aircraft is configured to seat 293 passengers with 48 in Business Class, 21 in Premium Economy and 224 in Economy Class.Additionally, Lufthansa is the first airline worldwide to use a range of different settings for the onboard lighting of the A350-900 which have designed to fit with the day and night-time biorhythms of the passengers by providing the right type of light at the right time. Altogether, the new A350-900 LED technology can provide around 24 different lighting settings.last_img read more

Continue reading »

Wyndham makes its mark on Soft Brands with the Trademark Hotel Collection

first_imgAs a part of strengthening its position Wyndham Hotel Group, with an unparalleled portfolio of more than 8,000 hotels globally has launched a new independent concept for upper-midscale-and-above hoteliers: The Trademark Hotel Collection.Trademark is designed for independent entrepreneurs who have built an iconic hotel and are looking to boost its distinctive legacy with unmatched support. The brand invites hoteliers who operate landmark 3-4 star hotels to maintain their individual spirit while taking advantage of Wyndham’s scale, distribution, services and loyalty programme.Lisa Checchio, Vice President- of Brand Marketing and Insights, Wyndham Hotel Group, said, “A trademark is a symbol of character, an emblem of individuality. Trademark isn’t just another brand, it’s a rally cry for independent entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to make their own mark. The Trademark Hotel Collection is the next step in our mission to flip the script on existing expectations and champion all hoteliers by offering them an independent choice outside the current luxury and upscale options available.”The brand’s pipeline includes more than 50 hotels and interested owners of both existing hotels and new construction opportunities in top urban markets around the world. The collection becomes Wyndham Hotel Group’s 19th hotel brand, positioned among the company’s smart and stylish brands alongside TRYP by Wyndham and the company’s newly acquired Dazzler and Esplendor brands which embody boutique and lifestyle travel experiences.Philippe Bijaoui, Chief Development Officer-EMEA for Wyndham Hotel Group, said, “Launching a soft brand that supports independent hoteliers was a logical step in our quest to ensure there is a Wyndham hotel for every traveller. Combining the support of a world-class hospitality organisation with the flexibility to meet the needs of independently-minded, entrepreneurial owners, the launch of Trademark makes Wyndham the only hotel group focused on enabling independent hoteliers to thrive in the midscale-and-above segment.”last_img read more

Continue reading »

Freddie Taps Treasury for 146M Despite Net Income Gains

first_imgFreddie,Freddie Taps Treasury for $146M, Despite Net Income Gains Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2012-03-09 Esther Cho “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ reported a gain in net income for the fourth quarter and less losses overall for the year 2011 compared to the previous year, according to the GSE’s fourth quarter and year 2011 “”report””:http://www.freddiemac.com/investors/er/pdf/2011er-4q11_release.pdf released today.[IMAGE] Freddie Mac reported a net income of $619 million for the 2011 fourth quarter. During the third quarter, a net loss of $4.4 billion was reported for the third quarter, which ended September 30, 2011.Freddie Mac will still need to request $146 million from the U.S. Treasury for the company’s fourth quarter net worth deficit due to “”senior preferred dividends paid of $1.7 billion,”” the report stated. For the 2011 third quarter, $6 billion was requested after the GSE reported its largest quarterly loss in over a year. [COLUMN_BREAK]The report stated that the shift from a net loss for the third quarter to net income for the fourth quarter of 2011 is due to lower derivative losses as a result of less borrowers refinancing into lower, long-term interest rates. According to the report, Freddie Mac has requested $7.6 billion from the Treasury for the year 2011 and 13 billion in 2010. “”We continue to take actions to protect the investment American taxpayers have made in Freddie Mac and build a stronger foundation for the future housing finance system,”” said Freddie Mac CEO Charles E. Haldeman, Jr. in the report. “”This included cutting about $180 million in expenses over the last two years, and continuing to build a strong new book of business ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô which now accounts for about half of our single-family portfolio.””Since the beginning of 2008, Freddie Mac has recorded a provision for credit losses of $73.2 billion, with the majority of the losses associated with loans originated between 2005 to 2008, according to the report. As of December 31, 2011, loans originated in 2005 to 2008 represented 32 percent of the single-family portfolio, while loans originated after 2008 accounted for 51 percent.Since 2009, the Freddie Mac has funded approximately one out of every four single-family home loans, according to the report. In addition, over the same time period, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and Ginnie Mae collectively have guaranteed about 90 percent of single-family loans originated in the U.S.center_img March 9, 2012 472 Views in Origination, Secondary Marketlast_img read more

Continue reading »

Prices Crawl Up 01 in December Index

first_img The Data & Analytics division of Black Knight Financial Services released on Monday its latest Home Price Index (HPI), noting an increase of 0.1 percent in home prices to $232,000 for the month of December.The figure represents the price of non-distressed sales by taking into account price discounts for REO and short sales.Prices rose this past year from December 2012, when the HPI was $214,000, an 8.4 percent change.The $232,000 figure cited by the report is a 13.9 percent drop from the HPI’s peak of $270,000 in June 2006.Fourteen of the 20 largest states saw marginal month-over-month home price declines.The largest states experienced varying degrees of home price changes: California experienced no change; Florida rose 0.6 percent; New Jersey fell 0.1 percent; New York rose 0.7 percent; and Texas rose 0.4 percent.The states with the biggest increases in home prices were New York (0.7 percent), Florida (0.6 percent), and Oklahoma, Texas, and Nebraska (each 0.4 percent).States with the largest decrease in home prices include Alaska—down 0.8 percent—with North Dakota, North Carolina, Hawaii, and Washington each dropping 0.4 percent.Black Knight’s HPI release comes a day before the scheduled release of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, which measures price changes in 20 metros nationwide. A consensus estimate among economists surveyed by Bloomberg calls for a monthly price increase of 0.6 percent (seasonally adjusted) in December, with yearly gains around 13.3 percent. Prices Crawl Up 0.1% in December Index Share February 24, 2014 440 Views center_img Black Knight Financial Services Home Prices S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices 2014-02-24 Colin Robins in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, Newslast_img read more

Continue reading »

Obama Cheers Recovery in State of the Union Preview

first_img In a 30-minute speech Thursday morning at Central High School in Phoenix, President Barack Obama spoke of the progress the housing market has made since 2009 and measures his administration is taking to help everyone achieve homeownership.Specifically, Obama addressed the topic of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) lowering its mortgage insurance premiums down from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent, a move that is expected to save homebuyers an average of about $900 per year in mortgage payments. That move will help the economy as a whole and not just housing, the president said.”If they’re saving $900, that’s money that’s going to be going throughout the economy,” Obama said. “Over the next three years, these lower premiums will give hundreds of thousands of more families a chance to own their own home. It will help making owning a home more affordable for millions more households overall in the coming years.”Keep in mind hundreds of thousands of new buyers is going to mean a healthier housing market for everybody. Even though you’ve already got your mortgage or own your own home, if your neighbors are buying more homes, that’s lifting the home market here, which means the value of your home starts going up, and that’s good for you. It means fewer foreclosure signs as people fix up old properties. It means more construction, which means more jobs, which means a better economy.”Some analysts expected that Obama would not bring up the hot topic of the elimination of government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but he did briefly mention it. The two enterprises received a combined $188 billion bailout in 2008 at the time they were taken under conservatorship of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), but have since returned to profitability.”The bottom line is we don’t think there’s anything wrong with pursuing a profit, but we want to make clear that the days of making bad bets on the back of taxpayer money and then getting bailed out afterwards, we’re not going back to that,” Obama said. “We’ve worked too hard, and everything we’ve done to heal the housing markets, we want to preserve. But we do want to make sure that the housing market is strong and that responsible homeowners can get a good deal, or people who have saved, done the right thing and now are looking to buy their first home, we want to make sure they can get a little bit of help.”The president warned that the new lower FHA mortgage insurance premium rates are for responsible buyers, and he cautioned the audience against borrowing to buy things they could not afford—and he spoke of actions taken against lenders who have pressured borrowers to accept loans they could not afford. He specifically mentioned the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and the record settlements that have been reached with financial institutions in the last year for engaging in predatory lending practices that led up to the financial crisis.The overall progress of the housing market in the last five to six years is not an accident, Obama said, but rather it is what happens when policies put middle class families first. And while much progress has been made, he said there is still a lot of work to do.”There are workers today with jobs who didn’t have jobs last year,” he said near the end of his speech. “There are families who’ve got health insurance who didn’t have health insurance before. There are students who are in college who didn’t think they could afford it before. There are heroes who have served tour after tour who are finally home with their families. There are auto workers who are building great American cars now when they thought that those plants were going to shut down. America is coming back, and the key, Arizona, is for us all to work together so that make sure we keep it going.” in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Share Obama Cheers Recovery in State of the Union Previewcenter_img January 8, 2015 542 Views Barack Obama Recovery 2015-01-08 Seth Welbornlast_img read more

Continue reading »

The Ultimate Comeback—Pending Home Sales Exceed Expectations

first_img Mortgage contract signings began 2016 on a low note, falling to their lowest level in a year after hitting its highest average year in nearly a decade due to two pressing factors that are keeping buyers out of the market: inventory and home prices.However, despite the rough start to the year, pending home sales recently rose to their highest level in seven months and are still higher than a year ago.The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Monday that its Pending Home Sales Index rose 3.5 percent to 109.1 in February from a downwardly revised 105.4 in January and is now up 0.7 percent from 108.3 in February 2015.The NAR noted that although the index has now increased year-over-year for 18 consecutive months, the annual gain last month was the smallest.NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “After some volatility this winter, the latest data is encouraging in that a decent number of buyers signed contracts last month, lured by mortgage rates dipping to their lowest levels in nearly a year and a modest, seasonal uptick in inventory. Looking ahead, the key for sustained momentum and more sales than last spring is a continuous stream of new listings quickly replacing what’s being scooped up by a growing pool of buyers. Without adequate supply, sales will likely plateau.”Source: National Association of Home BuildersPending home sales gains were led by a substantial increase in the Midwest. In addition, all major regions except for the Northeast saw an increase in contract activity in February.According to the report, the index fell in the Northeast by 0.2 percent to 94.0 in February, but is still 12.6 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest, the index increased 11.4 percent to 112.6 in February, and is now 2.5 percent above February 2015. Pending sales in the South increased 2.1 percent to an index of 122.4 in February but are 0.4 percent lower than last February. The index in the West climbed 0.7 percent in February to 96.4, but is now 6.2 percent below a year ago.Existing-home sales suffered last month due to the continuous imbalance of extremely low inventory levels and rapid home price appreciation.The NAR reported that existing-home sales decreased 7.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million in February from 5.47 million in January. However, the report noted that despite last month’s large decline, sales remain 2.2 percent higher than a year ago. Existing-home sales do not appear to be slowing down home prices appreciation. According to the NAR, the median existing-home price in February was $210,800, up 4.4 percent from last February’s median price of $201,900. This marks the 48th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.”Any further moderation in prices would be a welcome development this spring,” Yun stated. “Particularly in the West, where it appears a segment of would-be buyers are becoming wary of high asking prices and stiff competition.”The NAR expects existing-homes sales this year to be around 5.38 million, up 2.4 percent from 2015. The national median existing-home price for all of this year is expected to increase between 4 and 5 percent.Chief Economist of Realtor.com, Jonathan Smoke noted, “Low inventories and tight credit will limit the gains we will see in 2016. However, given the level of pent-up demand evident in web activity and stated buyer intentions for 2016, we should see this spring materialize as the busiest season of sales since 2006.”Click here to view the full report. March 28, 2016 557 Views Mortgage Contracts National Association of Realtors Pending-Home Sales 2016-03-28 Staff Writer Sharecenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News, Origination The Ultimate Comeback—Pending Home Sales Exceed Expectationslast_img read more

Continue reading »

Why are Millennials Locked Out of the Housing Market

first_imgWhy are Millennials Locked Out of the Housing Market? April 6, 2016 629 Views Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Market Studies, Newscenter_img Home Builders Housing Market Millennials Realtor.com 2016-04-06 Staff Writer There are two factors keeping millennials out of the housing market: rising home prices and a lack of  affordable, newly constructed homes for sale.A recent report from Realtor.com found that home builders, who could create an entire new stock of affordable, entry-level homes, do not plan to do so any time soon.”Much like home buyers themselves, builders are still struggling to recover from the housing crash of ’08—dealing with lenders who don’t want to lend and higher costs for all things housing-related,” the report said.Robert Dietz, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders expects construction on single-family homes to be up about 15 percent year-over-year. The Department of Commerce reported that about 647,900 new, single-family homes were completed in 2015.“Builders are creating larger, more expensive homes for older buyers” with the money to burn, Dietz says.Home building rebounded recently with a surge in single-family home construction, inducing starts, permits, and completions, signaling newfound confidence in the housing market and economy.The U.S. Census Bureau and the HUD jointly released new residential construction statistics for February 2016, which showed single-family housing starts bounced back more than expected in February to their highest level in five months, led by a the largest jump in single-family units in nine years.According to the data, February’s housing starts rose 5.2 percent to an annual rate of 1,178,000, compared to January’s estimate of 1,120,000. Year-over-year housing starts experienced major gains, rising 30.9 percent compared to the February 2015 rate of 900,000. Overall starts have not been this high since September 2015 when the figure was 1,207,000.On the singe-family side, housing starts were at a rate of 822,000 in February, up 7.2 percent from the revised January figure of 767,000. Single-family starts have not been this high since November 2007 when they were at 833,000.”The very positive single-family report further supports other housing and general economic reports that the housing recovery continues unabated,” said David Crowe, National Association of Home Builders Former Chief Economist and SVP. “Low mortgage rates, increases in employment, continued US economic expansion and growing pent up demand particularly among existing home owners are supporting more single-family home building.”last_img read more

Continue reading »

CFPB Sees Drop in MortgageRelated Complaints

first_img in Data, Headlines, News CFPB Sees Drop in Mortgage-Related Complaints March 28, 2017 513 Views CFPB Data Mortgage Complaints 2017-03-28 Mirasha Browncenter_img The volume of mortgage-related complaints received by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has declined, according to the CFPB’s most recent Monthly Complaint Report, which tabulated consumer complaints from December 2016-February 2017.  The report also states that the Bureau has handled roughly 116,200 credit card complaints since July 2011.According to the CFPB, debt collection, credit reporting, and mortgage were the top three most-complained about consumer financial products and services, collectively representing about 62 percent of complaints submitted in February 2017. Student loan complaints showed the greatest percentage increase from December 2015 – February 2016 (551 complaints) to December 2016 – February 2017 (2,913 complaints), representing about a 429 percent increase.The report stated that there were 3,718 mortgage-related complaints—which is a -10 percent change from last month’s report, which recorded 4,195 mortgage-related complaints.The most mortgage-related complaints were reported for Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, and Capital One. Wells Fargo also saw the biggest increase in overall complaints (47 percent), followed by TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.One east  coast city and state stood out among the rest when it came to reporting complaints. As of March 1, consumers in Massachusetts were responsible for submitting 20,600 of the 1,136,000 complaints that the CFPB has handled. Approximately 15,400 of those complaints came from consumers who reside in the Boston metro area.Complaints related to mortgages accounted for 26 percent of all complaints submitted by consumers from Massachusetts, while mortgage complaints account for 24 percent of complaints submitted to the Bureau nationally.Overall, complaints increased the most in Montana (53 percent), Georgia (53 percent), Missouri (39 percent), and South Carolina (39 percent), and Louisiana (31 percent) from February 2016 to February 2017. The biggest declines were in West Virginia (-6 percent), Kansas (-3 percent), and New Hampshire (-3 percent).The CFPB has handled more than 1.1 million complaints since the beginning of the month. To see the CFPB’s full monthly report, click here. Sharelast_img read more

Continue reading »

Appraisal Institute Announces 2018 VP

first_img The Appraisal Institute, the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers, recently announced Jefferson L. Sherman, MAI, AI-GRS, of Highland Heights, Ohio as its 2018 VP.Sherman’s term, which spans one year, will begin on January 1, 2018, followed by one year each as President Elect, President, and Immediate Past President. He will serve on the Appraisal Institute’s Executive Committee and policymaking Board of Directors all four years and chair the Finance Committee and National Nominating Committee in 2018 and 2021 respectively.“It is an honor to be elected to serve the Appraisal Institute and its professionals,” Sherman said. “I am humbled to be offered this opportunity, and I look forward to working with my fellow valuation professionals to make the most of it.”Sherman is an industry veteran with 44 years of experience including being a broker in both Colorado and Michigan. His practice is concentrated on the eminent domain field with an emphasis on litigation review. Sherman-Andrzejczyk Group, Inc., Sherman’s firm, is compromised of 6 people, including his son. He has served as President of the Battle Creek Board of Realtors twice and was named 1982 Realtor of the year.In Ohio, Sherman served twice as an Appraisal Institute Chapter President and worked on two successful chapter merger teams. He has served on the National Board of Directors from 2000-2002, Vice Chair of the Finance Committee in 2002, Nominating Committee in 2002, Education Committee from 2010 to 2013 and International Relations Committee in 2016. He currently serves on the Strategic Planning Committee and has served almost continuously on the Region V committee since 1993, including a number of years at its parliamentarian.Since 1992, Sherman has taught two courses for the Appraisal Institute in 10 states and Saudi Arabia. in Government, Headlines, News Appraisal Institute Announces 2018 VP September 1, 2017 561 Views center_img Appraisal Institute 2017-09-01 Brianna Gilpin Sharelast_img read more

Continue reading »

Home Sales Have a Strong Summer

first_img It might be a tight housing market with rising prices, but sales in July were up almost 2 percent year-over-year, according to the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report. July was only the second month this year to have year-over-year sales increases, but the 28th in a row to see prices go up from a year earlier, the report said.According to the report, 37 of the 54 metros posted sales increases over July 2017. Forty-two of the 54 posted a year-over-year drop in inventory, and days on market dropped to 41, four days less than last July.While the national average for days on market was 41, homes in Seattle moved at an average of 19 days in July, followed by Omaha at 20. On the other side of the coin, Augusta, Maine, saw houses stay on the market for an average at 89 days. Miami was a close second, with an average 83 days on market in July.The report revealed that though the overall average number of home sales in July was up from a year ago, it was down 8.7 percent from June. The biggest year-over-year increases in sales happened in Billings, Montana, which saw a 27.4 percent uptick in homes sold over July 2017. Tulsa, Richmond, and Pittsburgh saw year-over-year increases between 11 and 13 percent.“Because we’ve faced challenging inventories and increasing home prices for some time now, a seasonal slowdown that rebalances the market a bit might actually be a positive in the months ahead,” said Adam Contos, CEO at RE/MAX. “It could level affordability to some extent and create more opportunity for buyers who’ve been priced out of hot markets.”Median sale prices in July hit $250,575, which was up 4.4 percent from July 2017, but down 3.1 percent from June. Inventory closed July at 2.9 months, the smallest total ever recorded for July, according to the report.San Francisco, Boise, Denver, and Salt Lake City had inventories of less than two months in July.Wilmington, Delaware (down 2.2 percent) and Trenton, New Jersey (down 0.7 percent) were the only two cities posting sales price decreases since July 2017. Four metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages. The largest was Boise, where prices spiked almost 19 percent. Omaha, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City all saw median prices increase by more than 12 percent. Demand Home Prices Home Sales homes HOUSING Inventory RE/MAX Supply 2018-08-19 Radhika Ojha August 19, 2018 678 Views Home Sales Have a Strong Summercenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Sharelast_img read more

Continue reading »

US Florida expects typical avocado volume de

first_img U.S.: Florida expects “typical” avocado volume, de … U.S. avocado market remains strong following price … Peruvian Police make arrest after spate of avocado … March 24 , 2019 Avocados imported from Mexico and distributed by Henry Avocado are not subject to the recall and may continue to be sold and consumed.Henry Avocado Corporation has voluntarily recalled California-grown whole avocados sold in bulk at retail stores after environmental sampling tests at its packing facility came up positive for Listeria monocytogenes.The tests were part of a routine government inspection at Henry Avocado’s facility, leading the company to take this action “out of an abundance of caution” due to the potential fruit could have been contaminated by the bacteria.When the announcement was made on March 23 there had been no reported illnesses associated with this recall. “We are voluntarily recalling our products and taking every action possible to ensure the safety of consumers who eat our avocados,” says Henry Avocado president Phil Henry.The recalled products – California-grown conventional and organic avocados — were packed at Henry Avocado’s packing facility in California and distributed in Arizona, California, Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin. All shipments from the packing facility are subject to the recall, with Henry Avocado noting packing did not begin at the California facility until late January 2019.center_img Avocados imported from Mexico and distributed by Henry Avocado are not subject to the recall and may continue to be sold and consumed.Henry Avocado is contacting all affected customers to confirm that the recalled products are immediately removed from store shelves. For conventional products purchased at retail, consumers can identify the recalled products by the “Bravocado” stickers.Henry Avocado organic products do not carry the “Bravocado” label on the sticker.  Instead those products are labeled “organic” and include “California” on the sticker.  Retailers can identify Henry Avocado organic products by the bar code on the stickers.Henry Avocado Corporation is fully cooperating with federal and California health officials to facilitate an efficient and complete recall of these avocados.Consumers who have purchased any recalled avocados are urged not to consume them, but to discard them or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.  Consumers with further questions may contact Henry Avocado at (760) 745-6632, Ext 132 or visit www.henryavocado.com/mediaListeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeriainfection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. You might also be interested in Colombian avocados are the business …last_img read more

Continue reading »

Adventure Resorts and Cruises will launch the firs

first_imgAdventure Resorts and Cruises will launch the first-ever extended cruises on the beautiful Kerala Backwaters in southern India, in October 2019.To mark the debut of the tropical, seven-night journeys aboard a traditional wooden, 18-passenger barge, a discount of 20 per cent is available for sailings from October 2019, to April 2020, and no single supplement for solo travellers, with the special offers available until sold out.Adventure Resorts and Cruises will offer 36 seven-night sailings aboard the nine-cabin RV Vaikundam from Cochin to Alleppey and vice versa from October 2019 to March, 2021. “Our unique, new cruises will, for the first time, offer travellers a genuinely immersive cultural and natural journey through the Kerala Backwaters,” said Adventure Resorts and Cruises Managing Director, Sanjay Basu. “Described as the ‘Green Venice of the East’, the Backwaters were previously only open to travellers for a night or two on houseboats but our new, week-long cruises will offer an authentic, in-depth insight into the local life, traditions, and customs of these peaceful, coastal waterways.” Adventure Resorts & CruisescruiseindiaKeralasolo travellersspecialslast_img read more

Continue reading »

Dbacks president Derrick Hall Franchise still f

first_img D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ “The important thing for us is to keep our focus like it’sbeen the last five or six games and that’s just one weekat a time,” Whisenhunt said. “We want to make sure that wefocus on trying to get better each week and we’re startingto see progress with that.” Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Top Stories Comments   Share   Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt says now the wholeteam must build off the strong performance, including thequarterback. “I think there were a number of things that we saw in thesecond half that I really liked,” Whisenhunt said. “[KevinKolb] got a better feel for the game as it went on, it wasreally nice for him to make those strides as far as theway we’re running our offense, and that will give usconfidence going forward — especially if we can continueto run the football.” On the other side of the ball, Whisenhunt attributes thedefense’s improvement to defensive coordinator Ray Horton. “This is Ray’s first job as a defensive coordinator and tocome in here with no offseason with a bunch of new guysand get them all on the same page, it’s tough,” Whisenhuntsaid. “It was a tough stretch for us early, but Ray is avery disciplined, good teacher, understands the scheme,does a great job communicating with our players and Ithink they believe in what we’re trying to get done.” Whisenhunt said the defense is finally playing together,which allowed the team to get pressure. Looking forward, the head coach just wants to take it onegame at a time. Entering Sunday, the biggest knock against the Cardinalsthis season was that none came against playoff teams.That’s no longer the case. The Cardinals beat the Cowboys 19-13 in overtime,improving their record to 5-7 this season. On Sunday the Cards looked like the team many expected tosee at the beginning of the season. Kevin Kolb was mobile,accurate and mistake free, Andre Roberts proved to be alegit number two receiver, and the 3-4 defense showed whatit could do, sacking Tony Romo five times. What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinkelast_img read more

Continue reading »