RCL Australia wraps up record breaking summerExplorer of the Seas made her final visit to Sydney’s OPT this summer on Saturday 22 April, concluding RCL Cruises’ record breaking summer cruise season in Australia and New Zealand.The company’s three brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, based an unprecedented seven ships in the region – 15 percent of the global fleet – including two new ships; the newest and biggest Australia has ever seen, Ovation of the Seas, and the boutique, freshly revitalised Azamara Journey.“Explorer of the Seas’ departure from Sydney on Saturday evening, concludes what has been our biggest and most incredible season to date, carrying more than 300,000 guests on local cruises and injecting an expected AUD$200 million into the local economy in passenger spend alone,” said Adam Armstrong, managing director, RCL Australia & NZ.“We increased capacity by 17 percent, introduced two new ships to the region, completely refreshed another, launched a brand new cruise port in Wollongong, and wowed Aussies, Kiwis and more than 50,000 guests from overseas on over 90 different itineraries around Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia. What’s more, Royal Caribbean International became Australia’s largest cruise line in terms of capacity over the summer season. It truly has been a record breaking seven months,” Armstrong said.“Royal Caribbean changed the game for cruising down under when we introduced supercruising to Australia, with the incredible US$1 billion Ovation of the Seas,” Armstrong continued.The spectacular vessel arrived in December to much fan-fare and was the first brand new ship to be based in Australian waters. With almost 5,000 passengers and 1,500 crew, she also claimed the title of the biggest from sister ship Explorer of the Seas. With that size came an increased range of features found only on Royal Caribbean, including sky diving and surfing experiences, the North Star viewing capsule, bumper cars, the robotic Bionic Bar, 18 different dining options and spell-binding entertainment.On the other end of the scale, RCL also welcomed its smallest ship in the fleet, the 690-guest Azamara Journey for her maiden Australian season in February 2017. The boutique ship arrived completely refreshed after an extensive makeover, offering the line’s signature longer stays in unique Australian and Kiwi ports for more authentic experiences on land.Culinary favourite Radiance of the Seas made waves this season opening up a new port for the industry, becoming the first cruise ship to bring passengers to the NSW coastal city of Wollongong and arriving to huge celebrations from locals of the Illawarra. The City of Wollongong also welcomed Voyager of the Seas twice during the season.Radiance of the Seas also made maiden calls for Royal Caribbean to the beautiful South Pacific islands of Tonga, visiting Vava’u and Nuku’alofa in December. Meanwhile, identical sister ships Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, known as the South Pacific sisters, made their mark with dedicated sailings all season to the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia.Australia’s favourite and highest rated cruise ship, Celebrity Solstice, sailed her fifth consecutive local season, fresh from a stunning makeover. Additions included the first Tiffany and Co store at sea for the region; a new Japanese dining option, Sushi on Five; beautiful cabanas on the famed real grass Lawn Club, and an outdoor movie screen that to host her new film and gastronomic experience, “A Taste of Film” for guests. Royal Caribbean Cruise LineSource = Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Expedias New EPC Property Analytics Delivers Data Access and Actiona
Expedia’s New EPC Property Analytics Delivers Data, Access and Actionable InsightsExpedia’s New EPC Property Analytics Delivers Data, Access and Actionable InsightsExpedia, Inc., the world’s largest online travel company, today announced global availability for Expedia® PartnerCentral (EPC) Property Analytics, an advanced, actiondriven insights tool for hotel partners. EPC Property Analytics leverages the latest property, competitive set and market data to help properties make informed decisions to maximize their bookings and revenue.With a focus on driving value-add technology, marketing and data solutions for its partners, Expedia developed EPC Property Analytics to address hotel partner needs. Many hotels have to review and analyze numerous reports to evaluate performance, often with very little detail or contextual information, making the process time-intensive and arduous. EPC Property Analytics combines multiple aspects of the revenue equation in one semi-customizable view, providing hotels with easily digestible information to make revenue management decisions that can help maximize their offerings.From visitors to conversion to ADR, revenue-impacting aspects of a property are accessible in EPC Property Analytics. Solutions offered include visibility of the property, conversion of customers to bookers, and guest value. With its semi-customizable reporting, hotels can view data for any given time period and compare against their own performance or their competitive set. Data is refreshed every 24 hours for accurate, up-to-date reporting. EPC Property Analytics also features Smart Suggested Actions, which notify hotels of potential problems – from minor concerns to major issues – so they can focus on immediate challenges and implement a solution.“EPC Property Analytics empowers our hotel partners to not only easily diagnose performance issues, but to immediately take action to solve for them,” said Nicolas Daudin, senior director, global product management, the Expedia group. “As with many of the technology, marketing and data solutions we’ve brought to market in the last year, we listened to our partners and worked to develop a solution that would address their needs. Based on feedback from early testing, EPC Property Analytics has already proven to be a highly-valued partner tool.”EPC Property Analytics was tested with hotel partners in several global markets, and is now available in multiple languages to partners around the world.“EPC Property Analytics is definitely valuable in that I can see the trends within the competitive set in order to, on a go forward basis, try and fall more in line with the market rather than being on an island,” said Galen Coles, area revenue analyst, Two Roads Hospitality.Partners can learn more about Expedia PartnerCentral, including EPC Property Analytics, on the Discover EPC blog.Source = Expedia, Inc.
STUBA hits the road in Italy
STUBA hits the road in Italy STUBA hits the road in Italy Source = STUBA As part of the tried and true standard travel plans for Europe, Italy is a must do. One of the most visited spots in the world for good reasons.Together with Greece, Italy is known as the birthplace of civilisation. with over 3000 years of art, architecture and culture on show. Humans have inhabited the Italian coast if one way or another for at least 200,000 years.Unsurprisingly, Italy has the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so if ancient ruins and the like are your thing, you will not do better. From the archaeologically significant and sombre Pompeii,the early Christian monuments of Ravenna, the city of Verona, to the beautiful Amalfi Coast; Italy is blessed with things to do, see and eat.With a diverse climate, the best time to visit can vary. July is the hottest month, with most summers hot and dry. Whereas the alps, unsurprisingly, have cool summers and very cold winters.In a nutshell, Italy can be boiled down to its regions:Northwest Italy: Italian riviera, including Portofino and Cinque Terre. The industrial giant Turin, the Port of Genoa, and the financial centre of Mila,Northeast Italy: Visit the Canals of Venice, foodie heaven in Bologna, with top skiing in Cortina d’Amprezzo. Beuitiful buildings and rooftops of Verona and Parma.Central Italy: Culture by the bucket load. The Roman wonders of the roman Empire, Florence for art and sculpture, and magnificent countryside of Siena, Pisa and Lucca.Southern Italy: Visit the ruins of Pompeii, the romantic Amalfi Coast & Capri, the superb beaches of Calabria and busy Naples, the birthplace of pizza.Siciliy: Food, Food and more amazing Food. Superb ocean vistas, with architectural and cultural differences from one side of the island to the other. Much is untouched by the hoards of tourists, with many old school villages not fluent in English. Most folk speak both Italian and SSardinia: A quintessential Mediterranean beauty. A large island with amazing scenery, beautiful swimming beaches. A favourite for high value luxury bookings.For all your Italy booking needs, choose Stuba. With almost 7,000 properties in Italy, we have what your clients need !
University of Sri Jayewardenepura to be think tank for Sri Lanka Tourism
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau announced that a formal MoU is been developed with the University of Sri Jayewardenepura – Marketing Management Unit for marketing research insights to be done by final year students which will enable the tourism industry become more competitive in the global arena which is a first in the history of Sri Lanka tourism said its Chairman Rohantha Athukorala together with Vice Chancellor of University of Sri Jayewardenepura Prof Sampath Amaratunge at the press conference where the International Inter- university Sri Lankan City Romp 2015 was launched at Hotel Taj Samudra.The logic of the MoU as explained was due to the rapid change that is happening in the global arena on the area of digital marketing where for instance 23.2 million people googled Sri Lanka tourism related searches in 2014 but we had only 1.5 million visitors whilst TripAdvisor reported that 54 million information searches were there in 2014 which tells us the conversion success rate for Sri Lanka.“We must get smart in our communication strategy and model needs to be recommended by the best minds of Sri Lanka in a university like Sri Jayewardenepura so that we link the private sector to the think tanks of the country,” said Dr Athukorala.The Vice Chancellor Prof Sampath Amaratunge said that he is glad this kind if mind set exists in the government and this is the best practice globally. In fact in the final year the best talent get picked by the private sector where we act as an incubator the world stage. We are looking for award to working with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau.
Taj Safaris opens Meghauli Serai at Chitwan National Park Nepal
Taj Safaris announced the opening of Meghauli Serai at UNESCO World Heritage listed Chitwan National Park, Nepal. This will be Taj Safaris’, the creators of India’s first luxury wildlife travel circuit in Madhya Pradesh, first lodge outside India. The lodge is situated on the banks of the Rapti River, offering views of the park across the river from its 30 rooms and suites.Rohit Khosla, Senior Vice President – Operations, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces said, “We are delighted to extend Taj hospitality to guests in Nepal. The Taj group has a pioneering reputation for creating destinations and we are very proud to present the latest Taj Safaris’ Meghauli Serai Jungle Lodge at Chitwan National Park. We are committed to adding value to the community and the region.”Meghauli Serai Jungle Lodge will offer safaris on elephant back, by jeep, jungle walks, and walks through the local Tharu village to showcase traditional village life, where guests can learn the tricks of moon shining for traditional brews or get a taste of fresh homemade Nepalese pickle. Other activities include Canoeing on the Rapti River and trekking through the Himalayan foothills.Mridula Tangirala, Director of Operations, Taj Safaris said, “Taj Safaris believes that the best wildlife experience is interpretive and rooted in the local wildlife and community through a proven sustainable ecotourism model. Our four luxury jungle safari lodges in Madhya Pradesh’s tiger country created India’s first luxury wildlife travel circuit. With this opening in Nepal, we are looking forward to welcoming guests for immersive wildlife experiences in the ‘heart of the jungle’ at our newest destination, Meghauli Serai.”
FICCI organises the second edition of Digital Travel Hospitality Innovation Summit
FICCI in association with TBO Group, TrawellTag-Cover-More along with Agnitio Consulting and Avalon Global Research recently organised its second edition of Digital Travel, Hospitality & Innovation Summit in New Delhi.Addressing the audience, Dr Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson, FICCI Tourism Committee and Chairperson & MD, Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, remarked, “FICCI supports travel startups, digital tourism and IT-based infrastructure for the travel and hospitality sector. This forum will throw up many interesting outcomes which we then share with the relevant industry for their further understanding and possible implementation.”Dr Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, said, “One of the biggest challenges that India has to live upon the potential for tourism is to become digital enabled. The entire way we relate to travel, the way that our consumer patterns are evolving is directly linked to the enormous amount of IT enablement that is happening. On the other hand, travellers have become extremely choosy in terms of travel options and types of accommodations, which is possible due to digital explosion. In order to keep yourself one with the digital revolution, you need to firstly, look at how you can move some portion of your business to the digital segment. Secondly, offer something that not everyone is offering through their digital platforms. And lastly the room aggregator, which are digital marketing engines to promote and get visibility. There is also a significant amount of cross-selling that’s happening which is contributing major value in the eyes of a customer.”FICCI along with Avalon Global Research also launched a knowledge Report ‘Travel 2.0 – The Next Generation of travel’.Deep Kalra, Chairman & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip, stated, “Today 60-65% of tickets in India are sold online and it has happened dramatically and it’s not going to stop. Online Travel Agents (OTAs) have got about 40-50% share in the market of this total pie, out of which 15% is acquired by the airlines. In terms of market trends, domestic holidays are ferociously increasing in India and it’s expected that the current 22 million travel size in India will rise up to $20Billion by 2030.”Highlighting the current trends and importance Hari Nair, Founder & CEO, Holiday IQ mentioned about Holiday IQ’s video review feature for our travellers, providing them an live experience of a place, hotel or a destination.Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor India, working in the digital space mentioned the ways through which technology helps a customer to make choices within exploring and existing offers in the travel segment.Abhishek Rajan, Vice President & Head-Travel Marketplace, Paytm talked about the methods through which Paytm has become a part and parcel of a consumer.Indiver Rastogi, President, Global Business Travel, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, said, “The whole model of booking online has changed and thanks to companies like MakeMyTrip who initiated this trend. We as industry people have altered our services based on the trends and the demand of our consumers because the new age traveller wants to do everything on their own.” Vishal Suri, Managing Director, SOTC, “All of us are using smartphones in our daily lives for most of our needs today. The rise in the local startups and bespoke travel agencies focused on these themes has truly highlighted a sea change in the digital travel space.”Neerja Bhatia, Vice President, Etihad Airways, Indian Subcontinent, said, “Today people globally are quite tech savvy. Earlier families would take one domestic holiday in a year, but today an average middle-class family takes at least minimum long haul holidays in a year. It demonstrates a lot of exposure, experience and knowledge through media and travel.”Siddharth Dabhade, Head of Industry, Google India, said, “Due to the availability of end to end technology for the new age consumer, there has been a sudden increase in the rise of smartphone purchases as its satisfying the consumer needs. More so, viewership on travel videos has increased helping the consumers to explore a plethora of activities to look upon, clearly indicating technology to be the next big priority within the travel sphere.”FICCI also conducted its maiden initiative aimed at travel start-up ‘Travel Tech Launchpad’, a platform to encourage innovation and growth of travel startups, on the last day of the summit.
South Africa welcomes over 95000 Indian travellers in 2016
During 2016, Indian visitor numbers to South Africa witnessed a growth of 21.7% to close at an arrivals figure of 95,377, making it the 8th position among SA’s international source markets. In 2015, the number of tourist arrivals from India was 78,385 and 2017 is set to be busy and action-packed as the NTO has a target of 104,000 to achieve.Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager for South Africa Tourism in India, says, “Next year’s figure implies a tremendous growth. It will mean intense and aggressive promotions coupled with a focus on new markets across geography and demographics.”For the current year, the promotional plans include sustained efforts in areas that South Africa has been focusing on in the past such as joint promotions with travel agents and customer outreach through outdoor media, television, digital, print and of late, social.South African tourism, in terms of geographic markets, plans to engage potential travellers in Tier II markets through the agent-specific ‘Learn South Africa’ programme which will train travel agents in 17 Indian cities during July 2017. Furthermore, the tourism board plans to train focus and customise for travellers in these cities with city-specific joint promotions with travel agents in all 17 chosen cities.Demographically too, South African Tourism is also keen on targeting younger globe-trotters given that India has a sizeable proportion of the young population.“Additionally besides the staples like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore all of which make a strong contribution to arrivals, our B2B roadshow will travel to Kolkata and Ahmedabad in January 2018,” Slabber says.“We look forward to an exciting year! January’s arrival figures are out and we welcomed about 6,300 Indian travellers – we look forward to very high numbers during the summer holiday season running from now until Mid-June,” she added.
Visit Finland reenters the Indian market
Last year Finland witnessed a robust growth of 42% in tourist arrivals and overnights from the Indian market in 2017, which in turn has pushed Visit Finland to re-enter the Indian market. In line, Visit Finland has appointed Sara Sodhi Juneja as the Country Head in India. She will be based in Delhi.Dr. Jukka Holappa, Trade Commissioner-India, Business Finland, shared, “Sara brings a wealth of her hospitality and tourism experience to this important strategic role and we are delighted to welcome her to head Visit Finland in India. India has become one of the fastest growing outbound tourism markets given its favourable economic conditions. Aligning with the growth potential of the Indian market and our global expansion strategy, Visit Finland has decided to foray again into the potential source market.”Commenting on her appointment Juneja said, “The destination offers once in a lifetime experience and wonders like Aurora Borealis, Midnight Sun, Finnish Saunas, Untouched Nature, Ski resorts and the official hometown of Santa Claus. Finland was also recently chosen by Indian celebrity couple Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli as their honeymoon destination recently. Going forward, we will focus on promoting Finland as a year-round destination for Indians.”The key focus for 2018 is to educate the Indian travel trade on destination Finland through roadshows and FAM trips.
2017 most successful year to date for Dubai Business Events
Dubai Business Events (DBE) secured a total of 212 bids throughout 2017, representing the most successful year to date. The bids and proposals awarded to Dubai will attract some 95,000 delegates, delivering an economic impact of approximately AED 715 million. Dubai submitted a total of 354 bids throughout 2017, and among the wins were those for bids submitted before 2017. At the end of the year, 104 bid submissions were still awaiting the decision.The bids and proposals secured in 2017 mark an increase of 64% over 2016 when a total of 129 bids were won, further cementing the Emirate’s leading position as a global business events destination. This success also comes as DBE celebrates its 15th anniversary as Dubai’s official convention bureau. Since its establishment in 2003, DBE has been pivotal in shaping the city’s world-class business events offering.Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing said, “The exponential increase in bids won in 2017 is a direct reflection of Dubai’s rapid growth as a leading business hub. 2017’s success in attracting international business events builds on the steady growth the city has experienced, establishing Dubai as a destination of choice for business events from around the globe. These successes have been made possible due to the close collaboration with our stakeholders and partners, who play a crucial role in realising Dubai’s strategic objectives. International and regional business events not only contribute to the growth in overall visitor numbers to Dubai, they also play an important role in the development of our knowledge economy.”Major events won by Dubai throughout 2017 include the 71st International Astronautical Congress, which will bring 5,000 space sector delegates and experts to the city in 2020; the Baby Care Annual Incentive, with an expected attendance of 1,500 delegates; the Amway Russia Annual Incentive, with an estimated 2,700 employees set to gather in 2020.
B of A Moves to Shut Down Correspondent Lending Unit
B of A Moves to Shut Down Correspondent Lending Unit Agents & Brokers Bank of America Company News Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Processing Reverse Mortgage Service Providers Top Corporate Headlines 2011 Unemployment 2011-10-04 Ryan Schuette October 4, 2011 415 Views in Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing An inconclusive search for a buyer will lead “”Bank of America””:https://notice.bankofamerica.com/content/enhanced-splash/html/home-splash-pagev2.html?bactoken=96195547206 to shutter the mortgage correspondent unit it had originally hoped to sell. The move means the mortgage giant will wipe its hands of the correspondent business by yearend, with a series of transitions in store for the 1,200 or so employees currently on the payroll.[IMAGE]In an internal e-mail provided to _MReport_, Bank of America said that it would shutter correspondent mortgage operations by yearend. An “”_American Banker_””:http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/176_192/bank-of-america-fortress-correspondent-mortgage-1042789-1.html story cited fallout over price negotiations with “”Fortress Investment Group LLC””:http://www.fortressinv.com/, the favored buyer.””We completed a thorough review of market opportunities, and will pursue an orderly wind-down of our correspondent lending activities,”” Barbara Desoer, president of Bank of America Home Loans, said in the e-mail. “”Pursuing this path now provides us with the opportunity to align resources to our direct to consumer channel and focus on our strategy to deepen relationships with existing customers and use mortgage products to acquire new relationships.””Speaking with _MReport_, Terry Francisco, a spokesperson for the mortgage giant, says Bank of America “”couldn’t find a suitable buyer,”” which “”led us to our decision to responsibly close down the unit.””[COLUMN_BREAK]Asked how the move relates back to a broader restructuring shift by the bank, he calls the shutdown “”a continuation of the strategy that we began over a year ago when we exited wholesale lending and [reverse] mortgage originations. We believe that we have a strong opportunity to deepen that relationship with mortgage consumers and devote more of our resources toward mortgage products.””Shutting down the correspondent lending unit means the bank will finally exit a business in which it found itself posting increasingly steeper quarterly losses. A “”_Bloomberg News_””:http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-10-03/bofa-to-shutter-correspondent-lending-unit-after-auction-fails.html story reported correspondent originations falling from $27.4 billion over the first quarter to $21.8 billion over the second quarter.The shift toward a shutdown also follows a series of other big moves by the bank as it adopts a new strategy and restructures much of the sprawling business. _Bloomberg_ quoted CEO “”Brian Moynihan””:http://mediaroom.bankofamerica.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=234503&p=irol-govBio&ID=197628 as expressing his intentions to turn Bank of America into a “”smaller, more focused company”” by reportedly slashing $5 billion in expenses and some 30,000 jobs.And whither the 1,200 or so correspondent employees currently listed on Bank of America’s payroll? In the e-mail, the mortgage giant offered that it would transition employees from the correspondent business to Home Loans and Legacy Asset Servicing divisions.””We will look to deploy them,”” Francisco offers. He cites “”opportunities├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ª in other parts of the business, including opportunities to help our distressed homeowners who we are helping through loan modification.””He says that some retraining may be in store for deployable correspondents, specifically those with underwriting experience.””We believe their skills are applicable in other parts of the mortgage business,”” he adds. Share
Consumer Confidence Puts Pressure on Housing Recovery
Home prices and home sales are rising, despite “”lackluster demand of traditional owner-occupied housing,”” according to Tim Rood of “”The Collingwood Group””:http://www.collingwoodllc.com/. [IMAGE]Rood points out that median home prices and the number of home sales are both nearly 10 percent above what they were one year ago. This rise is not spurred by owner-occupants, the traditional “”backbone of the U.S. housing market,”” according to Rood. [COLUMN_BREAK]Purchases by owner-occupants declined 15.5 percent in 2011, while investment and vacation home sales increased by 7.0 percent. First-time buyers made up 31 percent of purchases in August. Eighteen percent of homes purchased in August went to investors rather than owner-occupants. Cash purchases accounted for 27 percent of home sales in the same month. Rood suggests the primary hindrance to owner-occupant purchases is low consumer confidence. High unemployment, declining household net worth, decreasing wages, and political uncertainty are all current contributors to low consumer confidence, according to Rood. “”And to put it simply ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô anxious people don’t buy houses; confident people buy houses,”” he says. While the market may experience a few signs of meager recovery, a long-term, sustainable recovery requires a return of consumer confidence. “”Given the current state of the economy and American politics, this restoration will take time,”” Rood said. September 28, 2012 418 Views Consumer Confidence Puts Pressure on Housing Recovery Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Confidence First-Time Homebuyers Home Prices Home Sales Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2012-09-28 Krista Franks Brock in Data Share
California Lender Chooses USRES for Origination Valuations
May 6, 2014 500 Views in Headlines, News, Origination California Lender Chooses USRES for Origination Valuations USRES, a real estate management solutions firm and parent company for the RES.NET platform, announced it is now providing origination valuations for Optimum First Mortgage, operating out of Fountain Valley, California.Through USRES, Optimum now benefits from a hybrid valuation approach that combines the assessments of experienced professionals with expert technology.Optimum president Matt Dohman said the choice to use USRES for valuations was an easy one “due to its dominance in the market for more than 20 years,” though that wasn’t the only factor.“Beyond the company’s quality valuations and ownership of the RES.NET Valuation platform, USRES shares our philosophy on customer service,” Dohman elaborated. “USRES does not defer us to an automated call center; we always have access to its audit and management teams and receive fast responses to any needs or requests we may have.”Rida Sharaf, SVP of real estate operations for USRES, echoed that shared philosophy.“Optimum First has continually achieved record breaking loan volumes and industry leading customer service standards,” Sharaf said. “The company’s growth strategies and customer-centric philosophies are precisely in line with USRES’ core values; our comprehensive valuation solutions will further Optimum First’s mission for lending excellence.” Company News USRES Valuations 2014-05-06 Tory Barringer Share
Mortgage Applications Rose with Credit Availability in March
With mortgage credit availability and mortgage applications both up, applications for new home purchases spiked in March, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.The MBA said Thursday that mortgage applications for new home purchases jumped almost 17 percent from March to February, directly on the heels of findings that mortgage credit availability increased by 2.3 percent and mortgage applications increased by almost half a percent from the week prior. According to the MBA, there were roughly 49,000 new home sales in March, compared to February’s 42,000.The MBA also found that the average loan size of new homes increased by about $3,000 to $314,394 in March. Conventional loans made up a full two-thirds of total loan applications, FHA loans a full fifth.“Overall, applications for new home purchases during the first quarter of 2015 increased 20 percent relative to the first quarter of last year,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, who also expects new construction starts to rise into summer. Fisher credited February’s strong job numbers and low interest rates for boosting the rise in mortgage applications.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 264,000 new jobs created in February. There were 126,000 created in March.Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist, credited the same dichotomy of new jobs and low rates for the rise in purchase mortgage application volume last week. “Purchase volume has increased for three straight weeks now on a seasonally adjusted basis,” Frantantoni said. The refinance share of mortgage activity dropped to 57 percent of total applications, its lowest level since October 2014, and down from 60 percent the previous week.As for credit availability, Fratantoni said that “a number of factors contributed to a loosening of credit in March.” One factor is Freddie Mac’s introduction of its 97 percent LTV program, which allows for as little as 3 percent down payment on a new home purchase. Other factors included looser parameters on jumbo loan programs, increased cash-out refinance loans offerings, and the growth of FHA’s VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan.“As a result of these changes, all four component indexes of the MCAI increased last month: jumbo, conforming, conventional, and government,” Frantantoni said. And although credit remains tight by historical standards, “this increase in availability, coupled with low rates and job market strength, should lead to stronger home purchase activity this spring,” he said. April 10, 2015 554 Views Mortgage Applications Rose with Credit Availability in March Share Mortgage Applications Mortgage Credit Availability New Purchase Applications 2015-04-10 Scott_Morgan in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination
Feds Dudley Expects Housing to Stay on Course
Despite signs of softness in several sectors of the economy reported recently, the housing market should remain on a “solid trajectory” for the rest of 2016, according to New York Fed President and CEO William C. Dudley in an address Friday at the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut.Dudley said that despite the recent volatility in financial markets, his outlook for the U.S. economy remains the same—he expects the economy will expand for the rest of the year at a pace slightly above its long-term trend. While he does not expect the Fed to meet its 2 percent inflation objective this year, Dudley expects the factors holding down inflation will dissipate over time, which will result in inflation eventually reaching its 2 percent objective.On the sectors of the economy that have recently shown softness, Dudley cited real consumer spending growth, which seems to have moderated from the robust pace it showed during the second half of 2015. He also cited home sales.Bill Dudley“Both new and existing home sales have flattened since the middle of last year,” Dudley said. “Finally, indicators of real business investment spending point to continued softness. In contrast, manufacturing production—which had been a particular weak spot of the U.S. economy in 2015—rose in the first two months of this year.”Slack in the labor market seems to be diminishing as evidenced by payroll gains for the first three months of 2016 near last year’s monthly average of 229,000 to go with an unemployment rate of 5 percent, Dudley said. However, some slack in the labor market remains, as indicated by subdued measures of aggregate wage growth.“The housing market should remain on a solid trajectory, supported by rising employment and low mortgage rates.”Bill Dudley, New York Fed President and CEO“I continue to anticipate that consumption and housing activity will expand at a moderate pace this year,” Dudley said. “Continued job and wage gains, combined with still-low energy prices, should sustain real disposable income growth and support consumer spending. The housing market should remain on a solid trajectory, supported by rising employment and low mortgage rates.”Mortgage rates reached a low for 2016 on Thursday, when Freddie Mac announced that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage interest rate was 3.59 percent for the week ending April 7.Dudley expects GDP growth of around 2 percent for 2016, which is slightly below the average pace of growth in this expansion—but a bit above his estimate of the economy’s potential growth.“If this materializes, then we should see some further reduction in the unemployment rate to around 4¾ percent—my estimate of the rate that I view as consistent with stable inflation over the long term,” Dudley said.Click here to view Dudley’s full speech. Fed’s Dudley Expects Housing to Stay on Course Economy Federal Reserve Bank of New York Housing Market 2016-04-08 Seth Welborn Share in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News April 8, 2016 563 Views
Housing Markets Grinding Toward Historical Benchmarks
in Daily Dose, Data, News Share June 29, 2016 648 Views The nation’s housing market is on the outer range of its historical benchmark of housing activity while individual markets continue to slowly grind toward their historical benchmarks, according to Freddie Mac’s April 2016 Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) released Wednesday.The national MiMi, which measures the health of housing nationwide, had a value for April was 84.1, which is on the outer range of stable (a value of between 80 and 120 is considered in the range of stable). Year-over-year, the national MiMi improved by 7.37 percentage points and has rebounded by 42 percent since hitting its all-time low in October 2010. April’s value of 84.1 was still significantly lower than the national MiMi’s all-time high of 121.7.Two additional metros (Charlotte, North Carolina, and Knoxville, Tennessee) entered their benchmark ranges in April, according to Freddie Mac. Out of the 100 metros tracked by MiMi, 99 of them experienced year-over-year gains. The only one that did not was Tulsa, Oklahoma, which posted no change.“Seven years into the recovery from the Great Recession most of the nation’s housing markets remain below their historical benchmarks, but continue to grind higher month-by-month,” Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer said. “Nationally, MiMi in April 2016, is 84.1, a 7.37 percent year-over-year increase and the 48th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. Over this four-year timeframe, MiMi has increased 36.5 percent and now stands just 15.9 percent below its historic benchmark average.”The national MiMi consists of four indicators: purchase applications (74.1), payment-to-income (68.7), current on mortgage (87.2), and employment (106.2). The current on mortgage indicator was in the lower range of stable, while the employment indicator was in the high range of stable.“Among the four MiMi indicators, Purchase Applications increased the most in April, rising 1.77 percent from March and up 15.27 percent year over year,” Kiefer said. “The strong positive momentum in home purchase applications is a good sign for a housing market likely to post the best year in home sales since 2006. Despite strong house price growth, the MiMi Payment-to-Income indicator fell 1.05 percent in March, reflecting the impact of lower mortgage rates. If global factors like the Brexit put significant downward pressure on long-term mortgage rates, the U.S. housing market could benefit from increased affordability, helping to partially offset the impact of house prices, which are rising around six percentage points year over year nationally.”Click here to view Freddie Mac’s April MiMi. Housing Markets Grinding Toward Historical Benchmarks Freddie Mac Housing Markets Multi-Indicator Market Index 2016-06-29 Seth Welborn
HouseCanary Offers REMAX Agents Pricing Insights
HouseCanary Offers RE/MAX Agents Pricing Insights April 24, 2017 634 Views in Headlines, Technology Share HouseCanary HOUSING RE/MAX 2017-04-24 Aly J. Yale RE/MAX and HouseCanary have partnered up to bring real estate professionals more information, more data, and more power to close deals.Through the partnership, RE/MAX affiliates will now have access to HouseCanary Value Reports through the organization’s Approved Suppliers portal. Offering market and property-level data, as well as highly accurate home valuations and future pricing forecasts, Value Reports give real estate agents insights that can improve their client relationships and the value of their transactions.According to a joint release from the companies, “Accurate home values and three-year forecasts, in an industry where valuations have been suspect, are at the core of the reports.”According to HouseCanary CEO Jeremy Sicklick, it’s the platforms powerful algorithm that makes it unique.“Other home valuation methods are based largely on historical comparable sales,” Sicklick said. “HouseCanary measures price movements on every residential block in the country, allowing for precise valuations today and three years into the future. Our algorithms combine 40 years of history, 1 billion residential transactions, and hundreds of proprietary calculations influencing home values, such as capital markets, jobs, traffic … even views from a property’s backyard.”The reports’ ability to forecast pricing is its biggest competitive advantage—especially in a market with tight inventory and rising prices.“In markets facing low inventory, rising prices and interest rates, the ability to provide clients and leads with a three-year forecast of a home’s value serves as a clear competitive advantage. Offering accurate market demand figures unavailable elsewhere, months of supply, and market rent by square foot for similar properties, the reports allow realtors to become a trusted source of information and ‘prove their gut’ on property prices.”
Whats Causing Existing Home Sales to Decrease
What’s Causing Existing Home Sales to Decrease? Existing-home sales fell for the second straight month in May and slid 3 percent year over year, according to the existing-home sales data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on Wednesday.On a month-over-month basis, sales decreased 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.43 million.“Closings were down in a majority of the country last month and declined on an annual basis in each major region,” said Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR.One of the reasons, experts believe, is the uncertainty around home prices and rates that are prompting homeowners to stay longer in their homes. “Historically, the rapid growth in home prices we are seeing would have enticed more move-up buyers into the housing market. But we have not seen that this cycle,” said Tian Liu, Chief Economist at Genworth Mortgage Insurance. “Existing homeowners are staying in their homes longer, and as a result, we have not seen an increase in repeat buyers over the past three years.”“REALTORS in many parts of the country say their seller clients are dealing with a seesaw of emotions when deciding to put their home on the market,” said Elizabeth Mendenhall, President NAR, and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty. “While they’re thrilled that they will immediately find multiple buyers interested in their listings, many fear they’ll have extreme difficulty finding another home to buy.”Despite rising housing starts and completions, inventory shortage and budgets continue to constrain potential homebuyers, according to Yun. “Incredibly low supply continues to be the primary impediment to more sales, but there’s no question the combination of higher prices and mortgage rates are pinching the budgets of prospective buyers, and ultimately keeping some from reaching the market,” he said.NAR reported that median existing-home prices for all housing types were at an all-time high of $264,800 in May, indicating an increase of 4.9 percent from the same period last year. Total housing inventory during the month climbed 2.8 percent to 1.85 million existing homes available for sale. Despite this increase, NAR said, the inventory for sale is “still 6.1 percent lower than a year ago and has fallen year-over-year for 36 consecutive months.”“Inventory coming onto the market during this year’s spring buying season–as evidenced again by last month’s weak reading–was not even close to being enough to satisfy demand,” Yun said. Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News June 20, 2018 775 Views Buying Demand Existing-Home Sales Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp. Home Prices Homebuyers homeowners homes HOUSING inventories NAR RE/MAX Boone Realty selling Supply 2018-06-20 Radhika Ojha
Riley Thomas Joins Built Technologies as SVP Revenue
November 16, 2018 641 Views Riley Thomas Joins Built Technologies as SVP Revenue Nashville-headquartered fintech company Built Technologies has appointed Riley Thomas as SVP of Revenue. In this role, Thomas will lead Built’s sales, marketing, and customer success teams.Thomas joins Built in a year where the company recently surpassed over $16 billion in construction loan volume. The fintech company is focused on bringing construction lending into the digital age.“As our company continues its rapid growth, it is imperative that we have a skilled executive driving the performance, strategy and overall success of our sales and business development programs,” said Chase Gilbert, CEO, and Co-founder at Built. “Riley has a proven track record in the financial technology space and we are confident that his expertise in technical marketing and business development will optimize Built’s efficiency and profits within the market.”Before joining Built, Thomas served as the regional sales manager at Clearwater Analytics in New York City, where he grew three market verticals for the fast-growing fintech provider and assisted in the expansion of its global fund managers, Bermudian & U.S. insurance companies and corporate clients for 10 years. Prior to that, Thomas worked for Micron Technologies, performing business process analysis, strategic planning, and technical marketing work across a broad portfolio of business units.“I am honored to join Built at a time of tremendous opportunity and growth,” said Thomas. “The global market needs a solution that increases the oversight, efficiency, and collaboration within construction finance, and I look forward to changing the way the world gets Built.”Thomas earned his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Boise State University.Built provides secure, cloud-based construction loan administration software. The company’s collaborative platform brings the draw management process online, helping to reduce construction loan risk, increase loan profitability, transform the borrower experience, simplify compliance, and provide lenders with data never accessed before. Built serves the community, regional, and national lenders coast-to-coast. in Headlines, News, Technology Built Technologies Construction loan platform Riley Thomas 2018-11-16 Radhika Ojha Share
Silversea has established a new leadership trainin
Silversea has established a new leadership training academy aimed at recruiting and developing high-quality talent from across the globe to join its expedition teams. Expedition experts on Silversea voyages include some of the world’s most knowledgeable and experienced specialists in the areas of wildlife, biology, anthropology, geology, history, and more, who provide the unique activities for guests. “Our new leadership training academy underscores our commitment to exploring the world with the absolute best team of hand-picked experts to guide and enlighten our guests on expeditions,” said Conrad Combrink, Silversea’s Vice President of Expedition planning and strategic development.“The goal is to attract candidates who are knowledgeable and passionate, and prepare them for an exciting career working aboard an Expedition ship that will take them to amazing places where they will guide our guests in understanding the local history, culture and wildlife.”The multiphase recruitment and training initiative begins with remote skills development through webinar sessions focusing on various aspects of working as a Silversea Expedition guide, including life at sea and guest relations. Practical experience will deal with the fundamentals of boat handling, first aid, and safety at sea courses and certification. Recruits participating in the program will be invited to train for approximately six weeks aboard the newly refurbished Silver Cloud when the ship joins the expedition fleet in mid-November 2017 for her first season in Antarctica.Aboard Silver Cloud, core competencies will be further developed through intensive hands-on training. Attention will also be given to cross training in various academic disciplines, environmental and ecological knowledge, sustainability protocols and cultural sensitivity. In addition, further skills will be developed, including Zodiac® handling, practical field first aid, and “how to guide” training. Trainees will be provided with the unique opportunity to learn from experienced expedition staff as well as additional educators that will be travelling on board the vessel.After completing a tiered system of increasing responsibility, successful individuals will have the opportunity to work the balance of the Antarctic season as members of the expedition team and, ultimately, on expedition voyages to other regions of the world.Individuals interested in the program should contact Silversea’s Manager of Expedition product support, Kit van Wagner, at email@example.com. expedition teamsRecruitmentSilverseatraining
airlinesVietnamVietnam Airlines Vietnam Airlines has announced the launch of its new flight connecting Ho Chi Minh city and Quang Ninh province via Van Don International Airport, starting 30 December 2018.The daily service will be operated on Airbus A321 and will depart from Tan Son Nhat International Airport at 14:00 and from Van Don International Airport at 16:45 with a flight time of around 2 hours and 5 minutes.The airline is also launching promotional one-way fares on Economy class starting from only 800.000 Vietnam Dong (excluding taxes, fees and surcharges). The new service will provide additional capacity to meet increasing tourism, business and trade demand, as well as enhancing connectivity between the South and Northeast of Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City – the country’s largest economic center and financial hub – and Quang Ninh province and nearby provinces. Quang Ninh is soon to become the special economic zone of Vietnam.