first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The Australian government has increased weekly flights between Australia and China to meet holiday period demand. The number of weekly flights is expected to increase from 37 to 59 between November and February to cater to an expected increase in passengers, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said 6300 extra seats will be added each week between Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and Chines cities; Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hangzhou. Air China, China Southern and China Eastern have increased flight frequencies and Hainan Airlines will introduce a nonstop service between Sydney and Shenzhen.Chinese tourism into Australia has increased by 16 percent to 410,000 over the past year.last_img

first_imgDays after Virgin Australia unveiled the first stage of its new Velocity program, Qantas has announced a new alliance with Optus that allows the network’s small and medium business customers to earn Frequent Flyers points.The new point earning system sees two points for every dollar spent on Optus personal services applies on business purchasing SMB services until 31 December this year, after which they can earn one point per dollar spent.QFF chief executive Simon Hickey said the program was committed to ensuring members have more options to earn and redeem points with the carrier.“With our expansion into telecommunications, this further cements our position as the number one premium loyalty program in this country,” Mr Hickey explained.“With Optus now on board the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, the simple act of making a call or surfing the web can lead to a to a huge range of rewards for our members.”Effectively immediately, QFF and Optus customers can starts earning points by registering for the program on Optus Rewards website.The carrier has also launched an exclusive discount on the joining fee for Optus customers not registered as a QFF, waiving the AU$82.50 sign-up fee.According to Optus Consumer managing director Michael Smith, the points apply to Qantas frequent flyers whether they are prepaid customers or families with multiple Optus services.“Optus is committed to giving our customers a superior customer experience — by providing fantastic customer service, a reliable network and great value products and services,” Mr Smith explained. “Rewards are a natural extension of that commitment, by providing Optus customers with access to amazing experiences through Qantas Frequent Flyer.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

first_imgSource = Tourism Australia Australia has beaten off competition from Malaysia, Thailand and New Zealand to be voted 2011 ‘Best Asia/Pacific Destination’ by Irish travel agents. Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said the award win was further proof of Australia’s enduring appeal within Ireland and a great boost ahead of the recently announced British and Irish Lions rugby tour of Australia.”Despite the tough economic climate hampering consumer confidence, the support of travel agents goes a long way in keeping Australia top of mind,” he said.”The award is very timely, with this week’s announcement by the British and Irish Lions of their match schedule for their 2013 tour of Australia, which is always massively population with travelling Irish rugby fans.”Announcing the award, Ronan Flood, Managing Editor of Irish Travel Trade News, acknowledged Australia’s stand- out performance in what has been an exceptionally difficult year for all involved in the travel industry. “In hard times like these it is especially important to recognise and reward companies that continued to provide outstanding products and services in 2011 – as judged by Ireland’s travel agents,” he said.Mr McEvoy said while economic factors had undoubtedly impacted demand for Australia out of Ireland, there were encouraging signs more recently that the Irish still retained their love of Australia.“The economic situation over in Ireland is undoubtedly difficult at the moment but we are seeing some signs of improvement. Irish arrivals are actually up 6 per cent so far this year, with a huge bounce of nearly 50 per cent this September compared to last.”Ironically, one of the benefits of Ireland’s tough economic situation has been luring a lot more young Irish travellers down under recently, many of them taking advantage of the working holiday visa to combine work with leisure,” he said.The Irish accolade comes just weeks after Australia was voted the “Best Country to Visit Worldwide” in this year’s British Travel Awards.last_img read more

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T China is still Australia’s fastest growing and most valuable international tourism market, according to new consumer research. The study commissioned by Tourism Australia further solidified the Group’s decade-long commitment and campaign to attract China’s middle and upper classes to Australian shores.13 of China’s largest and fastest growing cities were sampled and 558,600 Chinese visited Australia during the twelve months ending January 2012, up 17.1 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The research identified key Chinese markets, consumer information and purchasing intentions for travel customers.Key elements extracted from the research found Australia to be a ‘must visit’ destination, meeting the majority of long-haul Chinese traveller’s expectations.There does not appear to be any obvious barriers preventing or distracting Chinese visitors to Australia.Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy was determined to build upon the results of the extensive research and re-commit to the ten year plan targeting the growing Chinese tourism market.“We plan to use these findings to help prioritise our marketing activities in China and best educate the Australian tourism industry to capitalise on the anticipated strong growth in the middle and upper classes that can afford and want to travel long-haul outside of China,” he said.Further research may be conducted to shine light upon other Chinese region’s travel intentions.“To achieve long-term success in a now highly competitive China market we must seek greater understanding of the many millions of customers who live outside of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and what drives their travel decisions in the immediate future,” Mr McEvoy added.last_img read more

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P Image With passenger numbers into Perth Airport doubling over the last seven years, the new domestic terminal set to open early 2013 will provide travellers a modern, spacious travel experience.The new domestic terminal is part of a range of projects which will transform the Perth Airport and offer over 50 new retail outlets over the next three years.According to recent statistics Perth airport is the fastest growing capital city airports in Australia with 12 million passengers recoding in 2011.Additionally, intrastate passenger movement increased by 13.6 percent to 3.1 million passengers the year before.With the redevelopments of the new airport a range of retail opportunities have arisen for retailers wanting to expand their products.Perth Airport chief executive officer Brad Geatches said they would like to entice a varied selection of brands suited to the Western Australian market. “The retail spaces in the new domestic terminal and the expanded International Terminal will   provide concessionaires with good exposure and space to creatively present their product or service,” Mr Geatches said.“With the increasing demand for fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers in regional Western Australia, it is essential the airport provides a relevant retail offering that represents value for money, choice and impeccable customer service.”Looking ahead, construction of the current international Terminal will begin next month this includes an extended arrivals hall with a landside retail area and a bigger arrivals duty free store.last_img read more

first_imgIn order to promote trans-Tasman tourism and support economic growth, the barriers to travel between Australia and New Zealand must be removed and a common border forged, according to the TTF. The latest results from the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF)-MasterCard Tourism Industry Sentiment Survey have been revealed, encouraging technological development and visa reforms.“More than half of respondents indicated that a single point customs clearance between Australia andNew Zealand is very important to reforming passenger processing from New Zealand,” TTF chief executive John Lee said.“The same proportion (51 per cent) also rates a trans-Tasman visa for foreigners visiting both countriesas a very important reform, while 46 per cent rate additional Smartgates as very important.”The Passenger Movement Charge has been a growing concern for trans-Tasman travellers, with taxes and charges ranking among the top three gripes for tourism executives.“These increases are amplified by the consistently strong Australian dollar which remains the numberone concern for tourism businesses,” Mr Lee said.Overall, expectations surrounding final quarter results for 2012 are relatively optimistic on both an international and domestic front, with respondents predicting above average outcomes.“Domestic expectations are up 14 points to 111 – their highest level since the survey’s inception in2008 – and the international market is up 16 points to 103,” Mr Lee said. A new study encouraging reform for travel between NZ and Australia has garnered support. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

first_imgLos Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners approve plans for terminal 1.5The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners today approved environmental and aesthetic plans related to the proposed Terminal 1.5 Project, which would enhance the guest experience at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) by providing additional space for ticketing, security screening, and baggage claim, along with connecting Terminals 1 and 2.The proposed project, which requires final approval from the Los Angeles City Council, includes a 417,515-square-foot, six-level building that will span the 400-foot-long space between Terminals 1 and 2.  It would also require demolishing a boarding gate in Terminal 1.Terminal 1.5 would include baggage claim on the Lower/Arrivals Level, a ticketing lobby on the Upper/Departures Level, and a Security Screening Check Point on the Concourse Level.  Office space would be on Levels 4 and 5.  A basement level would house building-systems support and storage areas for the airlines, concessionaires and maintenance.  The new terminal will not have boarding gates.“By improving on existing passenger processing capabilities, and providing the additional space for the latest screening technology to meet federal security requirements, this new facility will help improve the guest experience and speed up lines,” said Board of Airport Commissioners President Sean O. Burton.  “It will also make it easier for passengers making connections between Terminals 1 and 2.”“LAX recognizes the value of connectivity and have received many positive comments about the ease of connections on the south side of the airport with the addition of the Terminal 4 Connector.  Terminal 1.5 is a significant step toward tying the northside terminals together,” said Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Chief Executive Officer Deborah Flint. “This is another way LAX is working toward becoming the gold standard among airports, both in the U.S. and around the world.”Walkways located pre-security will connect Terminals 1 and 2 on the first two levels.  A corridor located beyond security screening on the Concourse Level will allow passengers to more easily catch connecting flights between the terminals, as well as take advantage of more dining and retail choices.With today’s vote, the Board of Airport Commissioners found that that the proposed project is consistent with the LAX Plan and any design guidelines required by the plan; that it complies with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and, that the applicable measures contained in the LAX Master Plan Mitigation, Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP) or identified in any subsequent environmental review have been incorporated into the proposed project to the extent feasible.No grading, building or use-of-land permits shall be issued, and no construction related to the proposed project shall occur unless and until the City Council approves the request for an LAX Plan Compliance determination.If approved by the City Council, the Terminal 1.5 is expected to be completed in 26 months, opening Summer 2019. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)for more information, visitSource = Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)last_img read more

first_imgThailand tourism generates 840 billion Baht in first four monthsThailand tourism generates 840 billion Baht in first four monthsThailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports has released figures showing that during the first four months of this year, 12 million visitors came to Thailand spending around 620 billion Baht, an increase of 4.71 per cent when compared with the same period in 2016. Domestic tourism is thriving too, with over 220 billion Baht being generated.Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “Thailand attracts many tourists because it offers experiences that are new and unique, no matter how many times you visit. In the first few months of the year, the combination of lovely weather and amazing festivals; such as, Songkran or the Thai New Year celebrations means there’s much to enjoy for travellers, not to mention locals. We are delighted to be doing so well in 2017 and will continue to offer a warm Thai welcome to visitors yet to come.”These figures also show that the strategy of attracting higher spending, quality tourists put in place by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is now paying off as people recognise that Thailand offers luxury experiences, dining and leisure opportunities which rate among the world’s best.Of the 12 million visitors to Thailand from January to April, 7.5 million came from East Asia, generating 308 billion Baht. China remained the leading source market at about 3.2 million arrivals, though Thai authorities have invoked measures to stopping unscrupulous tour operators taking advantage of visitors.In addition, larger numbers of European visitors arrived to Thailand from January to April, totalling 2.7 million arrivals, up 8.41 per cent when compared with the same period in 2016. They contributed over 200 billion Baht in revenue, showing that despite the growth in Chinese tourism, Europe remains a vital market for Thailand.Mr. Yuthasak concluded, “We now have a healthy balance between our new Eastern markets and our more traditional tourism markets in the West. But wherever they come from, people visiting Thailand expect unique and memorable visits and this is what we can provide.” Source = Tourism Authority of Thailandlast_img read more

first_imgTAT scores big with Tuk Tuk at Hungarian Formula 1TAT scores big with Tuk Tuk at Hungarian Formula 1At the Formula 1 race in Budapest, Hungary in July 2017, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) displayed an icon of Thailand – a 34-year-old Tuk Tuk that had been driven from Bangkok to Prague.Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications said, “This little tuk-tuk was fondly nicknamed ‘the Beast’ by the Hungarian media given her age, history and stamina, and the sheer crowd-appeal was well beyond our expectations.”“This Tuk-tuk and the man that drove her across two continents, Mr. Martin Mĕchura, is a highlight of the Hungarian F1 Village. The Amazing Thailand Pit Stop design that we have created in this, our fourth F1 event, evidently works well,” he added.“I was so happy to see so many European F1 fans coming up to our team at the Amazing Thailand Pit Stop at Hungarian Formula 1 expressing not only their delight that we were there but also sharing their stories of their travels to the Kingdom,” said Mr. Chattan.Mr. Martin Mĕchura, who hails from the Czech Republic, received a round of applause when he started up the tuk-tuk after an 18-month hiatus.The appearance of the Thai vehicle at the F1 was to promote the fun of driving in Thailand, as well as underlining the uniqueness of Thai culture and the Thai way of life, which always contain an element of fun and relaxation.Source = Tourism Authority of Thailandlast_img read more

first_imgTravelManagers spokesperson Michael GazalTravelManagers records best ever trading month in FebruaryAfter wrapping up a record-breaking year in 2017, TravelManagers have hit the ground running in 2018, recording their best ever trading month in February 2018.Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says the pleasing results follow on from an already-strong January, with indicators for March already pointing towards a third consecutive month of high sales: “Assuming we are able to maintain our momentum, the company is on track to achieve a record first quarter.”Gazal says all destinations experienced high levels of growth, with South America delivering the highest growth in percentage terms, and Southwest Pacific following close behind. The Europe market continues to lead the way in terms of contribution to total growth at close to 40 percent, while North America also continues to grow strongly.“These figures indicate that our clients recognise and appreciate the value our personal travel managers (PTMs) add to every holiday experience, whether it’s an annual tropical getaway or a much-anticipated trip of a lifetime,” he adds.“Our total transaction value has increased by just under ten percent on the same month last year, with our strongest performance in customised holiday packages, in which we achieved sixteen percent growth on last year,” he says.Gazal adds that air ticket and accommodation segments also achieved double digit growth, while the growth in the touring segment was slightly more modest but still very satisfying.“The results are testimony to the relentless dedication of our PTMs to providing outstanding customer service,” Gazal explains. “Proactive, thoughtful, well-informed PTMs mean happy clients, and happy clients come back again and again.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.About TravelManagersTravel Managers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2017. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 500 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are secure and only used for client purchasesSource = TravelManagerslast_img read more

first_imgSheraton Design Foundation SketchMarriott International announces vision for Sheraton transformationCompany estimates USD$500 million dollars (approximately AUD$654 million) of owner investment already committed in the U.S.Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR) yesterday announced its transformation vision for Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, the third largest brand in its portfolio and the largest outside of North America in terms of room count. The company, which introduced its new Sheraton guestroom late last year, is showcasing its vision for Sheraton’s public spaces at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference in New York, bringing to life for owners and investors the company’s brand strategy as well as its signature focus on guest experience, hotel operations and design philosophy. “From the moment we closed the Starwood merger in late 2016, the revitalisation of Sheraton has been a top priority for our company,” said Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International. “We knew that the way to restore this incredible brand was focus and collaboration with our hotel owners. We wanted to build on Sheraton’s rich legacy of sitting at the heart of communities across the globe, but also to create a differentiated positioning and compelling proposition for our owners. With our Sheraton transformation plan, we’ve put together all of the pieces of the equation to work cooperatively with our owners to set this iconic brand on a new, disciplined and successful path. We are ready, our vision is clear and the energy is robust for Sheraton.” Owners are already responding to the new vision with optimism and energy, committing an estimated half-a-billion USD (approximately AUD$654 million dollars) in renovations of hotels across the U.S. Globally, 25 percent of Sheraton hotels have committed to renovations with some already underway. The Sheraton Experience This week, Sheraton has built out a 390 square-metre vignette at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference that brings its vision to life, allowing investors to understand and experience Sheraton’s transformation plans firsthand, particularly the concepts for the hotel’s public spaces. Reverting to its roots as the gathering place for locals and guests, Sheraton today amplifies that legacy by leaning into services and design that enable socialisation, productivity and personalisation. Its strategy features collaborative venues, technology enabled designs and a host who helps deliver a unique experience that is exclusive to Sheraton. “Marriott International is well positioned to deliver a comprehensive strategy for Sheraton’s brand transformation and we already have great momentum. This is the first time in years that the brand has been above competitive benchmark in both rate and occupancy,” said Tina Edmundson, Global Brand Officer, Marriott International. “We have improved brand standards, increased group bookings and have ramped up our business engine over the last year as a first step in a multi-phase, multi-year plan, leveraging our experience in revitalising lodging brands.” The company undertook a repositioning of the Marriott Hotels brand beginning in 2013, redesigning the guest room and MClub Lounge working in close cooperation with Marriott Hotel owners. The work has resonated with guests and owners alike. Renovated Marriott Hotels have seen market share gains of, on average, nine percent and “intent to recommend” scores from customers that are eight points on average higher than non-renovated hotels. Sheraton by the numbersSince joining Marriott International as part of the acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts in September 2016, Sheraton has exited 6,000 rooms with another 2,000 expected to depart by the end of the year. During the same period, 5,000 rooms have been signed to the portfolio. Intent to recommend for the brand has already increased two points year-over-year and market share has grown for the first time in years.  Systemwide, Sheraton generates USD$9.2 billion (approximately AUD$12 billion dollars) in property revenue globally. Sheraton’s portfolio currently consists of nearly 450 open hotels with 80 additional projects in the pipeline in 72 countries and territories. By 2020, the brand’s footprint is expected to expand to 90 countries.Source = Marriott International – Sheraton Hotels and Resortslast_img read more

first_imgTTF is a great platform where we have been able to connect with a lot of hotels, travel agents as well as B2C people. It is the first time we have participated in TTF Kolkata and Hyderabad and the response is very nice. In Kolkata only, we met more than 100+ travel agents and hotels, signed around 80 contracts with travel agents in the stall. So it has been superb and we are very excited to be a part of this event. Looking at the tremendous response we have received from TTF Hyderabad and Kolkata we are planning to also participate in TTF Surat and TTF Pune along with TTF Ahmedabad and TTF Mumbai which was not part of the contract earlier. We will be planning a couple of engagement activities for the B2B and end consumers which will help us create better brand building in the western India.last_img read more

first_imgVirgin Atlantic has called on the UK Government to slash the price of a 10-year visit visa for Indian nationals to the cost of a six-month visa. This would mean a cut from £737 (Rs 73,700) to £85 (Rs 8,500).After UK visa changes for Chinese residents and ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK, the British airline has asked the UK Government to open access to Indian nationals, whether they are travelling for work or leisure.The call comes a week after research revealed India and the UK are “not as close as they could be”. The study conducted by British Council indicated that the UK is losing out on vital opportunities as ignorance of India among young Britons threatens the relationship between the two countries. The report, India Matters noted, “The colonial legacy presents a barrier for the UK in forging relationships with India today and in the future. There is a growing sense of frustration in India as some feel that a colonial mindset still lingers with some people in the UK, as at times it appears that India is still not perceived or treated as an equal to the UK.”Nick Parker, Head of India and Middle East, Virgin Atlantic said, “We have been working with the UK Government on a range of proposals to reduce the cost and complexity of visit visas for Indian and Chinese customers. We were delighted with the recently announced visa changes for Chinese visitors. Now is the time to extend the same courtesy to Indian nationals”.Virgin Atlantic operates a daily service between London Heathrow and Delhi on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, the newest aircraft in its fleet.last_img read more

first_imgWellness tourism is growing at a fast pace and likely to become a key driver of the tourism economy. As per the Global Wellness Economy Monitor, wellness is the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles which lead to a state of holistic health.In 2015, India was among the top 20 spa markets accounting for 4,734 spas and provided employment to 55,862, earning revenue of $1.46 billion, bagging 14th position. The country was ranked 14th then.Presently, India is ranked 12 among the top 20 wellness tourism markets as per the latest findings.Globally, wellness sector represents a $3.7 trillion economy and from 2013-15, it grew by 10.6%.Wellness tourism is usually practised  by domestic tourists, driven by short-haul and weekend trips. The market is dominated by large countries, such as the U.S., Germany, China, Japan, India and France, which have large internal and domestic tourism markets in general. Domestic wellness tourism represented 83% of all wellness trips and 67% of expenditures in 2015.Nevertheless, from 2013-2015 international wellness tourism has been growing at a much faster rate than domestic wellness tourism, with 22% growth in trips and 20% growth in expenditures for international, as compared to 17% and 11% for domestic, as per stated by Global Wellness Institute.While a comprehensive data on the wellness tourism in India is yet to be made available, sources in the industry say this genre is expected to grow faster than the medical tourism.In India, the wellness market had a turnover of $13 billion in 2015, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 12% to reach $23 billion by 2020.last_img read more

first_imgProfits Jump for Mortgage Banks Over Q2 2011 in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Despite an unfulfilling jobs report that left housing industries with flat feet, independent mortgage banks found reason to celebrate with a windfall in profit on second-quarter loans. Mortgage banks on average scored $575 for each loan, reflecting increases from $346 per loan over the first quarter this year, according to a performance report released Thursday by the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””: (MBA).[IMAGE]The study, titled the “”_Second Quarter 2011 Mortgage Bankers Performance Report_””:, represents one of five such studies made available by the trade group each year. Commenting on the sunny figures in a “”statement””:, Marina Walsh, MBA’s AVP of industry analysis, said, “”Contrary to overall MBA industry data in which estimated production volume declined, the average firm in our study of independents and subsidiaries experienced volume growth. The firms in our study were able to more quickly adjust to a purchase-focused mortgage market environment after a significantly refi-heavy fourth quarter of 2010.””According to the report, companies saw their loan volume jump from $164 million on average over the first quarter to $174 million over the last few months. [COLUMN_BREAK]Second-quarter estimates by the MBA for quarterly loans encompassed a total $290 billion, a few notches below the $302-billion first-quarter results.Government-backed originations swallowed 41 percent of the total share, making a rough comparison with 37 percent of loans seen over the first quarter this year. Showing why federally insured mortgages remain popular with homebuyers, borrower FICO scores fell on average from 733 over the first quarter to 729 over the second quarter this year, a plunge from 737 from the end of last year.Still-high refinancing activity accounted for 36 percent of originations among independent mortgage banks over the second quarter, a downward shift from 50 percent over the first quarter. The MBA showed refinancing activity for the industry at large falling to 62 percent over the second quarter from 65 percent over the first quarter this year.Loan balances refused to budge over the second quarter, staying unchanged at a $197,039-average in comparison with a first-quarter $196,456-average. Second-quarter gains for secondary marketing loans jumped by 210 basis points, up from 201 basis points over the first quarter, while loans on average leapt to $4,006, an improvement from first-quarter loan results that tallied $3,827.Meanwhile, personnel expenses saw declines, falling from $3,640 for each loan over the first quarter to $3,561 for loans originated over the second quarter. Commissions, compensation, occupancy, and equipment tallied up a $5,644-average for each loan over the second quarter in contrast with a $5,837-average over the first quarter.””At the same time, secondary marketing gains improved as spreads between ten-year Treasuries and 30-year mortgage rates began to widen towards the end of the second quarter,”” Walsh added. Sharecenter_img Agents & Brokers Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Processing Refinance Service Providers 2011-09-02 Ryan Schuette September 2, 2011 375 Views last_img read more

first_img in Data April 17, 2013 451 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Demand First-Time Homebuyers Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers Trulia 2013-04-17 Krista Franks Brock Slightly more than half of Americans harbor at least one regret about their current home, according to “”Trulia’s Real Estate Regrets””: survey released Wednesday. In today’s seller’s market, “”Trulia””: says buyers are especially vulnerable to making decisions they may regret in the future. [IMAGE]””Faced with limited inventory, many buyers will feel pressure to act fast–but snap decisions often end in regrets,”” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia. One of the common missteps of new homeowners, according to Kolko, is buying before reaching financial stability. “”Many buyers would have fewer regrets if they waited until they were in strong enough financial shape to afford a house that really meets their needs,”” he said. In fact, the top regret listed among homeowners is not choosing a larger home. Thirty-four percent of homeowners cited this regret in Trulia’s survey. The second most common regret among homeowners is not remodeling more when they purchased their current homes. [COLUMN_BREAK]Among renters, the top regret–listed by 42 percent of respondents–is the decision to rent rather than purchase their current homes. Overall, renters are more likely to harbor regrets of any kind toward their current living situation than are homebuyers. Fifty-six percent of renters shared regrets, while 50 percent of homeowners admitted to regrets about their current homes. Trulia also found older homeowners are less likely to regret their home choices. About 75 percent of homeowners ages 18 to 34 have regrets about their homes, while 36 percent of homeowners at least 55 years of age have regrets about their homes. Homeowner regret has declined in recent years compared to about a decade ago. Those who purchased homes between 2003 and 2009 have a 63 percent regret rate, while those who have purchased homes since 2010 have a 55 percent regret rate. With three-fourths of Americans believing now is a better time to buy a home than next year and less than one-third of Americans believing now is a better time to sell a home than next year, the current market is set for a disconnect, which may lead to more buyer regret, according to Trulia. Foreclosures are no longer flooding the market. New construction is still meager, and hopeful sellers are willing to wait for favorable prices. “”This year’s housing season will likely cause aggressive buyers to scramble in order to try to win bidding wars and overcome stiff competition–putting them at risk of making real estate mistakes they will regret,”” Trulia stated.center_img Trulia: Current Market Conditions Setting Up Buyers for Regret Sharelast_img read more

first_imgCase-Shiller Indices Near Five-Year High Agents & Brokers Appraisals Attorneys & Title Companies Home Equity Home Prices Home Values Investors Lenders & Servicers Mark Lieberman National Association of Realtors Processing Realtor Association S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices Service Providers 2013-07-30 Mark Lieberman July 30, 2013 444 Views Home prices rose to their highest levels in almost five years in May, increasing by a non-seasonally adjusted 2.5 percent, according to the “”Case-Shiller Home Price Indices””: released Tuesday. [IMAGE]The 20-city index was up 12.2 percent from a year earlier, and the companion 10-city index was up 11.8 percent. For the month, the 10-city index rose 2.5 percent and the 20-city index was up 2.4 percent. The two surveys have improved month-over-month and year-over-year for 12 consecutive months.The 10-city index rose to its highest level since September 2008, and the 20-city index to its highest level since October 2008.All 20 cities included in the survey improved both month-to-month and year-to-year.The home values found in the Case-Shiller report continued to shrug off discounts in the sales of distressed properties. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), distressed properties–foreclosures and short sales–accounted for 18 percent of home sales transactions in May (11 percent foreclosures and seven percent short sales). Foreclosures, NAR said, sold for an average discount of 15 percent below market value, while short sales were discounted 12 percent.The home values also improved despite higher mortgage rates, which could have both a positive and negative impact: Rising rates themselves might bring prices down as buyers look for affordable monthly payments, but they may also increase demand as buyers try to lock in rates before further increases. The increased demand against weak inventories would send prices up.NAR reported the median price of an existing single-family home rose 5.9 percent in May, an annual gain of 12.6 percent. The monthly Case-Shiller Home Price Indices use the ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£repeat sales method├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø of index calculation, which includes data on properties that have sold at least twice in order to capture the appreciated value of each specific sales unit, according to the description of the index on the S&P website.While good news for home sellers, the continued sharp increases–the indices have shown double-digit year-year increases for three months in a row–are likely to revive concerns of a growing housing bubble.The Case Shiller indices have gone up for six straight months and 12 times in the last 14 months; each index dipped last October and November.Overall, the 10-city index rose to 169.69–its highest level since September 2008, when it was 173.35–while the 20-city index improved to 156.14, the highest level since October 2008, when it was 158.09. The index values in fall 2008, though, were continuing to decline, while the indices reported Tuesday reflect a market on the rise.Monthly increases were led by San Francisco, where prices rose 4.3 percent, marking the 15th straight month of price increases in that city. Prices rose more than 3 percent in May in four other cities: Chicago, up 3.7 percent; Atlanta, up 3.4 percent; and San Diego and Seattle, where prices rose 3.1 percent.Prices have improved for 20 straight months in Phoenix, 15 straight months in Los Angeles, and 14 straight months in Las Vegas.Year-over-year the price gains were led by San Francisco, where prices rose 24.5 percent since May 2012, followed by Las Vegas (up 23.2 percent), Phoenix (up 20.6 percent), and Atlanta (up 20.1 percent). Eight other cities–Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Portland, San Diego, Seattle and Tampa–recorded double-digit year-year price gains.Despite the May improvement, the 10-city index was down 25.0 percent from its June 2006 high of 226.29, and the 20-city index was off 24.4 percent from its July 2006 peak of 206.52._Hear Mark Lieberman this Friday on P.O.T.U.S. Radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 8:45 a.m. and again at 12:30 p.m. Eastern._center_img Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicinglast_img read more

first_img in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News, Secondary Market The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced its strategic plan for the fiscal years 2015 through 2019, reflecting its priorities as a regulator and conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as regulator of the 12 Federal Home Loan (FHL) Banks.FHFA put together the report, entitled FHFA Strategic Plan: Fiscal Years 2015-2019, based on input on the draft agency strategic plan the agency received on request from members of Congress, the public, and stakeholders in accordance with the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010.The strategic plan outlines three goals for FHFA for the forthcoming fiscal years: ensure safe and sound regulated entities; ensure liquidity, stability, and access in housing finance; and manage the enterprises’ ongoing conservatorship.The strategic plan reflects priorities outlined for the GSEs in the 2014 Strategic Plan for the Conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, released by FHFA in May 2014.Last week, FHFA issued its Performance and Accountability Report, which gave a detailed report of the agencies activities as conservator of the GSEs and regulator for the FHL Banks during fiscal year 2014. The agency received an unmodified, or “clean” audit opinion from the U.S. Government Accountability Office for its financial activities during fiscal year 2014. FHFA Releases Strategic Plan for Years Ahead Fannie Mae Federal Home Loan Banks FHFA Freddie Mac Mel Watt 2014-11-24 Seth Welborncenter_img November 24, 2014 593 Views Sharelast_img read more

first_img Share Closing Costs HomePlus Mortgage LendingTree Mortgage Rates 2015-11-26 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News, Origination November 26, 2015 603 Views center_img When it comes to customer service, responsiveness, mortgage rates and closing costs, HomePlus Mortgage ranked first in a poll of loan customers conducted by online lending marketplace LendingTree.LendingTree took it upon itself to analyze customer reviews for the third quarter of 2015, ranking lenders on everything from mortgage rates to fees, closing costs, responsiveness and customer experience.After analyzing the data, HomePlus Mortgage came in first, followed by Pulaski Bank Home Lending (No. 2 on the list) and Triump Lending (No. 3). The entire list is below.LendingTree is the perfect platform for such a study since it provides more than 350 different lenders with information on interested borrowers who are looking for purchase mortgages, as well as refis and home equity mortgage lines.”We are honored to be consecutively ranked as LendingTree’s top customer-rated lender, and thank our clients for entrusting us with their real estate financing needs,” said Phillip Pizzino, founder and CEO of HomePlus Mortgage. “We’ve had the privilege to work with thousands of satisfied clients on LendingTree and contribute our success to our commitment to exceptional personalized service.”So what does HomePlus Mortgage stand for?Based out of San Diego, California, the lender notes on its website that customers engage directly with loan officers, with the firm’s ultimate goal being the highest level of service and competitive mortgage loan offerings.LendingTree’s Full List of Top Ten Lenders Includes:HomePlus MortgagePulaski Bank Home LendingTriumph LendingAmericashDitech Financial, LLCSilver Fin Capital GroupNational Bank Of Kansas CityCommonwealth Mortgage, LLCInsight LoansReliant Bank Mortgage Service HomePlus Mortgage Ranked First Among LendingTree Customerslast_img read more

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Market Studies, News Real estate data firm Zillow estimates the median home value in the city of San Francisco hovers somewhere around $1.1 million, making it one of the most unaffordable housing markets in America.Coincidentally, it’s also home to some of the wealthiest Americans, according to Capgemini’s new U.S. Wealth Report for the year 2015.When it comes to housing the nation’s millionaires, the unaffordable San Francisco area ranks No. 5 on the wealth report, outranked only by New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and the nation’s Capitol.What Capgemini found seems like a fun survey if you’re the type of person shopping for a wealthy friend to buy you a Bentley. But if affordable housing is your goal, there is a strange corollary between what cities are considered costly and which real estate markets house the nation’s wealthy.As Capgemini notes, high-net worth individuals—classified as citizens with investable assets valued up to $1 million—most often reside in the same 12 U.S. cities. In fact, two-thirds of these individuals live in the following cities: New York (No. 1 on the list); Los Angeles (No. 2); Chicago (No. 3); Washington, D.C., (No. 4); San Francisco (No. 5); Boston (No. 6); Houston (No. 7); Philadelphia (No. 8); San Jose (No. 9); Dallas (No. 10); Detroit (No. 11); and Seattle (No. 12).With the exception of Houston, Dallas and Detroit, most of the cities on the list remain unaffordable from the perspective of working-class and middle-class Americans.For instance, Zillow places New York’s median home value at nearly $600,000, while Los Angeles residents are dealing with a median home price of roughly $554,000. Only Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth offer affordability across differing income levels with the median prices in those cities hovering around $141,300, and $174,400, respectively, according to Zillow data.And it seems high-net worth individuals may continue to influence these top real estate markets with their net wealth soaring even higher in 2015. Capgemini noted that the nation now has 4.4 million individuals classified as having a high net worth.In fact, the percentage of those reaching this economic status increased 8.6% between 2013 and 2014, the report says.As these “high-financial status individuals” dominate different real estate markets and prices rise, it’s hard to argue against their growing influence.Click here to view the full report. Capgemini High Net Worth Real Estate Data 2015-12-07 Staff Writer Where High Net Worth Individuals Live–And Why You Can’t Live There Too?center_img Share December 7, 2015 475 Views last_img read more