Emirates beomes MCI Groups Official Airline Partner

first_imgEmirates beomes MCI Group’s Official Airline PartnerEmirates, the world’s largest international airline, and MCI today announced a global alliance which will see Emirates becoming the official airline of its large and international events. MCI in turn will be the preferred Professional Congress Organiser (PCO) for Emirates.The strategic partnership will help Emirates build a strong MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibition) commercial brand in the meetings industry and better cater to its diverse and frequent business travellers. Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer formalised the agreement with MCI’s Founder & Chairman, Roger Tondeur at the Emirates Group Headquarters.“The MICE segment is rapidly growing and we are always looking to connect our customers to what matters to them. At Emirates, we are well positioned to cater to the needs of business travellers worldwide with the latest facilities we offer on our modern wide-body jets and excellent on board service from our international cabin crew who speak over 60 languages. Our partnership with MCI will allow us to work even more effectively on the complex requirements of the meetings industry making corporate travel more convenient and affordable for our customers,” said Thierry Antinori.The partnership will see Emirates connecting delegates from across the globe to key business hubs such as Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas. With a global reach spanning over 140 cities on six continents, Emirates will provide delegates from across the globe with one-stop connectivity between continents.“MCI is proud to be the preferred PCO for Emirates, one of the world’s leading airlines. The partnership between MCI and Emirates, global leaders in our respective industries will only result in greater convenience for our shared customers. We are responsible for over 4,500 events annually and having Emirates as our official airline partner will streamline travel arrangements for delegates to and from their meetings,” explained Roger Tondeur.The partnership agreement between Emirates and MCI will last for two years.Source = Emirateslast_img read more

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Scoot and Virgin partner to extend connectivity to Tasmania

first_imgSource = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson Good news for Tasmanians: a new interline agreement between Scoot and Virgin Australia means you can now fly all the way home from Singapore (via Melbourne) on a single ticket.Through the partnership, confirmed yesterday by Tasmania Premier and Tourism Minister Will Hodgman, low-cost carrier Scoot will connect its Singapore-Melbourne service to Virgin Australia’s services between Melbourne, Hobart and Launceston.Scoot chief executive officer Campbell Wilson said the airline has received an extremely positive response to its Singapore-Melbourne service that launched last November.“Our fantastic value airfares, plentiful choices and service with Scootitude have clearly proved a hit, so we’re delighted to making them even more accessible to Tasmanians and overseas visitors through the extension of our partnership with Virgin Australia,” Mr Wilson said.Tasmanians and visitors leaving the state will now also be able to book flights departing Hobart or Launceston to Singapore via Melbourne on a single ticket.The interline agreement comes at a crucial time for the the Tasmanian Government, which has a goal of attracting 1.5 million visitors to the state every year by 2020.The Asia visitor market, enhanced by the new connections, will play a major role in achieving this goal as the government’s Access 2020 plan reveals air capacity will need to increase by around 140,000 extra seats a year to meet the target.The arrangement will be available in industry booking systems, providing greater exposure for Tasmania in the Singapore travel distribution network. Fly Virgin Australia Fly Scootlast_img read more

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TAT takes bold steps to build quality

first_imgASEAN Tourism Forum Tourism Authority of Thailanddiscover more here TAT takes bold steps to build qualityThailand announced at the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) that it will pursue an aspiring target to grow tourism revenue to 2.41 trillion Baht (66.5 billion US dollars), extend travel connectivity to neighbouring countries and take its high flying travel show, the Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2016 (TTM+ 2016), to North Thailand for the first time.Addressing the media attending the ATF, Friday, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor, Dr. Yuthasak Supasorn, outlined a determined strategy to expand tourism revenue, while promoting travel options that combine Thailand’s top destinations with travel opportunities in neighbouring countries.The strategy also touched on strengthening niche tourism, particularly the luxury travel, female travellers and community-based tourism to a global audience. Achieving a quality, balanced tourism experience was the core theme of the TAT Governor’s address to the ATF media attending the Thailand Briefing.“This year we will focus less on visitor arrivals and more on achieving quality tourism targets,” he explained. “Our marketing strategy for international markets will position the kingdom as a quality leisure destination through Thainess.”He defined “quality” as measured by visitor expenditure, average length of stay, and the overall delivery of a valuable visitor experience.Compared with 2015, when the country earned 2.23 trillion Baht in tourism (1.44 trillion Baht (42 billion US Dollars) in international tourism and 0.79 trillion Baht (23 billion US Dollars) in domestic), this year TAT is forecasting tourism revenue of 2.41 trillion Baht (USD66.5 billion) with 1.56 trillion Baht 43 billion US dollars earned from international tourism (USD43 billion) and 850 billion Baht from the domestic market (USD23.5 billion).According to preliminary figures from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand attracted 29.88 million tourists in 2015, up 20% on 2014.To refresh the country’s travel options in global markets, the TAT Governor also presented a strategy to work with neighbouring countries to promote “Two Countries One Destination” packages emphasising on connectivity with Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR. and Vietnam.Overland trips will be promoted under the tagline “Crossing 2 Checkpoints, Travelling in 2 Countries” by initially combining historical attractions in both Thailand and Cambodia.“The tour has been designed in a way that allows visitors to fully use new cross-border highways and international border checkpoints,” the Governor explained.Dr. Yuthasak stressed the importance of the up-coming TTM+ 2016 due to be hosted in Chiang Mai. The mart will position the city as a tourism hub for North Thailand and the border regions of Myanmar and Lao PDR. In addition, this event will be open to ASEAN NTO members in support of the ASEAN Economic Community. Prior to this year, the country’s flagship trade event had been held in the Thai capital Bangkok.Themed ‘Smile with Us’ TTM+ 2016 will be held between 8 to 10 June, at the Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Centre.center_img Source = Tourism Authority of Thailandlast_img read more

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AccorHotels conducts unprecedented Twitter campaign

first_imgImage credit: AccorHotels via YoutubeAs a pioneering brand in digital hospitality, AccorHotels has decided to bring the signature of its “Feel Welcome from the first click” advertising campaign to life by conducting an unprecedented international operation on Twitter.For the first time, a brand has spoken to new Twitter users, welcoming them in a personalised way.For one week, from 4 to 8 April, new Twitter users who published their first tweet with the dedicated hashtag #Myfirsttweet were sent a welcome message from AccorHotels.com.In order to warm up this welcome, the brand has decided to offer a personal attention that evokes a hotel stay in the form of a bathrobe embroidered with their Twitter username.This operation took place simultaneously in seven countries thanks to community managers who personally responded to each user in: Germany, Australia, Brazil, Spain, France, Italy and the United Kingdom.“We are delighted to have welcomed the new Twitter users and to have been their first follower,” AccorHotels VP Marketing e-commerce Emilie Vazquez said.“It has enabled us to promote our brand in our key markets and to illustrate our signature in a completely unprecedented and exclusive way. This operation perfectly illustrates our group’s positioning and its digital platform: the most welcoming hotel brand in our establishments, on our websites and now on Twitter!” AccorHotelsSource = AccorHotelslast_img read more

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Seventh property joins expanding NSW outback tourism stable

first_imgSeventh property joins expanding NSW outback tourism stableSeventh property joins expanding NSW outback tourism stableOutback NSW tourism operator, Out of the Ordinary Outback, which was launched a year ago, has expanded again with the purchase of its seventh accommodation property – The Tourist Lodge in Broken Hill.Aimed at the budget market, the 40-room property is the third accommodation business in Broken Hill for Out of the Ordinary Outback, which bought The Argent motel in March this year opposite The Tourist Lodge and is currently building the brand new, $5 million Broken Hill Outback Resort for an opening in March, 2018Out of the Ordinary Outback, which also owns award-winning tour company, Tri State Safaris, has begun a progressive, five-month program to refurbish and refresh The Tourist Lodge in line with its other six properties across far western NSW where the company has quickly established a niche as the leading tourist business in the region.The Tourist Lodge, which is close to the Broken Hill Visitors Centre and coaches and trains to Sydney, will remain open during the facelift and new management is now in place. The lodge features a pool, garden area, shared bathrooms, kitchen and dining facilities and will be pitched by Out of the Ordinary Outback to miners, tradesmen and other workers staying in Broken Hill as well as school groups and budget travellers. Full board packages will be available.Out of the Ordinary Outback owner, Scott Smith, said the addition of The Tourist Lodge to the company’s portfolio would add diversity to its offerings across far west NSW while the revitalisation of the lodge would enhance its appeal to visiting workers and budget travellers seeking affordable accommodation in the area. “We are incredibly passionate about the beautiful outback of NSW and developing its potential and our latest property will help us cater for a new demographic and draw more visitors to Broken Hill,” Mr Smith said.Accommodation at The Tourist Lodge is available from $55 per night for one person and from $80 for two people, with family rooms for four people available from $110. A full board package including dinner, bed, breakfast and packed lunch is available for $100 per person.Visit www.thetouristlodge.com.auLaunched in October, 2016, Out of the Ordinary Outback encompasses outback tour company, Tri State Safaris, The Argent motel in Broken Hill, Warrawong on the Darling tourist camp and cabins at Wilcannia, the iconic White Cliffs Underground Motel, Cobar’s Copper City Motel, the Ivanhoe Hotel and also the Broken Hill Outback Resort which will open in March, 2018, offering cabin, caravan and camping accommodation. Out of the Ordinary Outback also runs its own visitor centre in Broken Hill.Visit  www.outoftheordinaryoutback.com.au or call 1300 688 225.Source = Out of the Ordinary Outbacklast_img read more

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Emirates to operate extra flights for busy Hajj season

first_imgEmirates to operate extra flights for busy Hajj seasonEmirates to operate extra flights for busy Hajj seasonEmirates will be operating extra flights to Jeddah and Medina to help facilitate travel for pilgrims heading to and from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Hajj. Emirates will be operating 33 additional flights to Jeddah and Medina from 6 to 31 August to support the journey for pilgrims expected to travel to the Holy City of Mecca during Hajj this year. These services will run in parallel with Emirates’ regularly scheduled services to Jeddah and Medina. These additional flight services are available to travellers holding a valid Hajj visa. This year, top inbound destinations Emirates is expecting Hajj pilgrims to come from are Pakistan, Senegal, the UnitedStates, the UK, Australia, Indonesia, the Ivory Coast and Nigeria.Adil Al Ghaith, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Gulf, Middle East and Iran said: “Hajj travel is an extraordinary journey for Muslims which leaves them with a lifetime of memorable experiences, and we expect over 25,000 pilgrims to travel with Emirates this year. With the significant demand for air travel during this period, Emirates is deploying extra flights to ensure more seamless connections for the scores of pilgrims making their way to the Holy City of Mecca. During their journey, we aim to provide our customers with the best experience that is aligned with the pillars of their faith, particularly during this significant period.”On the ground in Dubai, Emirates has a dedicated airport team whose purpose is to seamlessly facilitate the passenger ground experience for Hajj. In addition, dedicated check-in and transfer counters will be set up for Hajj passengers transiting in Dubai.In the air, several initiatives have been planned in keeping with the values and traditions that pilgrims uphold when travelling for Hajj. Extra provisions will be made to accommodate Hajj traveller needs such as performing ablutions, advising passengers about Al Miqat and Ihram (the phase when pilgrims enter a state of sanctity) and other arrangements that will help ease their journey. Emirates’award winning ice system will also feature a special Hajj video that covers safety, Hajj formalities and information about performing the Hajj pilgrimage. Pilgrims will also be able to tune into the Holy Quran channel.On flights from Jeddah, Hajj passengers can bring up to 5 litres of holy water (Zamzam) which will be placed in special areas in the cargo hold. As with all Emirates flights, Hajj passengers will enjoy extra generous Emirates baggage allowance of up to 35kg in Economy Class, 40kg in Business Class and 50kg in First Class.Source = Emirateslast_img read more

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Signature Bridge to be finished by 2016 Jitender Singh Tomar

first_imgThe Signature Bridge at Wazirabad, conceived as a tourist destination, will soon add to the Delhi skyline. Jitender Singh Tomar, Delhi Tourism Minister and Ramesh Tiwari, MD & CEO Delhi Tourism along with other senior officials visited the Signature Bridge at Wazirabad to review the pace of undergoing construction. Expressing satisfaction on the progress, Tomar said, “The Bridge has a conceivable potential to develop recreational facilities for encouraging tourists to visit the site.”“The construction work of Signature Bridge will be completed by March, 2016. We are developing new facilities at the bridge like installation of LED lights and some restaurants so that people can be attracted,” Tomar added.The Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC) is constructing the bridge, which is 675 metres long. “We will develop water and sports facilities under the bridge. The bridge will prove one of the best Signature Bridges in the world,” the minister said.Tomar said that 700 to 800 acres of wasteland along the bridge would be developed into a tourist destination.“The Signature Bridge will be an example of aesthetic elegance and would be made into a favourable tourist destination in Delhi,” said Ramesh Tiwari, MD & CEO, Delhi Tourism.last_img read more

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Israel Ministry of Tourism successfully conducts road shows in Mumbai and Delhi

first_imgIsrael is an emerging tourist destination in India and has witnessed a phenomenal growth of 13% in 2015. The year 2015 saw approximately 40,000 Indian tourists visiting Israel compared to around 35,000 in 2014. December 2015 alone has seen a growth of 52% over last year. The country is a top tourist destination in the world and attracted over three million visitors globally in 2015. Witnessing the growth and potential from the India, Amir Halevi, Director General – Israel Ministry of Tourism along with David Maimon, CEO – El Al Airlines, Hassan Madah, Director – IMOT India, Judah Samuel, Director of Marketing – IMOT India has taken a progressive step forward in consolidating their presence in the India market.IMOT organised a travel-trade interaction in Delhi and Mumbai recently. The objective of these events was to highlight Israel as a leading leisure and MICE destination. Top-of-the-line travel professionals attended and interacted with the IMOT team for understanding the unique offerings to develop new products for Israel. Both the events received an overwhelming response from the travel fraternity.Amir Halevi, Director General – IMOT on his maiden visit to India conversed with the travel fraternity to help them promote Israel as a preferred destination for holidaymakers and corporate travellers. He said, “Israel has been gaining popularity in India and has experienced a consistent growth in 2015. We have tripled the marketing budget for India in 2016 to tap the travel agents and direct consumers. We are confident that in 2016 a lot more Indians will choose Israel as their holiday destination. Israel is a safe and welcoming country.”IMOT in 2016 will use various integrated strategies to woo Indian travellers. Speaking about the strategies, Hassan Madah, Director – IMOT India commented, “The investments in 2015 like hosting TAFI convention and FAM tours for journalists and travel agents among other activities has led to a positive increase in numbers and growing the popularity of Israel in India. In 2016, IMOT will have more tourism promotions and activities than ever in India and target the travel trade and direct customers through various marketing tools. We will also target end consumers through marketing on digital platforms. We are sure that through profound strategies we will see a favourable growth in tourist arrivals from India to Israel this year. We are also looking at associating with Bollywood to promote Indian films in Israel.”El Al provides direct connectivity and is also seeing an increase in the number of bookings from India. El Al now has 4 weekly flights which will give a great boost to Israel tourism from India. The airline has direct flights from Mumbai to Tel Aviv. IMOT is also in a discussion with the Civil Aviation Ministry and Indian airlines to have direct flights to Israel from India.Israel is a friendly country with a number of museums, archaeological sites, and modern attractions to explore. Each region of Israel has something unique to offers. Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Eilat, Nazareth, Haifa, Akko, Massada, Negev Desert are the famous tourist facets of Israel. The country offers picturesque locations, colourful markets and distinctive excursions for an exciting holiday. Highlighting the above offerings, IMOT hopes 2016 will be a positive year for Israel tourism from India.last_img read more

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Dubai receives over 8 million overnight visitors in the first half of

first_imgDuring the first six months of 2017, Dubai welcomed a record total of 8.06 million international overnight tourists, a 10.6% increase over the same period last year. The figures, released by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, showed the foundational strength and sustained acceleration of the emirate’s tourism sector.The year-on-year performances revealed Dubai’s top 20 inbound visitor market during the half of 2017 was stable where around five of them delivered standout double-digit growth.India, for the first time was ranked number one in the list of traffic generated crossing one million mark over a period of six months. Around more than one lakh Indians visited the city between January and June with 21% more footfall over the same period last year.Saudi Arabia and the UK took second and third spot in the largest feeder markets.The growth peaks of UAE was due to the free visa-on-arrival from China and Russia with 55% and 97% increase respectively last year over the first six months. China brought in 413,000 visitors to end first half of 2017 in fifth place and Russia cemented its return to the top ten with 233,000 visitors.Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, mentioned that Dubai has sustained the momentum of growth in the first quarter and delivered a strong double-digit performance through the first half of 2017. It has set the stage for continued acceleration in tourism volumes and GDP contribution for the rest of the year.last_img read more

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Thomas Cook India and Mastercard partner for Priceless Cities experience

first_imgTapping into the evolving aspirations of Indian travellers, Mastercard and Thomas Cook India have announced a partnership to bring Mastercard’s global ‘Priceless Cities’ program for Indian outbound travellers for the first time. Offered for a period of six months starting May 2019, Thomas Cook India’s Forex cardholders (Borderless Prepaid Cards and One Currency Cards) will have the opportunity to utilise these unique benefits and create enriching experiences for themselves. The initiative will allow travellers the opportunity to unlock hidden gems across more than 40 cities worldwide through the ‘Priceless Cities’ program. All Thomas Cook prepaid cards in India exclusively enjoy Mastercard’s safe and secure payments network.‘Priceless Cities’ is part of Priceless, a one-of-a-kind global experiential program by Mastercard. First introduced in New York in 2011, the program celebrates the world’s greatest cities by connecting consumers’ passions to unique experiences, privileged access and attractive offers. Cardholders will have access to box seats at bespoke events, cooking classes with master chefs along with an array of other benefits to choose from. The program is designed to bring consumers closer to their passions — dining, sports, shopping, arts and entertainment as well as travel through one-of-its-kind experiences and exclusive access in more than 40 destinations around the world. These destinations include Paris, Rome, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and others.Commenting on the launch, Mahesh Iyer, Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd said, “We are delighted to partner with Mastercard to offer our Borderless and One Currency card customers unique and inspirational experiences across more than 40 cities worldwide. India’s new age travellers are showing an increasing appetite for exclusive experiences and hence the Priceless Cities portfolio,  falcon flying in Dubai, stay at Zaya Nurai, one of the world’s most beautiful islands in Abu Dhabi or a gin masterclass in Singapore finds strong appeal across our segments.”Vikas Varma, Senior Vice President, Account Management, South Asia, Mastercard said, “Mastercard is passionate about creating memorable experiences for its cardholders. Mastercard’s partnership with Thomas Cook will allow Indian outbound travellers to use their Thomas Cook travel prepaid cards for cashless shopping and enjoy unparalleled access to a suite of benefits and privileges worldwide.”Thomas Cook prepaid cardholders can view the ‘Priceless Cities’ packages here – https://www.thomascook.in/campaigns/mastercard-priceless-citieslast_img read more

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Home Price Moderation Continues in Second Quarter

first_img Home price growth backed down across the country in the second quarter, bringing national year-over-year appreciation to its slowest pace since the start of the housing recovery.According to a quarterly report from the National Association of Realtors, median existing single-family home prices increased in 71 percent of measured markets last quarter, with 122 out of 173 metropolitan statistical areas posting annual increases from Q2 2013. Nineteen of those areas reported double-digit increases.Those numbers reflected a slowdown from the first quarter, when prices rose in 74 percent of metros, and 37 areas saw gains higher than 10 percent.Nationally, NAR reported the median existing single-family home price across April, May, and June was $212,400, up 4.4 percent from a year ago. That rate of growth was about half the gain recorded in the first quarter.NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said the moderation in price gains is largely a positive sign, reflecting a return to a more balanced market between homebuyers and sellers. Prices first started to climb in the beginning of 2012, quickly accelerating to a pace most commentators had deemed unsustainable as inflation and wage growth lagged behind.”At this slower but healthier rate, homeowners can continue steadily building equity,” Yun said. “Meanwhile, for buyers, supply with moderate price gains is giving them better opportunities to choose.”Price growth was capped off in part thanks to continuing declines in distressed home sales, which made up 12 percent of second-quarter home transactions, NAR reported. Going forward, Yun added that the drop in distressed sales will also help diminish appraisal problems that have stalled some home sales.Also contributing to the moderation in price growth was a “much-needed” improvement in total existing-home stock, which came to 2.30 million at the end of the quarter. At the current sales pace, NAR estimates the average supply during the quarter was about 5.6 months.Still, some areas—such as the West, which led home price growth with an annual gain of 7.3 percent—remain starved for inventory.”New construction for ownership housing and rentals is needed to alleviate price and rent pressures and accommodate their growing populations,” Yun said.Given the slowdown in price increases, the drop in mortgage rates compared to last year, and the slight rise in the national median household income (to $64,751), NAR says buying power improved in a majority of metros last quarter. According to the group, in order to purchase a single-family home at the median price, a buyer making a 20 percent down payment would need an income of $40,266, while a 5 percent down payment would require an income of $47,816. August 12, 2014 535 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News Home Prices Housing Affordability Housing Supply National Association of Realtors 2014-08-12 Tory Barringercenter_img Home Price Moderation Continues in Second Quarter Sharelast_img read more

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Applications Point to Further Declines in New Home Sales

first_img Applications for new home purchases plummeted in August, pointing to continued weakness in a market segment that has disappointed throughout the year.The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Builder Application Survey tumbled 9 percent month-over-month in August, according to the latest from the group. The decline does not include any seasonal adjustments.Based on application volume collected by mortgage subsidiaries of homebuilders nationwide, MBA estimates new home sales last month ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 424,000, down 2.1 percent from the association’s estimate of 433,000 for July.The anticipated decline follows a 2.4 percent drop in July new home sales as reported by the Commerce Department. According to initial estimates from the government, sales that month were at an adjusted annual pace of 412,000.On an unadjusted basis, MBA estimates August saw 34,000 new home sales, a monthly decrease of 8.1 percent.By product type, MBA reports conventional loans made up 68.9 percent of new home purchase applications last month, up slightly from July, while the share of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured loans fell slightly to 15.7 percent.Meanwhile, the percentage mortgages insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs rose to 14.3 percent, while rural housing loans fell to 1 percent.The average loan size for a new home increased more than $3,000 from July to August, coming in at $300,443. Applications Point to Further Declines in New Home Sales Home Prices Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association New Home Sales Purchase Loans 2014-09-11 Tory Barringer Sharecenter_img September 11, 2014 572 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, News, Originationlast_img read more

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HARP Activity Drops Further as Refinances Sink

first_img Share Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac HARP Refinances 2015-01-19 Tory Barringer January 19, 2015 518 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, Newscenter_img Mortgage refinance volumes reversed course in November, turning down as the government’s refinance program continued to see its popularity dwindle.Monthly data released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) shows Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac together reported 134,582 refinances in November 2014, down from nearly 139,000 in October.Monthly refinance numbers moved in fits and starts throughout 2014, bouncing between a low of 105,059 in March and October’s year-to-date high—though the trend in the year’s latter half was largely upward as mortgage rates fell to nearly 4.0 percent.As overall refinancing fell, so too did the number of mortgages refinanced under the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which targets borrowers with high loan-to-value (LTV) ratios. For November, the GSEs reported a combined 12,429 HARP refinances, putting demand for the program at its lowest point in years.Year-to-date through November, HARP refinances totaled just 201,337, less than a quarter of 2013’s full-year number (892,909).While FHFA has focused in the past year on marketing the program through town hall-style events and other borrower outreach initiatives, analysts say the drop in HARP activity stems not from lack of awareness, but from a lack of new and eligible homeowners.”Everybody that has been or could be through that program did it and has moved on,” said John Bell, a principal at United Fidelity Funding Corp., a wholesale mortgage lender.Bell says that at this point, the government would be better served by expanding eligibility requirements, as it already did once in 2012. Though FHFA Director Mel Watt has offered no signal that the agency will create “HARP 3.0″ before the program’s expiration at the end of this year, it does seem a more likely possibility, given the Obama administration’s push to make mortgage credit more affordable.For Bell—who works out of an office in Irvine, California—the first step would be to raise loan limits for certain high-cost areas. The second would be to loosen some federal regulations, such as the qualified mortgage (QM) rule, which he says has hampered some homeowners who would otherwise be eligible for HARP.”We’d be really excited to see [HARP] 3.0 come out with expanded loan limits, maybe lower FICO scores, and possibly reduced QM requirements … on some loans,” he said. HARP Activity Drops Further as Refinances Sinklast_img read more

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Student Loans Not Affecting Credit Access of Millennials

first_img Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News, Origination A TransUnion study discovered that in spite of the rises in student-loan balances for the past decade, younger consumers have not allowed loan obligations to hinder repayment of other credit-related items such as auto loans and mortgages when compared with peers with no student loans. These findings place a contradiction on the belief that student debt is preventing young adults from accessing credit.”Going to school impacts young consumers’ access to credit; while in school, students may be less likely to have a job and generate the income necessary for loan approval,” said Steve Chaouki, EVP and the head of TransUnion’s financial services business unit. “However, most catch up once they leave school-and their ability to catch up has not changed over the past decade.”The study noted that, compared to students without loans, consumers ages 18 to 29 that are repaying their student loans are usually able to get new loans. These students perform as well or better on those new loans. Student-loan consumers in their 20s are also more likely to surpass those without loans when taking out mortgage and auto loans and credit cards in three to six years.After students start to repay their student loans, they begin to have new mortgage obligations and higher new auto and credit card open rates than those with no student debt, TransUnion says.”Our study demonstrates that consumers in their 20s with student loans in repayment-that is, once they finish school-are in fact able to access credit at levels similar to or better than their peers who do not have student loans,” Chaouki said.The data in the study showed an increase in the amount of consumers ages 20 to 29 with student loans from 32 percent in 2005 to 52 percent at the end of 2014. Student loan balances have increased from $589 billion in Q1 2010 to $1.1 trillion in Q1 2015. The overall loan “wallet” for consumers ages 20 to 29 for student loans has also grown dramatically, increasing from 12.9 percent in 2005 to 36.8 percent in 2014, an increase of 186 percent in relation to other products such as mortgages, credit cards, and auto loans.The study also shows that both, consumers with student loans and without loans were affected by the changes in the economy and shifts in credit access. Consumers ages 18 to 29 with credit obligations like mortgages, credit card, and auto loans declined significantly between 2005 and 2012.”Participation rates for mortgages, credit cards and auto loans dropped significantly between the 2005-2007 and 2012-2014 timeframes-and impacted both consumers repaying student loans and those in the control group to a similar degree,” said Charlie Wise, co-author of the study and VP in TransUnion’s Innovative Solutions Group. “However, just as we observed in 2005, student loan borrowers in 2012 generally left school with lower loan participation rates than their control counterparts, likely due to difficulty in accessing credit while a student with little or no income.”To view the complete study visit: TransunionInsights.com Credit Action Millennials Student Loans TransUnion 2015-05-13 Staff Writercenter_img May 13, 2015 621 Views Student Loans Not Affecting Credit Access of Millennialslast_img read more

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Home Prices Increased in July as Job Market Improves Demand Rises

first_imgHome Prices Increased in July as Job Market Improves & Demand Rises As the job market continues to improve and buyers move in on a limited supply of homes, home prices increased in July, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported Tuesday.According to the FHFA’s monthly House Price Index (HPI), house prices climbed 0.6 percent in July, but the previously reported 0.2 percent change in June remains the same.Year-over-year, from July 2014 to July 2015, home prices increased 5.8 percent, the FHFA found. The index is 1.1 percent below the peak reached in March 2007 peak and is about the same as the November 2006 index level.For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from June 2015 to July 2015 ranged from -1.2 percent in the New England division to +1.6 percent in the Mountain division.The 12-month changes were all positive FHFA reported, ranging from +2.1 percent in the New England division to +9.4 percent in the Mountain division.The FHFA HPI is determined using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.Earlier this month, CoreLogic reported that low mortgage rates and stronger consumer confidence are driving home sales and home prices upward, according to the company’s July 2015 Home Price Index (HPI) Report.The report found that home prices, including distressed sales, rose 6.9 percent year-over-year in July. Home prices rose 6.7 percent excluding distressed sales.”Home sales continued their brisk rebound in July and home prices reflected that, up 6.9 percent from a year ago,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “Over the same period, the National Association of Realtors reported existing sales up 10 percent and the Census Bureau reported new home sales up 26 percent in July.””Low mortgage rates and stronger consumer confidence are supporting a resurgence in home sales of late,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Adding to overall housing demand is the benefit of a better labor market which has provided millennials the financial independence to form new households and escape ever-risings rental costs.”Fannie Mae reported in August that as gas prices continue to decline, oil-producing states remain at high-risk for home price decreases, according to the GSE’s recent edition of Housing Insights.Oil price declines within the past two months show no signs of a fast rebound, and the idea of a protracted bust prompts comparisons to the oil price slump of the 1980s, the report says.”While most Americans enjoyed lower gas prices at the time, others felt a negative impact as large employment losses occurred in the oil industry followed by a general economic slowdown in many oil-producing states,” Fannie Mae said. “This often led to house price declines. Prices in Texas, for example, fell 11 percent from 1983-1988 during a time when national home prices rose by 32 percent.” in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, Market Studies, News Sharecenter_img September 23, 2015 526 Views Demand Federal Housing Finance Agency Home Prices Job Market 2015-09-23 Staff Writerlast_img read more

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Mortgage Industry Shows Mixed Feelings on House Vote to Cap GSEs CEOs

first_img Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 2036 by voice vote placing a cap on the salaries of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac CEOs right at the original amount of $600,000 per year. Many in the mortgage industry expressed both approval and disapproval of the House’s decision when questioned about the vote.S. 2036, also known as the Equity in Government Compensation Act of 2015, is co-sponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), passed unanimously in the Senate in September.The Vitter-Warren bill was modeled on H.R. 2243, which was introduced by U.S. Congressman Ed Royce (R-California) in May in response to a proposal by Mel Watt, Director of the FHFA (conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) that could have raised their pay as high as the 25th percentile of the market, which computes to about $7.26 million per year. Royce’s bill passed in the House Financial Services Committee by a 57-1 vote on July 29.“It’s outrageous and almost unbelievable that a tax-payer-funded entity uses the dollars of hard-working Americans to line the pockets of their top CEO’s–to the tune of millions of dollars a year,” Vitter said Monday after the bill passed. “I am proud to have worked with Congressman Ed Royce on passing this legislation out of Congress so we can provide relief for the American taxpayers from the undue burden of financing the salaries of some of the top-ranking banking officials in the country.”Congressman Royce also commented, “While this is a victory for taxpayers, the real battle of winding down the GSEs and ending the government’s domination of the housing market remains. My ultimate goal is still comprehensive housing finance reform that brings private capital into the system to eliminate the boom-and-bust cycle that wreaked havoc on the American economy. This task takes on all the more urgency as Fannie and Freddie slip into the red and invite new taxpayer bailouts.”Mel Watt, who could now be at odds with the Obama Administration if the Vitter-Warren bill gets signed by the President, said in a statement in July that the purpose of the pay raises was to “promote CEO retention, allow reliable succession planning, and ensure the continuity, efficiency and stability” at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could stand to benefit institutionally from pay raises,” said Ed Delgado, President and CEO of the Five Star Institute. “The GSEs carry the weight of the mortgage industry and competitive compensation plans will enable them to be aggressive in terms of retaining intellectual capital.”Freddie Mac CEO Donald Layton told Wall Street Journal in an interview  that he did not have a response to the House’s decision to cap his pay, but he “regards this as something that is happening inside the government. I signed up for this job personally as a public service matter so the compensation wasn’t the big attraction to me. I really just don’t regard it as a big issue personally.”But while compensation may not be high on Layton’s list of priorities, it could present problems for his successor in the future.”I have to make it clear that while the CEO compensation symbolically is capped, we are able to pay reasonably to attract talent in the rest of the company so my subordinate usually make more money than I do,” he told the WSJ.Snapdocs CEO Aaron King applauded Freddie Mac CEO Donald Layton for “choosing to adopt a positive perspective on the Fannie and Freddie pay cap news. Rather than focusing on the fewer dollars in his own pocket, he affirmed his commitment to serving the good of the American people–a commitment that we hope to see from every public leader.”Brian Koss, EVP of Mortgage Network Inc., stated that he “looks at the return to tax payers. I am happy as long as there is direct alignment.”Tim Rood, Chairman of the Collingwood Group LLC, and a former Executive at Fannie Mae believes that the Fannie and Freddie CEOs “deserve a raise,” as they have “demonstrated their worth, stabilizing the companies and supporting market recovery.””I understand that my perspective on a rational move to raise their salaries to a level more equitable with those of their industry peers is not perceived by others in the same way. The optics are difficult, so it’s no surprise that this bill has bipartisan support,” he added.”The choice doesn’t have to be polarized, as the political positions suggest–allow the GSEs to accumulate capital, sunset their government charter, and spin them off as private companies or pull them into the Federal government entirely,” Rood explained. “But, whatever choice is made, the details around salaries and structure of the GSEs will fall into place. In this bizarre half-human half-horse arrangement, there are no easy answers. However, what is being proposed will not help taxpayers and will not help the housing market–good politics is very often bad policy.” Mortgage Industry Shows Mixed Feelings on House Vote to Cap GSEs’ CEOs Pay Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Salary Cap U.S. House of Representatives 2015-11-19 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, Newscenter_img November 19, 2015 616 Views Sharelast_img read more

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Mortgage Roundup Rates Hover Near 3Year Lows Applications Rise

first_imgMortgage Roundup: Rates Hover Near 3-Year Lows, Applications Rise Freddie Mac MBA Mortgage Applications Mortgage Interest Rates 2016-04-21 Staff Writer Share Interest rates for home loans remained near 3-year lows this week, while coincidentally, mortgage applications experienced a jump. Are consumers finally taking advantage of historically low rates?Freddie Mac reported in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.59 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, just slightly up from last week’s rate of 3.58 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.65 percent.Sean Becketti, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac said, “Volatility in financial markets subsided over the past week, allowing Treasury yields to stabilize. As a result, the 30-year mortgage rate was mostly flat, up only 1 basis point to 3.59 percent. The release of March’s existing-home sales report, which shows monthly growth at 5.1 percent, suggests homebuyers are taking advantage of low mortgage rates as the spring homebuying season gets underway.”The 15-year FRM averaged 2.85 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.86 percent, Freddie Mac reported. The 15-year FRM averaged 2.92 percent a year ago at this time. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.81 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.84 percent. It averaged 2.84 percent one year ago.Mortgage applications also experienced a jump this week, which means that consumers are taking advantage of low rates.The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported this week that mortgage applications increased 1.3 percent from one week earlier. The index increased 2 percent compared with the previous week on an unadjusted basis. Meanwhile, the refinance index rose 3 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted purchase index fell 1 percent from one week earlier, and the unadjusted purchase index increased 1 percent and was 17 percent higher than the same week one year ago.Homebuyers overcame one of the housing market’s biggest obstacles—an imbalance in supply and demand— in March with a rebound in home sales.The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that existing-home salesrose 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million in March from a downwardly revised 5.07 million in February and 1.5 percent year-over-year.”Closings came back in force last month as a greater number of buyers – mostly in the Northeast and Midwest–overcame depressed inventory levels and steady price growth to close on a home,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist. “Buyer demand remains sturdy in most areas this spring and the mid-priced market is doing quite well. However, sales are softer both at the very low and very high ends of the market because of supply limitations and affordability pressures.”center_img April 21, 2016 562 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Newslast_img read more

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Sales are Close to Peak But Not Quite There

first_img December 20, 2016 506 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, News The consensus within the industry is that existing-home sales are having their best year in a decade. But there is still room for improvement, according to one analysis.First American Financial Corporation, in its November 2016 Potential Home Sales report, found existing-home sales to be at a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 6.1 million, which was 103.5 percent higher than the trough for existing-home sales market potential in December 2008.A recurring storyline in the existing-home sales market has been a short supply of homes for sale, which is causing the market to underperform, according to First American. Mortgage interest rates which have risen substantially and are well above 4 percent now may cause some affordability issues—but there is some good news on the affordability front.“While rising rates reduce affordability for potential first-time homebuyers, the expected moderation of price appreciation will align house price growth more closely with recently increasing income growth to help offset reduced affordability in the year ahead,” Fleming said.Even with an increase of 233,000 sales (4 percent) in November compared with a year ago, the market for existing-home sales was still approximately 98,000 (1.6 percent) below its peak market potential, reached in July 2005, according to First American.“The market potential for existing-home sales continues to grow based on the strength of the broader economy, particularly wage growth, as well as improving access to credit,” Fleming said. “But, the market continues to underperform its potential, primarily a result of persistently tight inventory.”Tight inventory has consistently put upward pressure on home prices, causing them to appreciate more rapidly than they would have otherwise. In fact, Redfin recently reported that home prices rose by 8 percent over-the-year in November, their fastest rate of appreciation in 14 months. Fleming said there is good news on that front, too.“Home price appreciation is typically more sensitive to mortgage rate increases and I expect to see a decline in the house price growth rate of almost a full percentage point by the end of 2017,” Fleming said. “The ‘taper-tantrum’ in 2013, which was a larger increase in mortgage rates than we have seen in recent weeks, produced a similar result—a decline in sales activity, but a more pronounced decline in house price appreciation.” Sales are Close to Peak, But Not Quite Therecenter_img Share Existing-Home Sales Market potenetial 2016-12-20 Seth Welbornlast_img read more

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Partnering to Fight Housing Inequality

first_img A recent partnership between Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, Inc. (HOME) and Wells Fargo will supply the fight against the racial homeownership gap with $4 million dollars. The movement to increase the amount of African-American homeowners will be done through classes, programs, and events targeted to potential home buyers educating them on the dos and don’ts of of real estate. To read the rest of the story, click here. July 18, 2017 656 Views Share Partnering to Fight Housing Inequalitycenter_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Media, News Wells Fargo 2017-07-18 Brianna Gilpinlast_img

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How Will Rising Mortgage Rates Impact a Buyers Willingness to Enter the

first_img in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination How Will Rising Mortgage Rates Impact a Buyer’s Willingness to Enter the Market? February 12, 2018 557 Views They may slow down their search for a new home or look for smaller homes, but a very few buyers looking at purchasing a home in 2018 will halt their plans if mortgage rates go beyond 5 percent, according to a study by online brokerage firm Redfin.The study, which was conducted in late 2017 targeted 14 major metro areas across the U.S. and compared the answers of the respondents to a similar study conducted by Redfin in May 2017.According to the findings, only 6 percent of the people surveyed said that they would halt all plans of buying a home if the mortgage rates touched 5 percent or more during the year, showing a modest one-point increase from the earlier survey. In contrast, 27 percent of the respondents said that an increase in interest rates would slow down their home search, down two points from the last survey. The study indicated that 21 percent of the respondents would consider buying a home that was smaller or in another area if the interest rates increased, showing a three-point increase over a similar response in the earlier study. Interestingly, consistent with the number in the last study, 25 percent of the respondents said that an increase in mortgage rates would not impact their plans to buy a home.After remaining under 4 percent for most of 2017, 30-year fixed mortgage rates increased above 4 percent in January and were at 4.32 percent in the first week of February. A robust economy, increase in jobs and a generally sound housing market has economists predicting a hike in Fed rates over the next few months, which would continue the upward trend for mortgage rates. The study also gauged buyer response to the tax bill and how it would impact the economy. High taxes were the most cited response with 38 percent citing this reason among their top three concerns. Affordable housing came a close second with 33 percent respondents citing it as a concern, followed by 28 percent respondents citing the income gap between the rich and the poor as a concern after the tax bill.When asked if they expected home prices in their areas to rise, a majority of the respondents replied in the affirmative. The study indicated that only 6 percent said that they expected a decline in price. More than half (52 percent) respondents said that they expected to home prices to rise slightly while 25 percent expected a significant rise in prices.center_img Affordable Housing Home Prices Homebuyers homes HOUSING Mortgage Rates Redfin 2018-02-12 Radhika Ojha Sharelast_img read more

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