Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Newcastle, on the coast of New South Wales’ Hunter region, has ranked ninth in Lonely Planet’s new book ‘Best in Travel 2011’. The authors of the book have described Newcastle as “underrated”, citing “the city has been overshadowed by its bigger, bolder and better-known sibling, Sydney” according to news.com.au. Missing the cut were cities such as London, Sydney, Melbourne and Paris. Lonely Planet claim these larger cities are “too dull” and that the books aim is to “inspire travellers to pick lesser known cities to explore” said Lonely Planet’s Asia-Pacific Travel Editor, Shawn Low. Refined and selected by a panel of in-house travel experts, the list ranks cities based on “topicality, excitement, value for money and that special X-factor,” according to Mr. Low. It was Newcastle’s beaches, nightlife, weather and attention to the arts that aided its top 10 selection. Tourism Hunter’s Executive Manager Sheridan Ferrier says it is an “honour” to be included amongst the best in travel in 2011.The new book suggests Newcastle combines “a unique blend of imagination, sophistication and laid-back surf culture.” Give your thoughts in the comments section below. For more on this story, click here to visit our Insider Commentary.Do you think Newcastle deserves its Top 10 world ranking?
Global travel website TripAdvisor has added airline ratings and review options to its TripAdvisor Flights meta search-engine. User feedback will be generated into a ratings system that travellers can view while searching for flights and fares on the website. TripAdvisor general manager of flights Bryan Saltzburg believes this new feature is incredibly advantageous for customers. “With the launch of airline ratings, the millions of travelers who use TripAdvisor Flights every month will now be able to get useful feedback on how airlines stack up against each other in terms of fees, value for the money, service, punctuality, baggage handling and a number of other factors to help ensure they have the best flight possible,” he said. TripAdvisor Flights will feature eight categories that users are able to rate on a scale from one to five, including baggage handlings, seat comfort, in-flight service, value and more. In addition to the new features on the Flights website, TripAdvisor has added fee information to its flight search engine, exposing the full costs of travel upfront. The new fees estimator will automatically display the cost of the searched flight and include the cost of one checked bag at the top of the results page. TripAdvisor came under fire in November of last year after hoteliers questioned the validity, relevance and justification of some of the websites hotel reviews.What are your thoughts on TripAdvisor Flights offering these new features on their website? TripAdvisor Airline Reviews Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T
The Travel Corporation has expanded its product range with the launch of a new brand and separate company, Inspiring Journeys, offering small group, escorted domestic holidays with a twist, on sale in Australia today.Tammy Marshall, current AAT Kings Managing Director, will oversee the new brand, which was created following consumer research the company conducted 18 months ago which showcased a market gap for domestic travel. The new company will also be sold and marketed mainly through trade partners in the same line as all other Travel Corporation brands.”Inspiring Journeys, Incredible Stories” is expected to fill the needs of time poor customers looking for enriching, experiential travel with a mix of adventure activities and luxurious accommodation.”Our target market is the time poor, looking for adventure and wanting flexibility but also want something structured. It’s the new fashion on the rack,” Inspiring Journeys, Managing Director, Tammy Marshall said.”Inspiring Journeys brand essence and our passion statement empowers travellers,” Ms Marshall said at last night’s official launch.”Our essence is the core that sets us apart. We offer experiences, experimental and hands on travel”The brand, according to Ms Marshall, sets itself apart offering a diverse choice of experiences using narrators and journey leaders to bring itineraries to life, complete with new four wheel drive vehicles, local flavours and hand picked, unique accommodation choices, many of which are exclusive to the company. “All the experiences you have will focus around Discovery, Exploration, Learning and Relaxing,” Ms Marshall said.The maximum 20-passenger itineraries focus on the Top End, Red Centre, Kimberly’s, Tasmania and will commence operations in May. Ranging from 3 day to 20 days, itineraries with most inclusions start at approximately $400 per person, per day.”It is a rare opportunity to have a blank canvas and we have created an incredible story to bring this brand to life,” Ms Marshall said.For more information, visit their new website: www.inspiringjourneys.com.au Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M Inspiring Journeys: Kathryn Galvin, Marketing Exec, Jeff Lim, Marketing Manager, Steve Richards, Sales Manager, Tammy Marshall, Managing Director, John Weeks, Travel Corporation CEO
Australia continues to be a “desirable and aspirational” destination for travellers, according to the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), with international arrivals increasing 9.6 percent in September 2012 compared to the same period last year.According to the latest visitor numbers, arrivals from key markets picked up during September this year after a decline in July and August.New Zealand “rebounded strongly”, increasing by 16.8 percent compared to September 2011, while visitors from China and the United States picked up by 26.5 percent and 13.1 percent over the same period.TTF director of aviation policy Justin Wastnage said the increase underlines Australia’s appeal to an international audience and the contribution tourism can make to the national economy. “Tourists spend $260 million every day, supporting the direct and indirect employment of more than 900,000 Australians – four times more than the mining sector,” Mr Wastnage explained. “Each Australian household would pay $500 more in tax each year without the contribution from the tourism industry.”Mr Wastnage added that despite a strong increase in Asian arrivals, it was important Australia continued to facilitate growth from the region.“Getting more first-time Asian visitors to Australia is crucial to encouraging the repeat visitation the tourism industry needs to grow yield in the visitor economy and to reach the Tourism 2020 target,” he said. “We also need to continue to improve the alignment between Tourism Australia’s marketing activities and expansion in China and other Australian agencies internationally.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
Source = Harbour Town Adelaide Harbour Town Adelaide was awarded with the state’s highest accolade for excellence in tourism at the 2012 South Australian Tourism Awards over the weekend, winning the Specialised Tourism Services category. The award reinforces Harbour Town Adelaide’s position as the only shopping centre in South Australia that has been developed specifically for the tourist market offering exclusive access to a Tourism Benefit Program including a Tourism Club Card offering further store discounts and a relaxing Tourism Lounge. “We are proud to have been honoured with this award for our Tourism Lounge and Benefit Program at South Australia’s tourism night of nights,” Harbour Town Marketing and Tourism Manager Jessica Drake says. “From our unique Tourism Lounge and Tourism Discount Club Card, to a luggage minding service and a dedicated phone hotline direct to the Glenelg Visitor Information Centre, it’s no wonder outlet shopping at Harbour Town Adelaide is increasingly becoming a must-see on the itinerary of every visitor to South Australia. “Whether it is a small group of tourists visiting while waiting for their next flight, or a group of delegates attending a week-long conference, visitors to Harbour Town Adelaide are blown away by our Tourism Lounge and Benefit Program and, of course, the fantastic shopping experience across more than 130 stores.” Harbour Town is an active participant in the local, national and international tourism industry, attending trade shows, participating in co-operative marketing campaigns and building industry relationships with many tourism providers, industry groups and government organisations, such as the South Australian Tourism Industry Council who hosted the recent Tourism Awards. Harbour Town is Australia’s home of outlet shopping stocking big brands such as Cue, Tony Bianco, Lorna Jane, Bendon, Royal Doulton, Simone Perele, Sheridan, Globalize, JAG and Smiggle. Conveniently located only 15 minutes from the city and 10 minutes from Glenelg at 727 Tapleys Hill Road, parking is free and access is easy with a well linked public transport system operating daily. The South Australian Tourism Awards are the pinnacle of excellence within the tourism industry, rewarding innovation and fostering better business practices by setting benchmarks for all tourism operators to aspire to. Harbour Town Adelaide is proud to spread the word about its awarded Tourism Lounge and Benefit Program, providing added value and enhanced experiences exclusively to its visiting tourists.
Princess Cruises has kicked off Victoria’s busiest cruise season with Dawn Princess arriving in Melbourne. Dawn Princess will be based in Melbourne for the next six months, which will see 28 ships make 78 calls to the city between now and April 2015.This is an increase of 16 per cent on the 67 visits made during the 2013-14 season, and a 34 per cent increase on the 58 visits the season prior.With three Princess ships – Dawn Princess, Diamond Princess and Sun Princess – making 24 calls this summer, their presence in is set to inject more than $18 million into the state economy.Speaking onboard the Dawn Princess’ Melbourne launch yesterday, Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher said a record cruise season meant a boost for the economy.“Every time a cruise ship docks in Melbourne we see hundreds of thousands of dollars poured into the local economy and with 28 ships making a record 78 visits to our State – that’s a healthy injection of about $50 million in the coming months,” Ms Asher said.Source = ETB News: Megan Tran
Every picture tells a story which profoundly impacts on the opinions online shoppers have of hotels, according to the latest research commissioned by one of the world’s leading online travel agencies, Expedia®.The research, which used electromyography to gauge shoppers’ eye gaze and facial expressions, discovered that several types of images and image attributes consistently evoked emotional reactions in online shoppers.David Hamblin, the Expedia Group’s senior director of Market Management for Asia Pacific, said: “We know through our own data that hotels with good quality photography in their on-line brochure receive a conversion lift over those which have poorer images.” “The most important image to include is a room with a view. Rooms with windows overlooking an attractive visual scene such as a landmark or beach evoke the most delight in online shoppers and help shoppers see themselves in the context of their trip.”Photographs which are distorted by fisheye lenses or unusual angles evoke the most negative emotions in shoppers as they are viewed with suspicion – as if the hotel has “something to hide,” added Mr Hamblin.In addition to prioritising images of bedrooms with pleasing window views, other findings from the research revealed that hoteliers should follow these tips to maximise conversion opportunities:Include images of secondary spaces (i.e. terrace, restaurant) with attractive vistasEnsure images are well-lit, using natural light wherever possibleDisplay any unique features/attributes of the hotelEnsure rooms/spaces are pristine; avoid clutter and messRemember to include bathroom photosAvoid distorting camera techniquesInclude both close-up and perspective shotsThe research involved shoppers browsing online for hotels that they might like to stay in while their eye-gaze and facial expressions were tracked in real-time using EMG. Whenever there was an elevation in the EMG signal, indicating either delight or negative emotion, the shopper was verbally queried on their reaction to the hotel image. The study encouraged participants to shop in a way that was natural to them, visiting whatever sites and using whatever methods they would as if Expedia researchers weren’t there.Through Expedia Partner Central, an interactive engagement tool for hoteliers, marketing and revenue managers can quickly gauge if their properties require additional images with three different scores showing green, yellow or red.Source = Expedia
Seychelles attended the First World Conference on Tourism DevelopmentThe Seychelles delegation headed by Sherin Naiken, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, attended the First World Conference on Tourism Development in the Peoples Great Hall of China, Beijing, on Thursday, May 20, 2016.The event which was jointly organized by the China National Tourism Administration and the UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organization) was attended from the Seychelles side by Vivianne Fock Tave, the Seychelles Ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China; Jean luc Lai Lam, Seychelles Tourism Board Manager for China; and Stephanie Lablache and Lee Huan, both Seychelles Tourism Board Senior Marketing Executives based in Seychelles and Beijing respectively.Important guests at the event were Mr. Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of the Republic of China; Mr. Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of Mozambique; and Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization who all addressed the 1,000 delegates at the opening ceremony. The delegates were from over a hundred countries which consisted of both government organizations as well as leading tourism partners from the private sector.The summit agenda was on Sustainable Development through Tourism, Tourism for Poverty Reduction, and Tourism for Peace, and it was moderated by the famous CNN television anchor, Richard Quest. The day ended with the adoption of the Beijing Declaration.The topic which relates more to Seychelles and which was the most interesting debate of the day was attaining the sustainable development goals (SDGs) through tourism. The debate centered on what countries are required to do to use tourism as the vehicle to achieve their SDGs. Indeed, the various participants in the debate stressed on the need to have a more cohesive approach between the various units – public and private – if the SDGs are to be achieved.Among the various subject matters raised were the role of the public and private sector, the need to work together, and the need for the SDGs to be understood by all levels of the government as well as by the business community. As one participant shared, “All the ministers in the government are ipso facto a minister for tourism!”The head of the delegation, Ms. Naiken, had a lot to share to other delegates in between sessions, as the summit did not have open plenary sessions. “Seychelles has had decades of experience and lots of success stories in sustainable development,” shared Miss Naiken to a delegate, “The cornerstone of every policy and law in Seychelles has been sustainability.”The new sustainable development agenda, which came into effect in January 2016, succeeded the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) launched in 2000 to which Seychelles managed to attain almost all of it, some even before the process started. Seychelles is well under way to attain the new set of targets.Source = Seychelles Tourism
Throughout more than hundred years, China’s fortified tulous have protected entire villages from the outside world. Now the families living here open their doors to strangers.Source: BBC
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology It’s a match for “”Titan Lenders Corp.””:www.titanlenderscorp.com/ and “”PHH Mortgage Corporation””:www.phhmortgagesolutions.com/. The two companies recently announced the initiation of a strategic partnership, and through the collaboration, PHH Mortgage will gain access to Titan’s fulfillment outsourcing services. [IMAGE]Noted as one of the country’s top-five residential mortgage originators and considered the leading non-financial mortgage servicer in the U.S., PHH Mortgage will utilize Titan’s back-office fulfillment capabilities including closing, funding, post-closing, and investor loan review services. Titan’s proprietary software, known as Cerberyx, gives users around-[COLUMN_BREAK]the-clock access to document management tools and electronic compliance safety checks, helping companies limit risk and errors.Commenting on the relationship with Titan, PHH Mortgage’s senior vice president, Norm Fitzgerald, said, “”Loan-by-loan flexibility with superior customer service – that is the promises we make to our correspondent lenders. Giving our lenders access to Titan’s back-office fulfillment services is one more way we can help our customers enhance their profitability and grow their mortgage business.””Mary Kladde, president and co-founder of Titan, added her thoughts, stating, “”As a top-five residential mortgage investor, PHH Mortgage prides itself on providing best-in-class mortgage solutions. Over the past year, PHH has seen an increase in broker to banker and transitioning depository clients. This transition comes with a unique set of growing pains. Our goal is to assist PHH’s correspondent lenders by providing education, back-office risk mitigation and the compliance tools needed to produce zero-defect, salable loans.””Titan’s web-based programs give variable-cost solutions to clients of all sizes, and the company is among only a handful of highly targeted providers of mortgage back-office fulfillment services. PHH Mortgage, a subsidiary of “”PHH Corporation””:www.phh.com/, is one of the nation’s largest retail originators. January 3, 2012 404 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-01-03 Abby Gregory Share Titan and PHH Team Up on Fulfillment
January 24, 2014 454 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Kroll Factual Data Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Fraud Service Providers 2014-01-24 Tory Barringer Suspect Mortgage Applications on the Rise in Data, Origination As if this month’s regulatory changes weren’t enough, lenders have another problem to grapple with: According to stats released by “”Kroll Factual Data””:https://www.krollfactualdata.com/, incidents of potential mortgage fraud are on the rise.[IMAGE]Between the second and third quarters of 2013, the company recorded a 10.4 percent average increase in “”possible fraudulent activity”” in loan applications submitted for review.The increase was the third straight quarterly uptick, the company says.””Even with indications of the U.S. economy and the housing market gaining strength, we are seeing the threat [COLUMN_BREAK]of misrepresentation in mortgage applications rising,”” said Rod Bazzani, president of Kroll Factual Data. “”The call for increased vigilance and processes for mitigating this risk is at a pitch not to be discounted or ignored.””Given the findings, Bazzani says “”[i]mplementing the appropriate measures to combat potential fraud … is of critical importance for lenders.””Changes in potentially fraudulent activity weren’t concentrated in any geographical region. Out of all metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) that saw at least 1,000 loan applications throughout the quarter, Huntsville, Alabama, posted the largest quarterly increase in potential fraud at 55.4 percent.Following that were Fort Collins-Loveland, Colorado (+51.4 percent); Manchester, New Hampshire (+41.0 percent); Santa Fe, New Mexico (+37.5 percent); and Boulder-Longmont, Colorado (+32.3 percent).On the other hand, some of the recovery’s hottest markets experienced decreases in possible fraud.Out of the most active areas, Arizona’s Phoenix-Mesa market reported the largest drop: 30.1 percent. Trailing that were Wichita, Kansas (-26.8 percent); Peoria-Pekin, Illinois (-19.4 percent); Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, South Carolina (-18.7 percent); and Bloomington-Normal, Illinois (-9.7 percent). Share
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2014-02-17 Tory Barringer New,Valuation Vision Introduces Managing Director of Capital Markets Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Uncategorized “”Valuation Vision””:https://www.valuationvision.com/ (V2), a provider of alternative valuation products and tech solutions nationwide, announced the hiring of Brandon Goldstein as managing director of capital markets.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Most recently, Goldstein served as director of acquisitions at Guardian Capital, managing residential and commercial assets of up to $100 million. He also has trade desk management experience coming from time spent at NoteTrader, according to a release from V2.With the addition of Goldstein, the company hopes to add “”a unique perspective to leveraging valuation.””””We are thankful to have Brandon back at V2 as the leader of our Capital Markets team,”” said CEO Shane Copeland. “”His expertise with funds, whole loan trading and in-depth knowledge of valuation products from a client perspective will bring greater strength to an already strong team.”” February 17, 2014 585 Views
Freddie Mac Multi-Indicator Market Index 2014-12-24 Scott_Morgan Freddie Mac’s latest Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) report finds the U.S. market weak but stabilizing at year’s end. The index, released Tuesday, shows that 70 markets are inching upwards, including San Jose and Pittsburgh, which have finally joined the forward momentum.The national MiMi value stands at 74.5, which is up 0.12 percent from September to October and up 0.42 percent over the past three months. Year-over-year, the national housing market has improved 4.48 percent.While still well short of the all-time MiMi high of 122.5, reached in June 2006, the national index is markedly better than it was in September 2011, when the housing market was at 60.3.”When we look at the stability of the housing market we’ve seen a modest 0.5 percent improvement since the beginning of the year in the national index,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Housing markets continue to heal across the country with those hardest hit showing the biggest improvement.”The most improved metro areas month-over-month were Kansas City, Memphis, and Atlanta, each up more than 3 percent. Charlotte and Denver—which also improved more than 12 percent year-over-year—were close behind. Year-over-year, Las Vegas improved by nearly 24 percent, while Chicago, Miami, and Riverside, California, each improved more than 12 percent.Statewise, Colorado, Kentucky, Idaho, Maryland, and North Carolina led month-to-month improvement, each growing by a least 1 percent. Year-over-year Nevada grew 18.95 percent), while Illinois, Florida, Rhode Island, and Colorado each grew by around 10 percent.According to the index, 13 states, plus the District of Columbia, have MiMi values in a stable range (above 80). North Dakota (95.9) the District of Columbia (94.1), Montana (91.2), Wyoming (91.0), and Hawaii (89.2) made up the top five. Eight of the 50 metro areas Freddie tracks, all west of the Mississipi, have MiMi values in a stable range: San Antonio (89.9), Austin (87.0), Houston (85.3), Los Angeles (84.4), and Salt Lake City (83.1) made up the top five.According to Nothaft, the news is encouraging, but hardly a cause for champagne just yet.”Low mortgage rates have helped, but we also need better household income growth,” he said. “The employment picture needs to improve more to strengthen wage growth. The good news is we’re slowly starting to see this happen in areas like Denver, San Jose, Nashville, and Pittsburgh.”Freddie also is seeing better purchase application activity on a monthly basis in these areas, he said. Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Housing Markets Stabilize in October December 24, 2014 517 Views
The Week Ahead: Variances on the Home Valuation Front Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen delivers speech to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia-12:30 P.M. ESTFederal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen participates in roundtable discussion at the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative- 2:00 P.M. ESTTuesday, June 7, 2016Quicken Loans’ Home Price Perception Index in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Market Studies, News Appraisers homeowners Quicken Loans 2016-06-05 Staff Writer History has shown that homeowners typically value their homes at a higher price point than appraisers. Although the gap between the two opinions has gotten smaller, homeowners and appraisers are still searching for common ground. Now the question is will appraisers and homeowners find that common ground this week?The most recent Home Price Perception Index from Quicken Loans showed that although owners are still overvaluing their homes, they are getting closer to appraised opinions. The index, which is based on Quicken Loans’ application and appraisal data, showed that appraiser valuations were 1.95 percent lower than what homeowners estimated in April.Since March, the gap between the two values has narrowed from when appraisals were 2.17 percent lower than homeowner expectations. The HPPI has experienced some slight fluctuations but has spent most of the last year around the -2 percent mark.“The HPPI is in a healthy trend, nationally,” said Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters. “While everyone wants their appraisal’s to come back showing more equity than anticipated, like some homeowners in the West, the discrepancy we are seeing now won’t likely derail a mortgage transaction.”“The steady annual increase in home values shows sustainable growth and an improving economy,” Walters said. “We always look for gains to be similar to inflationary growth while avoiding the hikes that could lead to bubble fears. We are currently in that range, which should come as a more comforting sign to many homeowners.”Here is the lineup for the week:Monday, June 6, 2016 Wednesday, June 8, 2016MBA Mortgage Applications- 7:00 A.M. ESTThursday, May 12, 2016Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey June 5, 2016 499 Views Share
Americans with money to set aside that they do not plan on using for the next 10 years would rather invest in real estate than any other type of investment, according to a recent national survey from Bankrate.According to Bankrate’s latest Financial Security Index poll, exactly one-quarter of Americans surveyed said they would rather invest in real estate with money they would not need for the next 10 years, beating out cash investments such as CDs and savings (23 percent) and the stock market and gold or precious metals (16 percent each). Bonds were the least popular investment option for money not needed over the next decade, with 5 percent of respondents preferring that choice.Real estate investments were king in the survey, with 25 percent of survey respondents saying they would choose real estate as a long-term investment. Those with higher incomes (an annual salary of $75K or more) were more inclined to choose real estate as their favored long-term investment (33 percent) compared to those with annual salaries of between $50K and $74K (23 percent), according to Bankrate. Older millennials (age 26 to 35) showed had the same tendency as the older age groups to want to invest in real estate long-term (28 percent).“Real estate has some notable advantages over other popular investments,” Roofstock CEO Gary Beasley said. “Yields are much higher than the anemic rates paid by certificates of deposit and investment grade bonds, gold has no current yield and is entirely an appreciation or store of value play, and stocks are increasingly volatile. Investment in rental housing is particularly interesting today given discounts to peak housing values and being able to capitalize on the macro trend of ‘rentership’ vs. home ownership.”Noel Christopher, Renters Warehouse’s National Business Development Lead, added: “A big deterrent for investors in the past was that they were unable to invest in multiple markets and have the peace of mind that their investment was protected. With the rise of professional landlords, small investors can now take advantage of economies of scale and institutional-level best practices to manage single family homes. This wasn’t possible until now, and it’s changing the way investors look at the market.”According to Bankrate, many favor real estate investments over the other ways to invest because of the volatility and uncertainty of the stock market—and it is a tangible investment, as opposed to stocks. Real estate investments do have their downside, however; there is the cost of maintaining the house, plus the homeowner cannot put the asset in an account and forget about it the way they can with stocks or bonds, according to Bankrate.The poll showed that many Americans are not willing to invest in the bullish stock market. A survey from Bankrate conducted in 2013, relatively early in the bull market started in 2009 found that 14 percent of Americans prefer to invest in the stock market, and that share has increased by just 2 percentage points in the last three years.Americans are increasingly upbeat about their prospects for financial security, however. The poll found that for the 26th consecutive month, Americans’ sense of financial well-being improved when taking into account debt, savings, net worth, job security, and overall financial situation. Bankrate’s Chief Financial Analyst, Greg McBride, pointed out that Americans’ overall perceptions of their financial prospects improved even though their feelings of job security dropped off slightly—despite a strong jobs report for June from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (287,000 jobs added during the month). in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Real Estate Investments 2016-07-20 Seth Welborn July 20, 2016 672 Views Americans Favor Real Estate as a Long-Term Investment Share
February 1, 2017 555 Views Steven MnuchinSteven Mnuchin, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Treasury, moved closer to a full Senate vote on his confirmation after all.Following a second day of protest by Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, the Republicans on the committee voted to bypass the rules requiring the Democrats to be present for a vote to move a candidate to the next round.The GOP senators voted 14 to zero to advance both Mnuchin and Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Tom Price to the Senate for a final confirmation vote.The Republican members of the Committee used a parliamentary procedure to hold the vote without the participation of the Democratic members.”We took some unprecedented actions today due to the unprecedented obstruction on the part of our colleagues,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, the chair of the committee, said.Hatch on Tuesday called the Democrats’ efforts to stall a vote on Mnuchin “abysmal” and “amazingly stupid,” excoriating them to return and give Mnuchin an up-or-down vote.Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, accused Republicans of “breaking the rules” by holding a vote without Democratic input.”I don’t know all the details of what just transpired, but it seems to me the basic proposition of breaking the rule so that you can in effect look the other way in the face of strong evidence of serious ethical problems for two nominees is exceptionally troubling,” Wyden said.Several Democratic senators said they have concerns over Mnuchin, specifically over the use of “robo-signing” during his tenure at OneWest.“I am pleased that Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin will move on to a full Senate vote,” said Ed Delgado, President and CEO of the Five Star Institute and former Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac executive. “However, it is unfortunate that the Senate Finance Committee could not come to this decision unilaterally. If there was ever a time to move forward together as a nation, that time is now.”Paulina Gonzales, executive director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, said she’s opposed Mnuchin’s nomination from the start, saying he intentionally misled the Committee about OneWest’s activities during the housing crisis.“Senator Hatch and the Republicans on the committee sent a clear message to the American public this morning that a presidential nominee need not tell the truth about his record and can still be assured of his nomination being moved forward,” Gonzales said. Voters place our trust in our senators to obtain the truth from presidential nominees about their track records, and in fact, that is the point of confirmation hearings. Yet at Mr. Mnuchin’s hearing, he lied to the senators about his bank’s well-documented history of robo-signing, he refused to provide information about the numbers of foreclosures he had overseen at OneWest Bank, and, amazingly, he continued this obfuscation twice in his follow up written responses to senators.” Government Steven Mnuchin Treasury 2017-02-01 Phil Banker Share GOP Suspends Rules, Advances Mnuchin Vote in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, News
The Week Ahead: Gauging Lender Sentiments On Tuesday, June 12, Fannie Mae will release its quarterly Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey. The survey polls senior executives of Fannie Mae’s lending customers to assess their current activities and market expectations. The findings of this survey help other mortgage and housing professionals to better understand industry trends and assess their own business practices.The last survey, released on March 15, 2018, showed that mortgage lenders reported a net negative profit margin outlook for the sixth consecutive quarter, matching the all-time low reading from Q4 2016. Those who expected a lower profit margin continued to point to “competition from other lenders” as the primary reason, which set another new survey high for the fifth consecutive quarter, while “market trend changes” were cited as the next biggest reason for the first time in three quarters.Giving a glimpse of what can be expected from the latest survey, Fannie Mae’s Chief Economist, Doug Duncan said, “According to our latest Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey, which we expect to release on Tuesday, lenders expect mortgage demand to soften in the near term.”Here’s what else is in store in The Week Ahead: June 10, 2018 514 Views Share Fannie Mae Lending mortgage Profit Margin rates sentiment 2018-06-10 Radhika Ojha CoreLogic Loan Performance Insights Report, TuesdayConsumer Price Index, Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. ESTFOMC Announcement, Wednesday, 2 p.m. ESTMBA Apps, Wednesday, 7 a.m. ESTConsumer Sentiment Index, Friday, 10 a.m. EST in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination
Bye, Bye, Bidding Wars in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Bidding wars on homes in some of the hottest markets in the country have almost stopped, according to a Redfin report that looked at the offers written by its agents on behalf of their homebuying customers in January.The report indicated that only 13 percent of these offers faced a bidding war, marking a steep decline from 53 percent seen in January 2018. In fact, Seattle and San Francisco—two of the most competitive markets last year—saw less than one in five offers facing competition. During the same period last year, both these markets saw bidding wars on seven to eight out of 10 offers.A key reason for the cooling down of competition on homes, the report indicated, is the supply and demand of homes. It pointed out that the number of homes for sale are increasing even as homebuyers’ demand is declining. It revealed that as of December, the number of homes for sale went up 5 percent from the year earlier, whereas the number of homes sold declined 11 percent during that same period.As more homebuyers hear that the market is slowing down, they’re waiting “until they find a home that can check more boxes,” according to Kalene Masching, a Redfin agent in Palo Alto, California. “In general they are being more judicious as they think through their purchase. Meanwhile, many sellers have not yet recognized that the market has shifted.”Breaking down the areas that saw the biggest decline in homebuyer competition, the report noted that competition in the San Francisco Bay area fell 64 points in January, followed by Los Angeles with a decline of 57 points, and Seattle which saw competition decreasing by 54 points.The markets that saw the smallest declines were Austin, where competition fell 11 points, Raleigh with a 13 point decline, and Chicago, which saw a 29 point decline in competition.On the other hand, Portland, Denver, and San Diego were the most competitive housing markets in January. However, even these markets saw less than one out of five offers face a bidding war, the report indicated. The least competitive housing markets were Miami, Dallas, and Houston. February 13, 2019 3,619 Views bidding wars Competition Home Home Sellers Homebuyers HOUSING Redfin 2019-02-13 Radhika Ojha Share
Underwriting,Computershare Loan Service’s Specialized Loan Servicing Receives S&P Ranking 4 days ago 162 Views Computershare Loan Service’s Specialized Loan Servicing’s “above average” ranking has been reaffirmed by global ratings agency S&P.S&P reported that Computershare’s U.S. mortgage servicing unit has invested in and matured its technology and operations commensurate with the measured growth of its portfolio and has a “strong internal control environment” and “good servicing performance metrics”.The ratings agency noted that the company’s “experienced management” team continues to support its operations, and that it believes that it “will remain a capable residential loan servicer for a variety of investors in the marketplace.”“We’re delighted that S&P have reaffirmed our ratings – particularly as they’ve cited our technology and people as important factors in their decision,” said Tom Millon, CEO of Computershare Loan Services in the U.S..“As part of an international mortgage servicing company – and global financial leader – our U.S. servicing operation has been able to improve its world-class systems to enhance further the services we provide for our clients.“On top of this, our training and development programs as well as the sheer breadth of experience at every level of our organization mean that our people are able to use that tech in a way that ensures we are constantly improving standards and finding new ways to work better.”S&P cited several factors that lay behind its decision, including experienced management and staff members that continue to achieve measured portfolio growth in agency and non-agency products with reduced delinquency rates across the business’ portfolios, a strong focus on systems and workflow automation throughout the loan administration Processes robust call center quality monitoring, strong internal controls with multiple lines of defense, enterprise risk management, and systems automation to support each control function, and a solid combination of board and senior management meeting and committee routines designed to elevate legal, regulatory, and audit risksS&P also noted that, since its last review of its U.S. servicing operation in May 2018 that Computershare Loan Services had, completed its acquisition of LenderLive Financial Services, improved the training it provides staff members by providing additional alternation between classroom and on-the-job experience and greater support for contact center workers as well as hiring new coaches for new employees , enhanced its customer website to accommodate private-label clients, introduced new systems and technology for its customer service staff and elsewhere, better aligned its foreclosure and loss mitigation departments, and implemented an analytics tool to enhance the pipeline and timeline for foreclosures in Headlines, News Loan Service S&P Computershare 2019-07-29 Seth Welborn Share
The calm before the storm: Undersupplied U.S. tabl … January 17 , 2019 He said that groundwater would be replenished to an extent, and more snowfall in the mountains would create more water availability for later in the year.”On all fronts it is beneficial. Some guys will express concern because an order with a specific size structure may not get filled adequately but that is a temporary condition,” he said.Tom Bellamore of the California Avocado Commission said on Wednesday that so far there had not been any major problems reported.”Avocado growers in Ventura County are pleased that the rainfall is helping with groundwater recharge, and southern growers have enjoyed some prolonged periods of light to moderate rainfall, to leach root zones and provide some relief from monthly water bills,” he said. U.S.: California’s almond acreage on the rise … California citrus: “A lot of unusual dynamics” in … U.S.: Del Rey Avocado expands in Southern Californ … You might also be interested in California’s avocado and citrus grower organizations have welcomed the heavy rainfall the state is experiencing this week, highlighting there will be increased water availability for the months ahead.Back-to-back storms are hitting the region this week. On Wednesday Weathermelon said the areas of Ventura, Oxnard and Santa Paula – important lemon and avocado growing areas – were due to receive 5-7″ of rain.But Joel Nelsen of the California Citrus Mutual didn’t foresee any serious issues.”The rains of the recent week with more to come this week are nothing more than a hiccup for harvesting,” he said.