No money no travel Aussies most fiscally responsible

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

Choice Hotels announces five new properties

first_imgSource = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman Choice Hotels Australasia has begun 2015 by announcing five new hotels this month, adding to its expanding portfolio of properties across the country.  The new properties are located across Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales, and start another expected strong year of growth for Choice Hotels in Australia across all five brands.Choice’s chief executive officer Trent Fraser, said he was proud to announce the addition of five new properties and looks forward to the franchisor’s strong growth and expansion in 2015. “Choice Hotels is dedicated to continually growing our portfolio and we always enjoy working with our new franchisees to ensure they provide high quality accommodation and experiences for their guests,” Mr Fraser said.  Situated in tropical north Queensland, the new 4.5 STAR Clarion Hotel Townsville offers the ultimate in comfort and class, right in the heart of the CBD and a stone’s throw away from the beaches.Offering the largest rooms in Miles, the 4 STAR Comfort Inn Swagsman in outback Queensland is close to popular attractions such as the Miles Historic Village and Bunya Mountains National Park.Choice Hotels also welcomes the new Comfort Inn Towradgi Beach, located in the small beach-side suburb of Towradgi, New South Wales.Further expanding its Victorian offering, Choice Hotels’ two new additions include Melbourne-based suburban property the Quality Inn and Suites Knox and the Comfort Inn Drouin, located in the heart of Victoria.Choice Hotels Australasia has more than 270 hotels across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, with an excess of 11,000 rooms.  last_img read more

Imagine a meeting that doesnt feel like A Meeting

first_imgSource = Marriott International Imagine a meeting that doesn’t feel like “A Meeting”Planning a well-crafted, creative and inspiring meeting has become an art form with limitless possibilities.  Marriott International hosts thousands of meetings every year and has drawn on the company’s brand differentiation, expertise and talent to launch an industry first, Meetings Imagined, a new set of tools to help any planner design and manage the perfect meeting experience. No matter the budget, size, or location of the meeting, planners have more choices and concepts to draw upon than ever before.  “After thoroughly researching and analyzing over 40,000 meetings and events, we discovered that today’s meeting attendees are looking for something that goes beyond ‘a meeting’ and creates an experience where people feel connected, inspired, and accomplished,” said Brian King, Global Officer – Marriott Signature Brands & Global Sales.  “Meeting planners and attendees alike told us a fresh and disruptive point of view in the meetings and conventions industry desperately needed.”Key to the new approach is MeetingsImagined.com, the first visual, social and collaborative website designed to change the way meeting planners plan, shop and buy meetings and includes:Marriott’s Meeting Purpose Methodology  – A proven process to help planners zero in on what’s important for meeting success and to design the perfect attendee experience.The Inspiration Gallery – A stunning visual library with thousands of set-up, food & beverage and décor images to spark the imagination.Tips & Trends – Expert stories and articles with the latest trends in the meetings business that is continually updated with fresh and engaging content.Hotel Ideas – Easily browse by brand, country, hotel, meeting size or amenities and find exactly what you’re looking for.Our Story – Pulls it all together for planners with Marriott’s trusted expertise, industry-leading digital tools and hotel brands that support MeetingsImagined.com.Today’s always-connected culture demands that meeting planners be plugged in too. Marriott gives planners access to digital resources that make their job easier:Meeting Services App- Connects planners with Marriott’s event team before, during and after their meeting.  Planners can make real-time requests for coffee refills, room temperature changes and tech needs from their mobile device.ResLink Direct – Acustomized interactive Web page that allows attendees to easily book their group rate online, provides hotel information and allows planners to add information.The Marriott Mobile App – It’s the perfect travel companion. Marriott Reward members who book with the app or on Marriott.com are able to check in before they arrive; receive room-ready notifications; and enjoy an enhanced arrival experience. The app also reminds guests to check out, triggering a copy of their bill to be sent via email.Participating brands worldwide that offer unique Meetings Imagined experiences include JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Renaissance® Hotels, Marriott Hotels®, Gaylord Hotels® and Courtyard®. Stay with Marriottlast_img read more

Agents indulge in luxury on golden famil to Japan

first_img“The Five Samurai” (L-R): Jeremy Potter (Phil Hoffmann Travel), Kim Scoular (Scenic), Tracey Williams (Bayview Travel), Sarah Fitzgerald (Botanica World Discoveries) and Liza Rarm (American Express Travel)Photos courtesy of Tracey Williams Japan National Tourism Organization Source = Japan National Tourism Organization Agents indulge in luxury on golden famil to JapanFrom 12th – 19th September 2015, five travel agents were invited by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office on an 8-day fully-hosted familiarisation trip, highlighting Japan as an ideal destination for the luxury travel market.The tour visited popular areas for first-time Australian visitors to Japan on Japan’s Golden Route, including Osaka, Nara, Kyoto and Tokyo. The Golden Route showcases the contrast between traditional and modern – from World Heritage-listed ancient temples of Nara and quiet bamboo forests of Kyoto to Tokyo Sky Tree, the tallest broadcasting tower in the world.Throughout the tour they were treated to exclusive cultural experiences such as an up-close-and-personal experience with a maiko (apprentice geisha), samurai lesson and tea ceremony.“Japan is truly a land of contrasts – whether it’s exploring the ancient sites, playing dress-up in kimonos or devouring sumptuous food in high-end restaurants, there is something for everyone.  Nara Park probably encapsulated Japan best all in one location – ANCIENT (amazing temple), NATURE (deers peacefully wandering around), and MODERN (plenty of selfie sticks on display).  However we continually saw each of these on display throughout our time in Japan. Who would have thought my favourite meal in Japan would be Italian – a meal that still included the obligatory raw fish (in the salad), and the highest quality of ingredients (something we experienced in all our meals)”, said Tracey Williams, Travel Advisor, Bayview Travel.The participants were especially impressed with the richly-varied Japanese cuisine they enjoyed throughout the trip. Also, the high-quality service and attention-to-detail received at the luxury accommodations they stayed at including the Palace Hotel Tokyo and Hoshino Resorts L’Hotel de Hiei made their trip a memorable one.Jeremy Potter, Branch Manager of Phil Hoffmann Travel said:“Having just returned from a week long luxury experience in Japan I can highly recommend this as a destination for the luxury market. The hotels and the service received at them was of a consistently high level with a special mention to the Palace Hotel Tokyo which offered a truly 5 star experience.Nara, Tokyo and Kyoto all offer interesting and varied sightseeing and shopping but the biggest surprise was the gourmet experience we got at virtually every meal time. Japan should be on the wish list of every ‘foodie’ out there from fresh sushi at the Tokyo fish markets, 10 course French/Japanese fusion menus to local cook-your-own-food restaurants, there is something for everyone.”last_img read more

Aussie parents choosing holiday destinations based on bonding experien

first_imgAussie parents choosing holiday destinations based on bonding experiencesNew independent research commissioned by Singapore Tourism Board has unveiled insights into how Australians plan their family holidays.The ‘Australian Holiday Memories Report’ recognises the importance of holidays, which allow families to spend quality time together to create long-lasting memories. Interestingly, Gen X parents (75%) are the most sentimental group seeking out shared experiences for the whole family, compared to Gen Y (66%) or Baby Boomers (59%).The research also identified that the number one thing Australian families look for when it comes to choosing a destination is a place that offers bonding experiences for the whole family (71%).  Safety (69%) was voted the second requirement for selecting a destination followed by value (66%).Not surprisingly, countries which are perceived as ‘easy and accessible’ (English speaking, easy to navigate public transport and reliable hotel options) provide peace of mind for tired parents looking for some rest and relaxation (52%). Parents with children under five years of age are more likely to look for ease and accessibility (56%) and safety (74%) when choosing a destination, compared to parents with children 5-11 years (51% and 68% respectively) and parents with children 12-17 years (47% and 65% respectively).Sharon Lam, Area Director Oceania, Singapore Tourism Board commented:  “The perfect foundation for a stress-free holiday for Australian families appears to be an eclectic mix of family-friendly activities to excite all family members, combined with a destination which parents deem safe, easy and accessible so they can truly relax. The report has shown us that when these fundamentals are in place, families are better able to focus on what’s important – spending quality time together and creating new, happy memories to be cherished for a lifetime. We recently had Y Travel Blog visit our shores recently who had a great time. We are glad Singapore is able to offer this proposition for families and welcome more Aussie families to discover Singapore for themselves.”Once the destination has been chosen and the on-the-ground itinerary planning begins, Australians are filling their days with new experiences and activities that the whole family can enjoy together (67%). Relaxation time is perceived as the second most valued activity (59%) and trumps iconic attractions (57%), good food (54%) and new experiences (50%).Mums are more sentimental than dads, wanting to share a new experience or activity together (71% compared to 64%). They are also more likely to visit an iconic attraction (62% compared to 53%) and exploring educational activities that their kids will enjoy (35% compared to 28%). Singapore Tourism BoardSource = Singapore Tourism Boardlast_img read more

Sabre joins distinguished list of NTIA Sponsors

first_imgSabre joins distinguished list of NTIA SponsorsThe Australian Federation of Travel welcomes Sabre as a 2016 NTIA Sponsor. Sabre once again illustrates its commitment to the travel industry through the Sponsorship of Category 9, Best Business Events Travel Agency.“Best Business Events Travel Agencies are an important cornerstone to our industry. This award recognises those businesses who demonstrate best practice in conference, event and incentive travel management and service delivery,” said Jayson Westbury, AFTA Chief Executive.The 2016 Category 9 Nominees are; All Occasions Travel, American Express Global Business Travel, cievents, Event Travel Management and Platinum Event Solutions.“We are extremely pleased to have the support of Sabre once again for the NTIA. Sabre as one of the leading technology companies across the globe continues to show its support for the travel agency community and this sponsorship is yet another outstanding contribution by Sabre,” said Westbury.Commenting on the sponsorship Richard Morgan, regional director, Sabre said: “As the leading technology solutions provider to the global travel industry we are focused on helping our customers succeed. We are therefore proud to show our support to the Australian travel industry through the NTIA awards and we wish all nominees the very best.”The NTIA voting process has now closed.Finalists will be announced on Wednesday 27 April and a special webinar will be held on Wednesday 5 May to help finalists in judged categories with presentation preparation. More information hereSource = National Travel Industry Awardslast_img read more

The Parisian Macao welcomes first guest

first_imgThe Parisian Macao welcomes first guest The Parisian Macao welcomed its first guests, Mr. Kim Ga Heung & Ms. Jung Min Ju, along with their baby Ji Hong, from Korea today. Ms. Mao Miyazawa, Executive Director, Hotel Operations, The Parisian Macao, and Streetmosphere performers presented the couple with flowers, champagne and an Eiffel Tower souvenirThe Parisian Macao welcomes first guestThe Parisian Macao, which held its grand opening on Sept. 13, was delighted to welcome its first guests, Mr. Kim Ga Heung & Ms. Jung Min Ju, along with their baby Ji Hong, from Korea today. The integrated resort, the newest addition to Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao, offers 3,000 guestrooms and suites, convention and meeting space, international restaurants, kids’ club, health club, pool deck with themed water park, and 1,200-seat theatre, among other amenities.The jewel in the crown is the authentic, half-scale recreation of the world-famous Eiffel Tower, a truly magnificent representation of Paris.Mr. Kim & Ms. Jung were officially welcomed to the hotel by Ms. Mao Miyazawa, Executive Director, Hotel Operations, The Parisian Macao, serenaded by The Parisian Macao’s talented Streetmosphere performers and presented with a bouquet of flowers, champagne and a beautiful Eiffel Tower souvenir. They said that they were thrilled and honoured to be the first official guest at Sands China’s newest integrated resort.“We are so excited to welcome Mr. Kim & Ms. Jung as our first guest at The Parisian Macao,” said Ms. Miyazawa. “It is a truly unique new property providing an unparalleled guest experience and we are sure they will have a wonderful and unforgettable time with us. We look forward to welcoming them again in the near future.”About The Parisian MacaoThe Parisian Macao is an integrated resort inspired by the magic and wonder of the famed “City of Light.” Featuring a half-scale sophistication imitation of the Eiffel Tower, The Parisian Macao offers approximately 3,000 guest rooms and suites and a full array of integrated resort facilities, including meeting space, restaurants, kids’ club, health club, pool deck, and a 1,200-seat theatre. The 300,000-square-foot Shoppes at Parisian retail mall offers the latest in fashion and couture in a setting reminiscent of the streets of Paris, with an eclectic mix of street artists, mimes, and buskers heightening the authentic experience. Visitors can stroll among formal gardens, fountains, hedge mazes and reflective pools, and enjoy carousels, arcades and bistros. Source = The Parisian Macaolast_img read more

Air Kiribati and Solomon Airlines sign new aviation agreement

first_imgAir Kiribati and Solomon Airlines sign new aviation agreementThe agreement holds even more significance for the Kiribati national carrier which recently relaunched as an international airline following a decision by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to provide the carrier with its official two letter designate code – IK.At an official signing taking place in Tarawa, the Kiribati Minister for Transport, Information, Communication, and Tourism Development, the Hon. Willie Tokataake heralded the signing as important both in its capacity to significantly boosts aviation access into Kiribati and also build on both countries’ existing strong links.“There is no doubt this new agreement will boost economic development opportunities and in particular tourism and export opportunities for Kiribati,” the Minister said.Welcoming the agreement, Solomon Airlines CEO, Brett Gerbers described the signing as an  important step for both airlines and would play a key role in forging an even closer relationship with Kiribati.“Our partnership with Air Kiribati is an important one and we very much look forward to working together to see this become a success.“This service is more than just a link between two nations – it is also an avenue for both nations to grow and prosper as we walk forward together.”Echoing Mr Gerber’s words, Air Kiribati CEO, Tarataake Teannaki  aid his airline was excited to be working with an airline partner which understood the travel needs of both the Kiribati people and Air Kiribati.“This service will be a major step up and will give the Kiribati people new options to travel beyond our islands,” Mr Teannaki said.Service start date and the service schedules will be announced in coming weeks with an official launch to be held in Tarawa.The development builds on an agreement signed last November for a new Air Service Agreement (ASA) and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Solomon Islands and Republic of Kiribati.Aimed at promoting aviation between the two countries as one sector, the MOU is already showing development on a raft of activities intended to contribute to both countries’ social and economic development. Solomon AirlinesBook flights here Source = Mike Parker-Brown, Solomon Airlines PRlast_img read more

Six ways to explore the moon in Canberra

first_imgSource = VisitCanberra sallytenilledoig takes in Questacon’s moonSix ways to explore the moon in CanberraOne small step for man, one giant leap… of astronomical proportions of fun to be had in the capital.Canberra’s Honeysuckle Creek tracking station played a pivotal role in transmitting images of the Apollo 11 historic landing on the moon to the world 50 years ago. To get you in the space mood, we’ve pulled together six ways you can have a space encounter in the capital.National Museum of AustraliaA fragment of moon rock, a satellite tracking console and a 1969 lunch menu are among the intriguing objects on display as part of the National Museum of Australia’s Tracking Apollo: 50 years since the moon landing exhibit, open now. A panel discussion, led by author Andrew Tink with four of the original Apollo trackers, on 19 July will cast a spotlight on Canberra’s role in the Apollo missions and the moon landing 50 years ago.Canberra Deep Space Communication ComplexOne Small Step Space Open Day will take place on 21 July at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex in Tidbinbilla. This is your chance to relive the moment of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon under the actual antenna dish that helped make that historic moment possible.See The Moon at QuestaconSo it’s not the actual moon, but it’s probably the best close up view you will ever see. The 7 metres in diameter Questacon exhibit is based on a high resolution photograph taken from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter camera.Gaze at The Moon – designed by UK artist Luke Jerram – can be seen as part of your visit to Canberra’s popular science museum. Lay back in a beanbag and gaze at the moon. As part of the 50th moon landing anniversary, Questacon is celebrating with its Mid-Winter Nights event (10 to 13 July) where you can dance under the moon, stargaze, get creative with space crafts and more.Arc Cinema screening films about the moonThe National Film and Sound Archive will celebrate the anniversary by screening moon related movies on 19 and 20 July in its fabulous building, formerly the Australian Institute of Anatomy. Four movies will screen including: Dark Side of the Moon, The Dish, In Case you Missed it: the Moon Landing and First Man.Mount Stromlo Observatory stargazingRug up and venture out under the night sky to see the moon in all its glory at Mount Stromlo Observatory. In conjunction with Canberra Astronomical Society & ANU, Mount Stromlo Observatory runs free public stargazing nights and lectures. Check out their Moon Week program (17-21 July) which includes astronomy nights and space bus tours. Come and see the rings of Saturn, the craters of the moon, and beautiful star clusters and nebulae. On the night attendees will be taken on a ‘tour of the universe’ with talks by NASA scientists and observations on several telescopes.Moon Rock TrailTake part at your own pace in the Canberra-wide Moon Rock Trail around the region. You can walk on the Moon – well an Earth-bound version of it anyway – at Mount Stromlo Observatory’s outdoor display which depicts the features of the surface of the Moon or touch a piece of moon rock at Geoscience Australia – the only lunar touchstone in the Southern Hemisphere.Check out all the points of the Moon Rock Trail for yourself.To plan your visits, head to visitcanberra.com.au today.last_img read more

The city of Dubai

first_imgA land of riches and an ocean of sand, Dubai draws an image straight out of the ‘Arabian Nights’ in a modern era. Home to the world’s tallest building and the world’s richest horse race. However wealth is no longer tied to oil, but to a pervasive “can do, will do” attitude.Source: BBClast_img

Suresh Nair

first_imgWe are always looking for better opportunities in the travel tour world, especially MICE which makes OTM 2017 the best platform for us. The buyer seller connectivity was much better than what I initially thought. I think the online meeting diary feature was very nice and organised which made handling meetings easier. OTM is a great forum and I wish them all the best.last_img

Dubaibased Careem launches bus service for pilgrims in Saudi Arabia

first_imgCareem Networks FZ, a Dubai-based ride-hailing company has expanded its services in Saudi Arabia with the introduction of a bus service dedicated to pilgrims flocking the country’s shores every year. The company will provide direct rides from Jeddah on the red sea to the holy city of Mecca daily. Each side of the ride will be priced at 25 riyals ($6.70) covering a distance of 85 km. The buses designated for the journey will have 13 seats each. With the launch of the mass bus service from Jeddah to Mecca, Careem aims to capture the traffic of pilgrims comprising visitors as well as residents of Saudi Arabia embarking on the religious journey of Umrah. Unlike the greater pilgrimage of Hajj, Umrah can be undertaken at any time of the year, providing a year-round playing ground for Careem. With Saudi Arabia expecting the number of pilgrims to reach a whopping 30 million from the current count of 8 million by 2030, the ride-hailing company seems to have given themselves a promising market to explore. As a key player in the mass transport segment, Careem is not new to introducing mass bus services. The company has already introduced and is currently running a similar ride in Egypt since December last year.  The move to start bus service in Saudi Arabia will further U.S. mobility giant Uber’s position in the Middle Eastern market, owing to the fact that Careem has agreed to be acquired by Uber Technologies.last_img read more

Initial Jobless Claims Up for Fourth Straight Week

first_img First time claims for unemployment insurance rose to 383,000 up from the prior week’s 373,000, revised up from the previously reported 370,000, the “”Labor Department””:http://www.dol.gov/ reported Thursday.[IMAGE]Economists had expected the report would be unchanged at 370,000 initial claims. The claims total was the highest in five weeks.Continuing claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on a one week lag ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô fell 36,000 to 3,242,000, down from an upwardly revised 3,278,000 one week earlier. The prior week’s report had initially shown 3,260,000 continuing claims.The increase in first time claims signaled a fourth straight weekly jump, the first time initial claims have risen for four weeks in a row since October-November 2008.That the prior week’s report was revised upward was no surprise: First time claims have been revised upward for all but three of the 20 weekly reports this year. The weekly claims report released Thursday will have no impact on the monthly jobs and unemployment rate report to be released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That report is based on surveys conducted during the week of the month including the twelfth calendar day.[COLUMN_BREAK]Still Thursday’s report ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô and its trend ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô suggests the labor market has, at best, stalled, dashing hopes for a quick jobs recovery.The drop in continuing claims, while encouraging, is not necessarily attributable to long-term jobless obtaining employment. Some of the decline is attributable to changes in the number of weeks those out of work can collect benefits. Those changes were enacted when Congress approved an extension of the payroll tax reduction in February.Initial claims remain above 350,000, which economists consider a tipping point between an expanding and contracting jobs market. First time claims filings were last below 350,000 in March 2008.The four week moving average for initial claims rose to 374,500, an increase of 3,750 from the preceding week and the first increase in four weeks. The four week average for continuing claims dropped 12,000 to 3,264,000.The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on a two-week lag – for the week ending May 12 was 6,137,862, a decrease of 30,753 from the previous week. According to the latest BLS report, 12.5 million people were officially counted as unemployed.States reported 2,618,366 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending May 12, a decrease of 12,141 from the prior week, the Labor Department said. There were 3,416,540 claimants in the comparable week in 2011.According to the Labor Department detail, also reported on a one-week lag, the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 19 were in California (+2,716), Texas (+1,648), South Carolina (+1,029), Florida (+913), and Maryland (+626), while the largest decreases were in Wisconsin (-1,240), Michigan (-716), Georgia (-691), Pennsylvania (-594), and Washington(-447). Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Jobs Labor Department Lenders & Servicers Service Providers Unemployment 2012-05-31 Mark Lieberman May 31, 2012 433 Views center_img Initial Jobless Claims Up for Fourth Straight Week in Data, Government, Origination, Servicinglast_img read more

OscarWinners Beverly Hills Estate Lists for 3395M

first_img The former Beverly Hills home of Ernest Borgnine has hit the market in Los Angeles, California. The gated estate, designed in 1938 by architect L.G. Scherer, is currently listed for $3.395 million.Located just below famed Mullholland Drive, the 0.5-acre property features a 6,200-square-foot main home as well as a one-bedroom guest house. “”According to Curbed””:http://curbed.com/archives/2012/09/26/the-ernest-borgnine-estate-listed-for-first-time-in-60-years.php, the classically “”charming, Old Hollywood”” mansion was Borgnine’s residence for more than 60 years before his death in July. The Oscar-winner’s widow, cosmetics entrepreneur Tova Traesnaes, is noted as the seller of the home on Lake Glen Drive.[COLUMN_BREAK][IMAGE] in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Oscar-Winner’s Beverly Hills Estate Lists for $3.395M Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Celebrity Homes Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-10-01 Abby Gregorycenter_img October 1, 2012 451 Views Sharelast_img read more

Ocwen Put on Negative Watch After Homeward Announcement

first_imgOcwen Put on Negative Watch After Homeward Announcement October 8, 2012 444 Views Acquisitions Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Credit Ratings Fitch Ratings Investors Lenders & Servicers Ocwen Processing Service Providers 2012-10-08 Tory Barringer “”Ocwen””:http://www.ocwen.com/ made waves when it “”announced an agreement””:https://themreport.com/articles/ocwen-to-acquire-homeward-residential-in-750m-deal-2012-10-03 to acquire “”Homeward Residential Holdings””:https://www.gohomeward.com/servicing/home.asp in a nearly $750 million deal, but “”Fitch Ratings””:http://www.fitchratings.com/web/en/dynamic/fitch-home.jsp is doubtful about the move.[IMAGE]The ratings agency announced it has placed Ocwen’s “”B+”” long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) on Rating Watch Negative following the financial corporation’s announcement. [COLUMN_BREAK]Fitch cited in its decision the risks of various difficulties involved in the integration of Homeward, as well as the current regulatory environment in the mortgage sector.””While Fitch views the acquisition as strategically complementary to Ocwen’s current business model, there remains near-term integration and execution risks, which could result in potential service disruptions, which may ultimately impact cash flow generation,”” the agency said in a release.Fitch also affirmed Ocwen’s short-term IDR at “”B.””The estimated 422,000 mortgage loans (with an aggregated unpaid principal balance of more than $77 billion) under Homeward’s service would provide a sizeable boost to Ocwen’s mortgage servicing portfolio, and the addition of Homeward’s loan origination model may expand Ocwen’s servicing operations and give it a foothold in the originations market.Ocwen’s acquisition of Homeward is still subject to regulatory approval. The deal is expected to be funded by approximately $588 million in cash and $162 million in convertible stock and should be complete before the end of 2012.center_img in Data, Origination, Servicing Sharelast_img read more

Zillow Century 21 Renew Strategic Marketing Program Partnership

first_img January 11, 2013 422 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology “”Zillow””:http://www.zillow.com/, the Seattle-based leading real estate information marketplace, announced a renewal of its strategic marketing program with “”Century 21 Real Estate LLC””:http://www.century21.com/.[IMAGE]As part of the program, Century 21 listings will automatically appear on the Yahoo! Zillow Real Estate Network, the largest real estate network on the Web, which includes Zillow.com, Yahoo! Homes, and Zillow Mobile.In addition, Century 21 agents will continue to receive preferred marketing benefit, allowing them to take advantage of cost-effective advertising programs such as ZIP code-targeted searches and Showcase Ads designed to increase traffic to their profiles and individual listings.[COLUMN_BREAK]””We are very proud of our strong relationship with the CENTURY 21 System, and I’m extremely pleased to extend our marketing partnership,”” said Greg Schwartz, chief revenue officer at Zillow. “”This partnership affords CENTURY 21 agents and their customers extremely efficient online marketing tools with automated listing syndication on the largest real estate network. This is a significant advantage for sellers to reach active and highly-qualified home shoppers who want free and easy access to all the listings in their area.””The relationship between the two companies began in 2010, when Century 21 became the first national franchisor to participate in Zillow’s advertising platform. Now, 34.7 million monthly visitors to Zillow, Inc.’s mobile apps and websites have direct access to homes for sale from the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization.””Our relationship with Zillow has empowered our agents with a valuable marketing program, providing extraordinary reach and visibility for their listed properties,”” said Bev Thorne, chief marketing officer at Century 21. “”We look forward to continuing our relationship with Zillow to help our agents reach tens of millions of consumers through Zillow’s mobile apps and websites.”” Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Zillow 2013-01-11 Tory Barringercenter_img Share Zillow, Century 21 Renew Strategic Marketing Program Partnershiplast_img read more

Mortgage Rates Rocket as Analysts Foresee End to Fed Activity

first_img in Data, Origination Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bankrate Federal Reserve Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Service Providers 2013-05-30 Tory Barringer Encouraging economic data helped lift fixed mortgage rates to their highest level in the past year this week, according to surveys from “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ and “”Bankrate.com””:http://www.bankrate.com/.[IMAGE]Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed the 30-year fixed rate rising to an average 3.81 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending May 30, up from last week’s 3.59 percent. Since the beginning of May, the 30-year fixed average has jumped up nearly half a percentage point.The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) also soared this week, rising to 2.98 percent (0.7 point) from last week’s 2.77 percent.Adjustable rate movements were mixed. The 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.66 percent (0.5 point) this week, up from last week’s average of 2.63 percent. The 1-year ARM averaged 2.54 percent (0.5 point), a slight drop from 2.55 percent in the last survey.””Fixed mortgage rates followed long-term government bond yields higher following a growing market sentiment that the Federal Reserve may lessen its accommodative policy stance,”” said Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist at Freddie Mac. “”Improving economic data may have encouraged those views,”” he added, referencing the week’s reports of increased “”consumer confidence””:https://themreport.com/articles/consumer-confidence-trends-higher-in-may-2013-05-28 and strong “”home price gains””:https://themreport.com/articles/case-shiller-indices-post-strongest-gain-since-2006-2013-05-28.Bankrate’s weekly national survey saw the 30-year benchmark rate rising to 3.99 percent, an increase of 25 basis points week-over-week. The 15-year fixed was up to 3.21 percent.Meanwhile, the 5/1 ARM rose more than a tenth of a percentage point to 2.81 percent. Mortgage Rates Rocket as Analysts Foresee End to Fed Activitycenter_img May 30, 2013 470 Views Sharelast_img read more

Report Weighs Effects of Buyer Seller Groups on Home Supply

first_img It’s been accepted for the last few years that housing supply hasn’t been able to keep up with demand, contributing to large gains in home prices nationwide—but how do the numbers break down, and how do specific groups of buyers and sellers balance against each other? John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, explored the topic in a recent piece.Excluding homeowners who buy and sell within the same market (essentially adding and subtracting one home from that area), Burns isolated six “buyers-only” and eight “sellers-only” categories, many of which match or are related to each other:First-time buyers versus end-of-lifers: While the number of first-time buyers is currently lower than usual, Burns notes first-timers “usually greatly outnumber the number of people ending their tenure of homeownership,” meaning those groups are still imbalanced.Divorcees versus newlyweds: The number of divorcees is also down, while the number of newlyweds (who add to supply by shedding one of their homes) is up. However, “[d]ivorcees often end up owning two homes,” Burns explains—so they weigh heavier on the scale of supply and demand.New migrants and immigrants versus out-migrants: A simpler equation than the others: Immigrants and in-migrants outnumber out-migrants.Those buying a second home versus those selling one: Second-home ownership has been on the rise in recent years, but during slow economic times—such as these—sellers outnumber buyers as more people cut luxuries to make ends meet.Buyers moving up/down (while keeping their prior home) versus homeowners choosing to rent: Far more buyers are moving up and holding on to their home as investments, while “[f]ew homeowners voluntarily convert to renters,” Burns says.Investors (both sides): Investor activity has been high the last few years, creating a huge impact on the market.The remaining two categories are banks, which have been selling three times as many homes lately as normal (contributing to supply), and builders, who can serve as an equalizing force by creating more supply as demand warrants—but who haven’t been as active as normal.The result: As expected, a scale tipped heavily against buyers.“Right now, we believe more buyers than sellers will result in another year of price appreciation in most markets,” Burns says.“However, we see huge differences by market,” he adds. “We are carefully monitoring supply in Texas and affordability in California and projecting very different years in each market and submarket.” in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Share Demand Home Prices Homebuilders Housing Supply 2014-02-26 Tory Barringercenter_img Report Weighs Effects of Buyer, Seller Groups on Home Supply February 26, 2014 455 Views last_img read more

AllCash Sales Hover Near OneThird of Transactions

first_imgAll-Cash Sales Hover Near One-Third of Transactions All-cash Credit Availability Home Prices Home Sales Redfin 2014-05-26 Scott_Morgan May 26, 2014 445 Views The mortgage meltdown and its somewhat predictable fallout—tighter regulations that ensure such a crisis cannot recur but choke lending and borrowing at the source—have led to an equally inevitable outcome: a glut in cash sales for homes. A recent report by Redfin shows that in 17 metro markets in the United States, a full third of sales this year have been all-cash deals. And that figure has been essentially flat since 2011.Moreover, financed purchases are still way down from their 2000 peak, when 800,000 homes were mortgage buys. By 2011, that number plunged to 440,000 and only recovered to 520,000 in 2013.The all-cash economy kicked off in earnest in 2007 as the national housing market walked off a cliff. It grew steadily through the next few years. Redfin attributes the steadiness of the all-cash phenomenon to tightened lending regulations, but also to the lowered inventory in most areas.Redfin also cites investor purchases as a reason the all-cash figures have been so steady, though investor purchases have waned this year. Redfin’s figures are notably lower than those released by RealtyTrac earlier this month. That firm found that all-cash deals comprised 42 percent of U.S. residential sales so far this year. However, RealtyTrac measured sales in more than 17 metros.The largest effect of the all-cash deal, of course, is on competition for buyers. Sellers typically prefer cash deals because they come with shorter waits, fewer complications, and a much lower chance that financing will fall through. Most of the competition, according to Redfin, lies outside of the $200,000-to-$600,000 market. This middle range accounts for roughly half of all home sales and is the most active for mortgage financing, as buyers either don’t have enough money to buy outright in this range or can afford to buy higher-end properties.Miami leads the metros in Redfin’s all-cash-sales capitals, where 64 percent of homes were bought without financing. In the $50,000-to-$100,000 range, 87 percent of homes in Miami were all-cash deals so far this year. Miami’s closest competition is Las Vegas, where 80 percent of sales in that same range were all cash. Almost half of Vegas’ overall sales so far this year have been cash.The Beltway has the lowest all-cash numbers so far this year. Baltimore and Washington, D.C., have had, respectively, 21 and 20 percent all-cash deals overall, though Washington saw three-quarters of its $50,000-to-$100,000 purchases made with cash. Denver tied with Baltimore for an overall 21 percent non-financed sales.center_img Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, Newslast_img read more

Cordray Offers New Ideas for Consumer Lending

first_img “Our goal is to put consumers first and provide them with more tools to take control of their financial lives,” said Richard Cordray, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director. He spoke at the Lendit USA Conference in the Jacob Javits Center, New York on Monday. This is a two-day conference for established and emerging online lending companies and investorsCordray said he wants to encourage consumer-friendly innovations in consumer finance. This would include carefully considering the issue of consumer control over personal financial data. He also mentioned that the CFPB is looking into the benefits and risks of using unconventional sources of data to underwrite loans as a way to open access to credit for more consumers.“After crunching the numbers, we estimate that 26 million Americans are “credit invisible,” he said, “meaning they have no credit history at all. Another 19 million people have credit histories that, under most models, are too limited or have been inactive for too long to generate a reliable credit score.” He said there are about 45 million adults nationwide who fall into these two categories. “That is simply a tragedy in a modern economy and a modern financial system like ours,” he said, “and we all need to think harder about what we can do to address it.”He explained that alternative data may be obtained from sources such as rent or utility payments, which in general have not been traditionally defined as “credit.”  It may draw from electronic or other records of transactions, such as deposits, withdrawals, or account transfers. And it might include other personal information, such as the consumer’s occupation or educational attainment.Other forms of alternative data may spring from new sources that never existed before, such as the use of mobile phones or the Internet. “By filling in more details of people’s financial lives, this information may paint a fuller and more accurate picture of their creditworthiness,” he said. “So adding alternative data into the mix may make it possible to open up more affordable credit for millions of additional consumers.”He said that these approaches also pose risks, and the CFPB wants to know more about these risks and how they can be mitigated or minimized. “On the whole, we are encouraged by the potential for alternative data underwriting to benefit the very consumers that the fair lending laws are designed to protect,” he said.In considering any new services, Cordray said there are two principles the CFPB seeks to uphold. “First, we believe in a level playing field for all providers of consumer financial products and services….. whether they are large banks or fintech startups.”  He said that everyone must be held to the same standards of compliance with the law.He also urged urge all providers to make sure that consumer protections are built into emerging products and services. “Consumer protections and compliance should not be mere add-ons or afterthoughts,” he said. “They must be essential elements of the business model, from beginning to end.”  Consumers should be able to understand and access the kinds of responsible products they can rely on throughout their financial lives, he said, and the information consumers need to make decisions about their economic opportunities must be accessible, accurate, and reliable.  March 6, 2017 546 Views Share in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, Newscenter_img CFPB Credit Lending Lendit 2017-03-06 Staff Writer Cordray Offers New Ideas for Consumer Lendinglast_img read more