Source = The Murray Regional Tourism Board (MRTB) The Murray Regional Tourism Board (MRTB) congratulates Gol Gol Hotel for winning top Tourist Pub and the Deni Ute Muster for winning top Festival and Event at the 2012 CountryLink Inland NSW Tourism Awards. New South Wales’ best inland regional tourism operators and attractions were announced on Saturday, 28 July at the awards ceremony in Mudgee.MRTB CEO Mark Francis is thrilled that operators from the Murray are being recognised state-wide for their high standard of professionalism and innovation.“The Gol Gol Hotel and Deni Ute Muster are a testament to the high quality tourism experiences on offer right across the Murray region and MRTB is proud to see them recognised as the best of the best.”Of the 42 Murray region finalists selected, four work in partnership with the Murray Regional Tourism Board: Gol Gol Hotel – Tourist Pubs Winner Deni Ute Muster – Festivals and Events Winner WillowBend Caravan Park – Tourist and Caravan Parks Finalist Deniliquin Visitor Information Service – Visitor Information Services Finalist “MRTB is proud to be working with industry leading operators and aims to continue generating investment in tourism products and infrastructure”“Over the next five years, MRTB will lead the way to ensure the growth and development of the tourism industry in the Murray region,” Mr Francis said.The MRTB works in partnership with Destination New South Wales, Tourism Victoria and 14 local government areas with an aim to enable more effective development of tourism within the Murray region.
Source = ETB News: Tom Neale The head of search international search operations, Australia’s Angus Houston, said that the Oceanic Shield would continue to look for signals from the black box by attaching a ‘pinger’ detector to its hull and that an amphibious vessel would not be deployed until China and Australia were absolutely sure of the origin of the signals. “We will not deploy it unless we get another transmission, in which case we will probably get a better idea about what’s out there,” Mr Houston said. Australian Defence Minister David Johnston said that fair weather the last few days had allowed the search effort to be scaled up, with 14 ships and 14 sonar buoys racing to find any more signals, the Guardian reported. “If we can get more transmissions we can get a better fix on the ocean floor, which would enable a much more narrowly focused visual search.” The Australian authorities are running short on time to successfully find the MH370 black box, with the black box only active for 30 days. The Australian ship Oceanic Shield, detected signals like those emitted from a black box last Tuesday – the first one lasted for 2 hours and 20 minutes and the second only 13 minutes.
A recent report by Reuters has claimed that Jetstar Asia is up for sale, however according to Qantas Group the report is speculation.The report states that Lion Air of Indonesia wants a share of the Singapore based Jetstar Asia, which is owned by Qantas.Qantas’ response so far has been vague, without making any clear confirmations or denials of the statement.Qantas have said that the report is just speculation however in February this year they announced that Jetstar expansion will be suspended.Recently Jetstar International has experienced cutbacks across the board, despite taking delivery of a small new fleet of airplanes.Figures from last year have shown a decline in nearly every area of business for Jetstar, however the same situation can be seen in budget air travel competitor, Tigerair.Jetstar Asia flew 2 million passengers in the six months ending December 2013, up 14.5 per cent from the same period in 2012 and load factors eased from 78.8 per cent to 78.1 per cent.Source = ETB News: Lewis Wiseman
Diethelm Travel Group (DTG) has signed a deal with UK technology specialist Open Destinations, which involves the licensing of the company’s software, Travel Studio, which will be employed into DTG offices throughout Asia.DTG engaged in a worldwide search for a flexible technology solution, with chief operating officer Maarten Groeneveld, saying technological expansion was the forefront of the company’s strategic growth.“We looked for a system that not only has the flexibility to fit with our current organization, but also the capacity to grow with us in the future,” Mr Groeneveld said.The partnership also marks Open Destination’s development into South East Asia.Implementation of Travel Studio is underway, with the development of a business model that will be used in the Thailand office, and then replicated among all other offices in the network.The press release stated the completion of the project would result in an additional 400 users of Travel Studio, which currently hosts more than 10,000 users per day.Source = ETB News: Megan Tran
AirAsia X, low fare affiliate of the AirAsia Group, has officially launched its multi-city booking option to ensure easy bookings for those planning to fly across its networks in Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia.Multi-city flight booking is an option on airasia.com website which allows guests to book a minimum of two flights and a maximum of six flights in one go, and through a single transaction.The booking option which has gone through its pilot phase since 7th August, 2014, has been made available yesterday, 4 December 2014.Guests will also be able to book the Business Class and Premium Flex fares for point-to-point and fly-thru journeys via the booking option.AirAsia X chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani, said that the airline is excited to introduce the latest enhancement in booking trips.“Now our guests will be able to book multiple destinations, take advantage of trip breaks and stopovers all in one booking. It will be easy for them to manage their travel plans as it allows our guests to arrive or depart from different ports with the benefit of our wide route network. This is part of our commitment to provide a seamless booking experience to our guests,” Mr Osman-Rani said.A multi-city itinerary can consist of both point-to-point and Fly-Thru sectors in one booking, for instance, passengers will be able to book a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing followed by a flight from Shanghai to Sydney. Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman
Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman Etihad Airways has acquired a 75 per cent stake in Alitalia Loyalty, the owner and operator of MilleMiglia, Alitalia’s frequent flyer program, the remaining 25 per cent stake will stay with Alitalia.Alitalia Loyalty will become part of Global Loyalty Company (GLC), a loyalty and lifestyle company that allows Etihad Airways and its partners to target the global loyalty market more effectively.The addition of MilleMiglia will lead to enhanced opportunities for members to collect and redeem their miles around the world. Etihad Airways president and chief executive officer James Hogan, said that Etihad Airways’ majority stake in Alitalia Loyalty is a fundamental part of its investment in Alitalia.“The loyalty program sector is a faster growing and higher margin business than the airline industry. This approach allows both Etihad Airways and Alitalia to reap greater rewards together, with opportunities to generate sustained profits from our loyalty programs,” Mr Hogan said.MilleMiglia is Italy’s largest frequent flyer program, with 4.6 million existing members and more than 20,000 new members a month. The acquisition of a 75 per cent stake has been valued at €112.5 million and is being financed through a cash investment by Etihad Airways.
Source = IHG IHG Offers Guests Up to 30% Off Rooms Across All Hotels in Australasia, Middle East and AfricaInterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced an exciting new advanced booking promotion across all its 251 hotels in the Australasia, Middle East and Africa region, from beachfront InterContinental resorts to city-centre Holiday Inn Express hotels. From now until 1 September, guests can enjoy up to 30% off on bookings purchased in advance for stays from 1 June to 4 September 2015. IHG® Rewards Clubmembers enjoy a further reward of an additional 5% off – meaning a possible discount of up to 35% – as well as their usual membership perks such as free internet, when booking during this period. IHG Rewards Club, the industry’s first and largest hotel rewards programme, with nearly 86 million members, is free and guests can join at IHGRewardsClub.com, by downloading the IHG® app or by inquiring at the front desk of any of IHG’s more than 4,800 hotels worldwide. The programme offers industry-leading benefits, including free internet for members across IHG’s family of trusted hotel brands. Guests are always guaranteed the lowest price when they book directly with IHG, or their first night is free, as part of the group’s Best Price Guarantee.
Club Med to partner Apex Development in new Krabi projectClub Med to partner Apex Development in new Krabi projectThailand’s Apex Development PCL signed an agreement with Club Med to launch a spectacular new project in Krabi, Thailand.At a signing ceremony hosted by Club Med CEO ‘Xavier DESAULLES’ East Asia and South Asia & Pacific at Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido, Apex Chairman Pongphan Sampawakoopit announced the details of his latest development to assembled media, and explained why Club Med represented the fulfillment of a long-held dream.“Back in the 1990s, about 25 years ago, I first came to know about Club Med,” he recalled. “I went to Kuantan, Malaysia, the very first Club Med to exist in Asia. I was surprised and impressed with the friendly hospitality rendered to all the guests, and all the sports facilities – and more than that, the variety of surprises and entertainment. I feel it was a lot of fun, and I thought to myself that one of these days I would try to develop a resort with Club Med.”“Since then, over the last 25 years I’ve seen many Club Med resorts around the world, and I’ve witnessed the high standards that are still there since day one when I came to know Club Med. So today I feel very happy that my passion has come true with Club Med,” he added.The all-inclusive resort represents an investment of USD 90 million, and is scheduled to open in 2021. The property will offer 300 rooms in a range of categories along with a further 50 suites for the Exclusive Collection. Located on Krabi’s Long Beach, just 30 minutes from the closest international airport, the resort will offer direct beachfront access to guests while providing the exciting variety of sporting activities which have proved so successful in upholding the Club Med concept down the years.Club Med Krabi will become the second Club Med in Thailand, 40 years after the opening of the first in Phuket. The choice of Krabi underlines Club Med’s penchant for expansion into undiscovered yet idyllic destinations, while the company’s focus on green initiatives ensures that the project will be undertaken within the constraints set by Club Med’s Green Globe certification, minimizing any adverse impact upon the beautiful natural site the resort will occupy.While Krabi is anticipated to play an increasingly significant role in Thailand’s tourism sector in the coming years, it is also expected that the collaboration between Apex Development and Club Med will lead to a mutually rewarding partnership combining the reputation of Club Med as a global leader in all-inclusive resorts with the long experience of Apex in developing resorts and residences.Source = Club Med
Last chance for Scenic Earlybird Offers to AustraliaLast chance for Scenic Earlybird Offers to AustraliaTo secure the best offers on a 2018 Scenic Australia tour for their clients, agents are reminded they have until 28 February 2018 to book and receive:Included return flights for 23 Day Treasures of the West Coast (includes taxes up to $190 per person) – a saving of up to $1,350* per couplePartner fly free for bookings on the 12 Day Top End and Kimberley Spectacular, 17 Day South Western Tapestry or 21 Day Territory Explorer and The Kimberley (includes taxes of up to $250 per person) – a saving of up to $900* per coupleEarlybird savings of up to $600* per couple for bookings on the 9 Day Territory Explorer, 13 Day Ultimate Tasmania, 11 Day Taste of South Australia or 8 Day Historic Norfolk Island.For more information call Scenic on 138 128 or visit scenic.com.auSource = Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
Ground broken and on track for October openingNew Auberge Beach Villas to open in OctoberAdding a new level of sophisticated luxury and further cementing Nanuku Auberge Resort’s position and its overall product delivery in place at the very top of the Fiji resort listings, 13 new luxury one and two-bedroom ‘Auberge Beach Villas’ are bang on schedule for their official opening in October this year.One of the biggest resort developments to take place in Fiji in recent times, work is well underway on the beachfront site project following a traditional ground-breaking ceremony conducted by local chiefs, village elders and other local dignitaries.When complete and ready for guests, each of the Auberge Beach Villas will come complete with state of the art kitchens, private swimming pools and private open terraces offering the very best in both indoor and outdoor living fronted by a pristine, three kilometre-long white-sand beach and the resort’s own pristine house reef.An added benefit for guests staying in an Auberge Beach Villa is the opportunity to combine an intimate and very private villa style holiday in their own environment or, as desired, take full advantage of the fact they also have access to a full resort offering an award-winning restaurant and bar, a spa and wellness centre and a myriad choice of both on and off resort activities.A very proud Nanuku Auberge Resort GM, Sascha Hemmann said the ground-breaking event represented a watershed moment for Fiji’s tourism industry.“There can be no doubt we raised the bar considerably when we first opened our doors under a ‘Nanuku Resort & Spa’ branding in early 2014,” Mr Hemmann said.“The changes that have taken place since then, including a major rebranding as part of the internationally-acclaimed and highly respected Auberge Resorts Collection, have truly positioned us in place as one of the most desirable resorts to be found in Fiji and further afield in the South Pacific.“When complete and ready for guests, we are beyond confident that our new Auberge Beach Villas will take that reputation even higher, in the process taking both our standing as a true luxury resort offering a definitive outer island experience to levels previously unseen in this part of the world.”Photo shows artist’s impression of how the new Auberge Beach Villas will look once complete.
PONANT takes delivery of Le LapérousePONANT, the global leader in luxury expeditions and the only French cruise line, is pleased to announce the arrival of its new vessel, Le Lapérouse, the first of the six EXPLORERS-class ships.On 15 June, as per the agreed construction schedule, PONANT successfully took delivery of Le Lapérouse, the brand-new vessel and the first of the six exceptional PONANT EXPLORERS series. Construction of the other five ships is currently under way. Le Lapérouse left the shipyard in Ålesund, Norway, on 16 June. The ship will reach Reykjavik in Iceland on 19 June for the start of her maiden cruise. The inauguration will take place on 10 July in Reykjavik.“Le Lapérouse is a wonderful achievement for the company and the result of intensive teamwork with Vard and Fincantieri. From remarkable nautical performances to technical excellence and offering an extraordinary level of comfort, everything is in place for the PONANT EXPLORERS series to be a huge success,” says Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, CEO and Co-Founder of PONANT.Of a smaller capacity with just 92 staterooms and suites all with a balcony or private terrace, the ship boasts an elegant design, a long sleek line, state-of-the-art technology and major innovations. Also designed to respect the environment, Le Lapérouse is the true symbol of a new generation of ships flying the French flag.The six PONANT EXPLORERS will feature a world first: the “Blue Eye”. The innovative multi-sensorial underwater lounge will allow passengers to discover and experience the underwater world via two portholes in the form of a cetaceous eye, looking out on to the sea bed, non-intrusive underwater lighting, and hydrophones integrated into the keel that retransmit the natural symphony of the deep water, as well as Body Listening sofas, offering a unique sensorial listening experience by corporal resonance.ABOUT PONANTEstablished in 1988 by Jean Emmanuel Sauvée and a dozen officers from the French Merchant Navy, PONANT is the world leader in luxury expeditions and the only French-owned cruise line. Today, PONANT is leading the way with a new style of luxury cruising through a unique conception of sea travel which combines exceptional itineraries and luxury hotel services, aboard luxurious smaller-scale ships.Source = PONANT
The land of record-breaking skateboarding dogs, Inca citadels, chill surf towns and possibly the world’s best cuisine, Peru, has captured the curiosity of more tourists this year and is projected to continue bringing in more in the coming years.Peru succeeded in welcoming an increase of 7.9% tourists in the period between January and August 2015 compared to last year, announced Peru’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Magali Silva.Silva hopes that tourism will reach a seven percent expansion at the year’s end. By the end of next year, the Minister has the goal set to receive four million tourists for all of 2016. In 2014, Peru counted 3.21 million tourists with an expectation for 3.5 million for the current year.“To date, results are reasonable and enable us to maintain our projections…for the medium and long-terms,” said Silva.
Etihad Airways has announced the expansion of scheduled services between Abu Dhabi and India as its strategic partner Jet Airways unveiled new routes and additional frequencies to further strengthen their partnership.The two airlines, from early 2017, would expand their services between the United Arab Emirates and India by adding 28 weekly flights and three further Indian cities.Presently, Etihad Airways operates 175 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and covers 11 Indian cities. Together with Jet Airways, Etihad offer 252 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi that cover 15 cities across India. With the newly-announced flights, the airlines’ cooperative services would cover 18 Indian cities with 280 flights each week.Etihad Airways would launch a fourth daily flight between Abu Dhabi and Kozhikode in March 2017, which would allow the partnership to better serve the important south Indian market. The airlines would also double its frequency between Abu Dhabi and Ahmedabad from February 2017 with the launch of a new daily service.Jet Airways has also announced a number of changes in its operations between India and Abu Dhabi, which include the launch of daily flights between Tiruchirappalli (Trichy) and Abu Dhabi from February 2017. The airline would also introduce daily services from Kannur to Abu Dhabi. It has also planned daily services from the northern Indian city of Chandigarh to Abu Dhabi that would benefit travellers to and from the state of Punjab. These two routes are slated to begin operation in the second half of 2017.From January 2017, Jet Airways plans to introduce a second daily service between New Delhi and Abu Dhabi, with Etihad Airways already operating three flights a day between the two capital cities. James Hogan, Etihad Aviation Group President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Today’s announcement reflects how we have been working together to enhance our services to give the travelling public more and better choices by using each other’s networks. “Our partnership with Jet Airways has gone from strength to strength. Sharing resources and reaching decisions together are key to our success. Jet Airways is Etihad Airways’ leading equity partner in terms of revenue and passenger contribution, and this expansion is indicative of the years of friendship, strong bilateral relationship and economic, trade and cultural ties enjoyed between India and the UAE.”
Tourism data compiled by the Department of Statistics showed that international tourism arrivals to Chile last year were up 26% compared to 2015 with UK visitors showing an increase of 11%, as announced by Tourism Chile.European arrivals grew by nine percent compared to the previous year with 449,667 visitors from Europe recorded in 2016 of which 51,611 were from the UK, up 11% from 2015. From the other primary European markets, Chile received 77,987 visitors from Spain (up 6.3%), 77,129 from France (up 10.2%), 73,854 from Germany (up 3.9%) and 41,523 from Italy which showed the largest increase at 24%. From the rest of the world, Chile received 50,958 Australian visitors (up 11%) and 22,992 Chinese visitors (up 49%).Luis Felipe Cespedes, Minister of Economy, Promotion and Tourism, said, “The increase was the result of a targeted tourism strategy implemented by the government with a focused international marketing plan which included a new international campaign as well as a considerable increase in connectivity during 2016.”Tourism is projected to see a 14% increase in international arrivals in 2017 from 5.6 million to 6.4 million, including an increase of four percent for the European market with a predicted 465,000 visitors expected to visit Chile this year from Europe.
Furaveri Island Resort & Spa enters India market through a market representation agreement with India Sales Associates, the hotels’ marketing and representation company.“Regarded as a truly Maldivian resort with modern facilities, Furaveri Island Resort & Spa is the perfect getaway in Maldives. Expansive green landscape in 23 hectors, overlooking a white sandy beach and panoramic ocean views are the setting for a relaxing holiday in the most beautiful surroundings. Furaveri Island Resort & Spa is located 151 km north from Malé International Airport, is accessible by direct scenic seaplane flight or domestic flight followed by a 45-minute speedboat journey, and offers an unmatched experience for individuals, couples and families. Whether you are an adventurer seeking the underwater experience, an explorer looking for a remote exotic island or a fishing enthusiast ready for the big catch,” said Manas Sinha, Director, India Sales Associates.Led by one of the Maldives’ most celebrated chef, the resort is geared to serve the authentic Indian cuisine and Jain meals, aside from the wide variety of international and speciality fusion Asian and casual Mexican cuisine.To enable our travel partners, to promote this resort effectively, the launch offers include a very attractively priced ‘Thohar Package’, in which a 3-nights package starts from USD 1,700 per couple inclusive of half-board stay and return Seaplane transfers. The DMC partners are ready with these packages to support the travel companies for honeymoon and family bookings. Guests can choose 3-nights, 4-nights and longer package stays.Furaveri Island Resort & Spa features 107 units of a variety of stay options from Garden Villas to Beach Pool Villas, Water Villas and unique Dhoni Pool Villas (the design is inspired by the traditional Maldivian fishing boat locally called ‘Dhoni’) to two-bedroom Water Suite with private pools. Also, it boasts of four different restaurants and a bar, one main pool with a separate children pool and a large kids club.The pristine white sandy beach is the venue for multiple wedding (ceremonial), renewal of vows experience and provides the perfect backdrop options with a variety of set-up design options.Furaveri Island Resort & Spa is blessed by having an incredible house reef with turtles, sharks, rays, barracuda, napoleons, tuna and trevally as well as colourful corals. The resort offers in-house complimentary activities, including snorkelling with equipment, fish feeding, fitness centre, etc.
Lenders are more bullish on the housing recovery now than they have been in the last several years, according to the results of “”FICO’s””:http://www.fico.com/en/Pages/default.aspx quarterly survey of bank risk professionals.[IMAGE]The survey, conducted for FICO by the “”Professional Risk Managers’ International Association””:http://www.prmia.org/ (PRMIA), found that 71 percent of bankers polled believe home prices are “”rising at a sustainable pace”” in the context of mortgage lending risk. In addition, the majority of bankers–59 percent–expect the supply of credit for residential mortgages to meet demand over the next six months; a slightly larger percentage (60 percent) expect the supply of credit for refinancing to meet demand.On the credit health side, 39 percent of respondents expect mortgage delinquencies to fall over the next six months, while another 45 percent expect delinquencies to remain flat. Sixteen percent anticipate an increase in delinquencies, making this first-quarter survey the most optimistic since the surveys started.””The latest survey results, combined with data that indicates the real estate market is improving in many regions, paint a positive picture for a sector of the economy that has been slow to join the recovery,”” said Dr. Andrew Jennings, chief analytics officer at FICO and head of FICO Labs. “”Mortgage lenders have been understandably guarded over the past five years. The improvement in their sentiment should be welcome news, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see lenders cautiously expanding their mortgage and home equity lending businesses.””According to FICO, banker optimism extended beyond mortgage lending last quarter: Large majorities of survey respondents believe that consumer credit health is improving across most types of loans. Respondents were most confident in home equity lines of credit, with 81 percent expecting delinquencies to remain steady or decrease in the next six months.The survey also asked respondents about the business priorities at their institutions for 2013. Two related topics took the top spot: utilizing Big Data analytics to gain greater insight into consumers and improving the customer experience. Both were named as the top priority by 35 percent of respondents. Also important: fraud prevention (20 percent of respondents) and utilization of mobile technology (9 percent). in Data, Origination Share FICO Survey: Banker Optimism in Housing at 3-Year High Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Demand Home Equity Home Prices Investors Lenders & Servicers Purchase Loans Refinance Service Providers 2013-04-09 Tory Barringer April 9, 2013 423 Views
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Capital Economics Commercial Real Estate Confidence Fannie Mae Freddie Mac HUD Investors Lenders & Servicers Politics Processing Service Providers Veterans Affairs 2013-10-01 Hugh Moore As the federal government ground to a halt Tuesday, the question of how the shutdown will affect the housing market remains at the front of everyone’s mind. How will the market react? The answer: It depends.[IMAGE]Mortgages will continue to proceed through the usual government channels, although some delays are expected.More than 90 percent of the residential housing market depends on the government and/or the GSEs for underwriting, insurance, and funding. Mortgages controlled by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not be affected because they are funded by fees from lenders rather than federal appropriations.Some concern has been raised about how the employment verification process would proceed in the event of an IRS shutdown. Freddie Mac issued the following clarification to lenders Tuesday: “”If a loan is made to a government employee and the closing date is during the shutdown period, you do not need to obtain employment verification or re-verification prior to closing if a government office providing the verification is not able to do so as a result of the temporary shutdown. You are also not required to obtain employment verification or re-verification for such loans after the shutdown ends. This exception does not apply to income verification or any other requirements … We only require IRS Form 4506-T to be signed by the borrower prior to closing. We do not require that 4506-T be processed by IRS prior to closing. However, we require that the actual 4506-T information is obtained as part of the Seller’s in-house QC program.””Most economists agreed that the broader effects of the shutdown should be minimal, assuming that the shutdown is short-lived.””The most significant immediate term impact of the government shutdown is whether it rattles households and businesses by impacting uncertainty and confidence. With the shutdown only several hours old, it is too early to tell.[COLUMN_BREAK]So far the financial markets have not reacted wildly, which would get everyone’s attention,”” said Peter Muoio, chief economist with Auction.com Research. “”All that said, the primary potential transmission mechanism is through uncertainty. So far this year, the decreased levels of uncertainty have supported stronger economic growth and, therefore, demand for both residential and commercial real estate. We must gauge the shutdown’s impact on uncertainty and stress that a quick solution would clearly have less impact than a prolonged fight.””The securities division of Wells Fargo issued a report to investors predicting the broad economic effects of a shutdown would be “”minor.””””Our expectation is that our fourth quarter GDP call would be reduced by 0.0-0.5 percent … There would be negative effects on government spending and reduced consumption from the furloughed workers,”” the report said. “”Historically, following a government shutdown, the federal government boosts consumption and federal workers’ payroll is restored. The primary reason for the minimal economic impact during this shutdown stems from the fact that most of the negative effects and the subsequent positive bounce back effects are currently expected to be contained within the same quarter of growth.””Research firm Capital Economics predicted that the effect of a shutdown would be minimal provided that it doesn’t presage a fight over the upcoming debt ceiling increase.””Over a whole year, the cost would be equivalent to about 0.3% of GDP, which is manageable,”” Capital Economics said in an update. “”If the current shutdown drags on, however, then once the debt ceiling limit begins to bite in the second half of this month, the economic and market impact would become much greater. In all likelihood, the Treasury would not have enough cash on hand to make a scheduled Social Security payment of nearly $25 billion on November 1. It would also be unable to meet a debt interest payment of roughly $30 billion that will fall due on November 15, potentially triggering a technical default.””The communications department at HUD shut down Tuesday morning, issuing the following statement: “”Most HUD programs have been temporarily interrupted and most HUD employees have been told they cannot work. We will not be able to check this account or respond to questions during the shutdown.””The Department of Veterans Affairs will continue its loan guarantee program, although there could be some delays. The Department of Agriculture will cease its mortgage financing activity. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing October 1, 2013 474 Views Agencies, Analysts React to Government Shutdown Share
Generation X Homeownership Housing Bust 2016-04-11 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Market Studies, News Share Gen Xers Shaken From Housing Bust Effects April 11, 2016 506 Views There is an interruption occurring in the housing market. Homeowership numbers among Generation X have quickly went from first to last due to lingering effects from the housing bust.Generation X has suffered more than any other age cohort from the housing bust, according to an analysis of federal data and a report from the Wall Street Journal by Chris Kirkham. The report also noted that homeownership rates could remain low for this generation for years to come.Generation X went from the most successful in terms of homeownership rates in 2004 to the least successful by 2015, according to the data and Kirkham’s report.Kirkham says the culprit for this occurrence among Gen Xers is “a historic bull market for housing, fueled in part by easy-to-get mortgages, that encouraged record levels of home buying until the financial system cracked and the housing market collapsed. Earlier generations such as baby boomers, who entered the market before the frenzy of the early 2000s, have fared better.”According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the homeownership rate rose 0.1 percent to 63.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to 63.7 percent last quarter. Despite the rise however, the homeownership rate is 0.2 percent below the rate of 64.0 percent last year during the same period. In addition, although the homeownership rate, while up from a 48-year low in the second quarter of 2015, is still below the peak of 69.2 percent in June 2004.”Today’s Census Homeownership and Vacancy Survey release also provides optimism that the homeownership rate may have hit bottom in 2015,” said Ralph B. McLaughlin, Chief Economist at Trulia. “Many Gen Xers lost their homes during the recession, so this is a positive sign that we may be seeing boomerang buyers coming back into housing market. However, the increase was not statistically significant from a year ago.”The Bureau found that homeownership was highest among those 65 years and older at 79.3 percent int he fourth quarter of 2015, down slightly 79.5 percent in the previous quarter. However, the only age group to increase their homeownership rate was the 35 to 44-year olds, from 58.8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year to 59.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.Capital Economics Property Economist Matthew Pointon added, “That gradual rise in the homeownership rate should continue over the next few years. On the demand side, there are large numbers of young adults who are currently living with their parents. And many of them would like to form their own household. The financial crisis locked them out of homeownership, as they lost their jobs and/or banks refused to provide them with a mortgage. But both factors are now steadily improving. Jobs are being created at a rapid pace, and we expect earnings growth will finally start to rise this year. As well as allowing more households to access homeownership, that will also cut down on mortgage delinquencies and keep more families in their homes.”
Fed Raises Rates; What Comes Next? in Daily Dose, Headlines, News December 14, 2016 685 Views Share Federal Funds Target Rate Federal Reserve FOMC Interest rates 2016-12-14 Seth Welborn For the first time in a year and only the second time in a decade, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the policy making arm of the Federal Reserve, voted on Wednesday in its eighth and final meeting of the year to raise the federal funds target rate by 25 basis points up to the 0.50 to 0.75 percent range.With the labor market widely considered to be at full employment and the unemployment rate at a post-recession low of 4.6 percent, according to the November Employment Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, members of the FOMC felt the time was appropriate for a rate hike.“In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1/2 to 3/4 percent,” the FOMC said in its statement. “The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a return to 2 percent inflation.”Analysts in the housing industry have been speculating for weeks as to what the effect of a Fed rate hike would be on mortgage interest rates and overall affordability. In the month prior to the Fed voting to raise the federal funds target rate, the average 30-year FRM rose by more than 50 basis points to a level above 4 percent for the first time in more than a year.“While the Fed’s hike of 0.25 point in short-term interest rates may trickle down to long-term rate products like 30-year mortgages, the more immediate impact will be felt by borrowers with variable-rate mortgages and home equity lines of credit who can expect an increase in their payments at their next rate reset,” said Tim Manni, mortgage expert at NerdWallet. “Homebuyers shouldn’t be particularly concerned with today’s Fed move. Even with rates hovering over 4 percent, they’re still historically low. Most market observers are expecting a gradual rise in home loan rates in the near term, anticipating mortgage rates to stay under 5 percent through 2017. Of course, that’s barring any unforeseen economic event.”Mark Fleming, Chief Economist with First American, estimated that the 25-basis point increase in the federal funds target rate will result in a decline in existing-home sales down to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.55 million—in October, National Association of Realtors reported an annual rate of 5.60 million for existing-home sales, highest in more than nine years—and that the year-over-year growth rate for nominal price appreciation will fall to 4.0 percent. Also, First American’s Real House Price Index (RHPI), which adjusts prices for purchasing power by considering how interest rates and income levels impact the amount a consumer can borrow, estimates that real house prices will increase by 4.4 percent by December 2017.“In addition to the impact on existing-home sales and house prices, first-time home buyers will feel the most impact of the rate increase,” Fleming said. “In short, real house prices provide a more relevant way to compare changes in affordability over time because they are adjusted for differences in home buyers’ income and the impact of interest rates on financing costs. Increases in real house prices decrease consumer house-buying power and, therefore, affordability by the same amount.”Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke stated, “Today’s Fed announcement is going to have the greatest impact on first time home buyers as they consider their monthly payment budgets. Rates will likely stay the same until about March so buyers considering a purchase in 2017 may want to consider getting into the market now. The Fed—and financial markets—will have to wait to see what comes of U.S. fiscal policies in the weeks and months ahead and how that impacts the economy and the potential for more inflation. Signs point to the Fed raising rates at least three times next year, and just like we’ve seen in the last month, mortgage rates will likely move proportionately in anticipation of those increases, as clear data emerges about stronger economic growth and inflation.”National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) Chief Economist Curt Long said that overall, the effect of the 25 basis point on U.S. households should be minimal, but at the same time, “for the millions of savers living on fixed incomes it surely comes as a relief, especially if it is accompanied by a forecast for more in 2017. To that end, the committee’s economic projections may hold more interest than the statement itself,” said Long. “For typical Main Street Americans, the move serves as a reminder to review the rates on their savings and borrowings and to shop around. They may find that even in a low-rate environment there are institutions willing to provide superior rates and higher-quality service than the big Wall Street banks.”Long continued, “The Fed will not make any assumptions about President-elect Trump’s economic agenda. A large spending bill accompanied by tax cuts certainly has the potential to increase growth and inflation, paving the way for faster rate normalization in the coming years. But the Fed will stick to its wait-and-see approach.”
in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines Flood Insurance Hensarling House of Representatives NFIP 2017-11-14 Aly J. Yale House Votes to Re-up Flood Insurance Program Share November 14, 2017 523 Views The House of Representatives officially voted to reauthorize that National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with a 237-189 vote on Tuesday. The bill, dubbed the 21st Century Flood Reform Act, would reauthorize the program for five years and come with a slew of other reforms that would, in effect, raise premiums and cut into affordability for policyholders.According to the Congressional Budget Office, “the changes made by this legislation would increase collections from NFIP policyholders but would reduce the number of property owners who purchase insurance through the NFIP.”In addition to extending the program for an additional five years, Tuesday’s bill would also make it easier for private companies to enter the flood insurance market and prohibit the NFIP from covering properties that flood repeatedly.Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, told the floor the new reforms would give consumers more opportunity to shop around and find affordable coverage. If passed, he said, “it’ll represent in many respects the greatest reform in the history of the program.”The NFIP, initially established in 1968, was set to expire September 30, but President Donald Trump approved a three-month extension of the program to buy Congress more time. If the CFRA had not been passed Tuesday, the program would expire December 8.Following the devastating effects of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria, the NFIP was—and still is—deeply in debt. According to the CBO, the program is expected to have a deficit of more than $1.4 billion this year. Congress has already agreed to forgive $16 billion in debt from the program.The CBO estimates the new bill will decrease spending by $187 million by 2027 and increase program revenues by $4 million over the same period.The new bill will move to the Senate next, though according to the Wall Street Journal, the Senate may not act on the legislation until later next year.