Disney opens part of Ariels world

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J. Jodi Benson performs the touching and memorable Part of Your World Unveiling Ariel’s undersea adventure Without exchanging legs for a mermaid’s tail, travellers can now be a part of Ariel’s world at Disney California Adventure park.The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure was unveiled late last week and is part of the Disneyland’s initiative “to leverage new technologies to tell a timeless Disney story”, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts chairman Tom Staggs said.“Because at our heart, great story telling is what we are all about,” he added.The ‘Omnimover’ style ride invites visitors to travel the waves to an “underwater” cave where they can rub shoulders with their favourite characters from the film while on board a giant clam shell.With eccentric colour and magic the ride features music from the heart warming movie as well as special effects that “transport you inside scenes from the animated classic”.  As part of the opening Disney invited the voice of Ariel, Jodi Benson to perform one of the memorable tracks from the film ‘Part of Your World’ and Sherie Rene Scott, who starred as Ursula in The Little Mermaid on Broadway to perform the wicked track ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’.The original voice of Ursula, Pat Carroll also joined in celebrations along with the film’s composer Alan Menken.Tickets are now available for purchase. Sherie Rene Scott performs Ursula’s Poor Unfortunate Soulslast_img read more

Brits plan Olympic getaway

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J While the major sporting event will draw in thousands of tourists in the UK this year, locals are planning to rent out their home and jet-off to the Mediterranean.A survey compiled by Owners Direct found that, 50 percent of Brits questioned said they had or were planning to rent out their home for the Olympics so they can escape on a break to the sunny region. According to the company, more men said they were eager to rent out their home and getaway during the period compared to women who said they would prefer to bunk with their besties.Of those who have packed up their clothes and put the for rent sign up on their property, the majority are between the ages of 35-54.“We’ve seen a huge increase in demand for properties in the London area and our advice for people considering renting out a holiday property or even their own home would be to ensure that you make it clear to prospective tenants what you are offering within the price – are you providing linen and towels, a welcome pack or any other added extras?” Owners Direct marketing manager Angela Southall said. .  “Before renting your London property, make sure that you have the relevant insurance required and check that your local council allows short term letting. “Once you receive a booking always confirm the booking with a written contract.”last_img read more

Highspeed rail gaining speed in Aus

first_imgMinisters warned to begin reserving land now. Image: ABC State and territory ministers have been advised to begin reserving land for the possibility of a high-speed railway line in Australia.Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese has released a final report into high-speed rail, which proposes a 1,748-kilometre link between Brisbane-Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne, ABC News reported.“Unless the route is protected now, the growth of cities and towns along the preferred corridor will make the project harder and more expensive in the future,” Mr Albanese said.Accessing Sydney’s CBD would pose the greatest challenge, requiring 67 kilometres of tunnelling. If fully operational by 2065, estimated patronage is 83.6 million passengers per year.The estimated cost of the project is AU$114 billion, with a completion date of 2053 at the earliest.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T.last_img read more

Economic situations in Europe USA taking its toll on cruising

first_imgIn the face of weak demand Regent Seven Seas has joined the growing number of cruise lines cutting back in Europe.Top end and luxury Regent Seven Seas this week cancelled nearly two dozen Mediterranean sailings scheduled for late 2014 and said it would replace them with sailings in the Americas, South Pacific, Middle East and Africa, according to a USA Today report.The sailings cancelled include every voyage on the company’s 700 passenger Seven Seas Mariner from September 23 to December 18, 2014, and on the 700 passenger Seven Seas Voyager from October 21 to November 28, 2014.New itineraries for the Seven Seas Mariner will include a 21 night Atlantic crossing from Lisbon to Miami, a 16 night trip from Miami to Los Angeles, and an 18 night voyage from Los Angeles to Tahiti.New itineraries for the Seven Seas Voyager will include a 21 night sailing from Istanbul to Dubai, and a 30-night voyage from Dubai to Cape Town, South Africa.Regent’s announcement comes just days after Carnival announced it was pulling out of Europe for 2014, with other lines cutting back in Europe for 2014 include Royal Caribbean which announced earlier this month that it would send only seven ships to Europe in 2014, down from nine this year and eleven in 2012. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: JAJ Seven Seas Voyager. Image Credit: wikimedialast_img read more

Happy holidays from ETB Travel News

first_imgSource = ETB Travel News ETB Travel News is taking a holiday from Wednesday 24 December 2014, until Monday 5 January 2015.As the year comes to an end, ETB Travel News would like to wish all of our subscribers and partners a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!2014 has been a fantastic year for us, and we thank you for your support of our journey.For 2015, ETB Travel News is looking forward to many more exciting new developments and ventures which we plan to share with you as they come to fruition.From all of us here at ETB Travel News, we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a safe, happy and prosperous New Year!last_img read more

Australians spend big on travel

first_imgVisa, the global payments technology company, has launched its 2015 Global Travel Intentions Study, in partnership with the Tourism and Transport Forum, highlighting the indispensable role travel plays in the Australian lifestyle and the country’s growing popularity as a global destination.The survey shows the majority of Australians travel for leisure (76%) as opposed to business, with Australians also travelling for education (14%), more frequently than travellers from other countries (6%).Australia’s geographic location and preference for long haul trips shape travellers’ habits, with Australians spending an average of 16 nights away compared to the global average of nine nights.This extra time gives Australians a chance to visit more than one place in the same trip. More than a quarter of Australians (28%) travelled to multiple destinations in a single holiday, while only 12% of global travellers have done so.Their commitment to travel is reflected in Australians’ willingness to spend, with a median of US$3,603 per trip.This is the fifth highest spend in the world, after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China and Brazil and exceeds the global median of US$2,281. Australians also plan to increase their travel spend next year, to a median of US$4,501.“Australians seek out meaningful experiences when they travel overseas,” said Caroline Dempsey, Visa Head of Marketing for Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific. “They see spending on travel as a worthwhile investment and our study shows they intend to up their budget for future trips.”Independent, organised plannersIndependent travel remains the most popular arrangement for Australian travellers; almost one in two travellers (47%) preferred this approach over packaged holidays or guided tours.“With nearly half of Australians preferring a DIY approach to travel, they seek out destinations that cater for this independent mindset. Getting away from the usual tourist traps is something Australians see as a top priority,” said Ms Dempsey.People and bonding opportunities are the reasons Australians travelBonding with their travel companions is the top motivator (15%) for travelling Australians. When asked why they chose a particular destination, 26 per cent of Australians cite people. This differs from travellers from other countries who place the greatest emphasis on the availability of travel activities. Australians are also more likely than the global average (63% vs 58%) to travel with a spouse or partner. Download a copy of the study Source = Visalast_img read more

Sheraton announces second wave of Grand hotels

first_imgSheraton Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (NYSE: HOT), today announced the addition of five properties across Asia Pacific to Sheraton Grand, the brand’s new premier tier of hotels recognised for their enticing destinations, distinguished designs, and excellence in service and guest experiences.Joining other Sheraton Grand properties across the globe, the brand welcomes Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Gold Coast, Sheraton Grand Hangzhou Wetland Park Resort, Sheraton Grand Xishuangbanna Hotel, Sheraton Grand Hangzhou Binjiang Hotel and Sheraton Grand Incheon Hotel to this new designation.  Sheraton Grand is one of many initiatives currently underway for Sheraton 2020, a comprehensive plan designed to solidify Sheraton as a leading global hotel brand of choice, everywhere.“As Starwood’s largest and most global brand, we look to continue our work to firmly keep Sheraton in the spotlight across the globe including Asia Pacific,” said Stephen Ho, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific. “The new designation of these properties as a Sheraton Grand is testament to the strength of the brand in Asia Pacific, synonymous with exceptional guest experiences and quality.”A Grand WelcomeAs part of the burgeoning network, these five properties continue to represent high-touch elements associated with the new elevated tier:Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Gold Coast – the Gold Coast’s only upper-upscale beachfront resort, the resort recently underwent a multi-million dollar refurbishment incorporating a refreshed sleek and contemporary design; also comprising of the iconic Terraces Restaurant, home to the Gold Coast’s most famous seafood buffet.Sheraton Grand Hangzhou Wetland Park Resort – the resort combines traditional Chinese architecture alongside sleek and tasteful furnishing in soothing natural colours, offering landscape views of the signature gardens of Hangzhou. Each room also features a spacious balcony with providing panoramic views of the Xixi Wetland.Sheraton Grand Xishuangbanna Hotel – the first internationally-branded hotel with its own on-site hot springs, the property combines Dai architecture and modern, luxurious amenities, alongside four food & beverage venues and an outdoor wedding pavilion perfect for a destination wedding.Sheraton Hangzhou Binjiang Hotel – centrally located in the heart of the burgeoning Hangzhou Binjiang business district, guests can enjoy breathtaking views of Qiantang River and the stunning garden city skyline.  The hotel has close to 20,000 square feet of function space and is also within easy access to tourist attractions rich in colourful Chinese roots in the city, as well as shopping and exhibition centres.Sheraton Grand Incheon Hotel – this multi-award winning hotel, including Asia’s Leading Green Hotel, is Korea’s first fully non-smoking, LEED-certified hotel overlooking Incheon’s Central Park or Songdo City; and features 6 distinguished food & beverage venues.“We are excited to unveil these Sheraton properties in Asia Pacific with the Sheraton Grand designation,” said Vincent Ong, Senior Director, Brand Management, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific. “Building upon the brand’s strong resonance with travellers in the region, we expect many of Asia Pacific’s premier Sheraton hotels to achieve the Sheraton Grand designation, representing the best of the brand; and in line with our goal of welcoming 100 Sheraton Grand hotels across the globe by early 2017.”Showcasing the Best of the Sheraton Brand around the WorldHaving launched in August 2015, Sheraton Grand celebrates the brand’s best-in-class hotels, each hand-selected based on a specific list of criteria ranging from sophisticated design and sought-after destinations, to unrivalled standards of service and impressive hotel amenities. Sheraton Grand properties to date include:Sheraton Grand Bangalore HotelSheraton Grand Beijing Dongcheng HotelSheraton Grand Hotel DubaiSheraton Grand Edinburgh HotelSheraton Grand Rio Hotel & ResortSheraton Grande Ocean ResortSheraton Grande SukhumvitSheraton Grande Taipei HotelSheraton Grande Tokyo Bay HotelSheraton Grande WalkerhillSheraton Grand PhoenixSheraton Grand Chicago Sheraton Hotels and ResortsSource = Sheraton Hotels & Resortslast_img read more

Wyndham rebrands iconic hotel in Surabaya Indonesia

first_imgSource = Wyndham Hotel Group – Wyndham Surabaya Wyndham rebrands iconic hotel in Surabaya, IndonesiaWyndham rebrands iconic hotel in Surabaya, IndonesiaWyndham Hotel Group has introduced its namesake Wyndham® brand to Indonesia’s second largest city with the opening of Wyndham Surabaya on Friday, 24 February 2017.The 292-room upscale hotel, formerly known as Pullman Surabaya City Centre, joins the Wyndham family under a new management agreement with owners PT Gloria Ramayana Inter Hotel.Located on the island of Java, Wyndham Surabaya marks Wyndham Hotel Group’s sixth hotel in Indonesia and the second to open in just two months following the addition of the beachfront Wyndham Tamansari Jivva Resort in Bali. The hospitality giant is making waves across South East Asia and the Pacific Rim, adding 27 hotels in 2016 and recently celebrating its 100th hotel milestone in the region.Citing rising demand due to relaxation of tourist visa regulations, the Indonesian Tourism Ministry recently revealed their goal of attracting 15 million international visitors in 2017, a 25% increase from 2016.“Tourism in Indonesia has risen sharply over the years and Surabaya’s expanding industrial and business sectors, growing economy, and improved infrastructure are driving the demand for quality, branded hotels,“ said Barry Robinson, President and Managing Director of Wyndham Hotel Group South East Asia and Pacific Rim.“With a prime location near Surabaya’s business centre and major retail precinct, Wyndham Surabaya is extremely desirable for travellers looking for an extraordinary stay in the heart of the city.”He added, “We are laser-focused on growing the Wyndham footprint, offering travellers more options in leading business and leisure destinations like Indonesia. Our Wyndham brand connects with guests in major urban and resort destinations by delivering comfort that exceeds expectations with the tailored services and amenities expected at a world-class hotel.”Wyndham Surabaya is located along the lively Jalan Basuki Rahmat Boulevard in the heart of Surabaya’s financial centre and minutes from Tunjungan Plaza, the city’s largest shopping mall. As Java’s commercial hub and the gateway to many of the island’s historical and natural attractions, Surabaya is becoming an increasingly popular destination among Indonesian and Asian travellers.Each of Wyndham Surabaya’s guest rooms features warm and contemporary furnishings, Asian design elements, breathtaking views of the city skyline, a bath tub and separate shower room. The hotel also offers two-bedroom apartments and Presidential Suites with a spacious 283m2 of living space.Premium amenities include free wireless internet access throughout the hotel, an outdoor pool, a wellness centre with a sauna and hot tub, and a day spa. The hotel will undergo a renovation this year to introduce refreshing new food and beverage concepts.The hotel’s nine venues for meetings and events can accommodate up to 750 people. All rooms enjoy natural daylight and come with comprehensive conferencing and banqueting services.All Wyndham Hotel Group properties in South East Asia and the Pacific Rim participate in Wyndham Rewards®, the simple-to-use, revolutionary loyalty program from Wyndham Hotel Group that offers members a generous points earning structure along with a flat, free-night redemption rate. Information is available at www.wyndhamrewards.com.last_img read more

Enjoy the ultimate German experience at Oktoberfest

first_imgU by Uniworld, PretzelsEnjoy the ultimate German experience at OktoberfestU by Uniworld, the first river cruise brand dedicated to offering adventurous experiences for a new generation of adult travellers, has launched an exclusive VIP Oktoberfest package – giving guests a unique and VIP experience to the most popular beer festival in the world.From 22nd September until 7th October, Munich will be transformed into the world’s largest Volksfest, offering a taste of local beer and wine, not to mention the delicacies to go with it – such as bratwurst, sourdough rye bread, cheeses and pretzels, of course.With U by Uniworld, experience the magic at the renowned festival, with reserved table seating, an authentic Bavarian meal, Oktoberfest Gingerbread with the guest’s name on it, transfers to and from the festival, access to beer tents and VIP service – all exclusive to U by Uniworld guests and all organised for you.The VIP Oktoberfest package costs $449 per person and is available to book on U by Uniworld’s 8-day Frankfurt to Regensburg Germany’s Finest sailing on 22 September where travellers bike through the fairytale town of Lohr, the home of Snow White and experience some of Germany’s most unique cities or the 8-day Regensburg to Budapest The Danube Flow 29 September sailing exploring the charming small towns and big cities along the Danube.U by Uniworld are supporting travel agents with assets and tools to make lives simpler and easier to help them sell. Agents can download flyers and social media pack surrounding Oktoberfest in a Dropbox link here.For more information or to book, visit www.ubyuniworld.com/oktoberfest  or call 1300 730 010.Source = U by Uniworldlast_img read more

ShangriLas Fijian Resort Spa unveils new look

first_imgShangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa unveils new lookShangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa unveils new lookAn exclusive adults-only precinct, world-class restaurants and accommodation makeover are signature elements of the USD50 million revitalisation of the largest private island resort in Fiji and the South Pacific, Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa, Yanuca Island, Fiji.Originally built in 1967 to unlock the Fijian Coral Coast’s Yanuca Island to the world, the resort has undergone a two-year upgrade aimed at creating new experiences and offerings and establishing the resort as a top dining destination.Extensive accommodation and facilities makeoverShangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa, Yanuca Island is spread across more than 100 hectares of private island. More than a quarter of the island has been dedicated to the new Reef Wing private adults-only precinct, including an exclusive infinity pool where complimentary sunset drinks and canapes are served daily, Reef Café & Dining and the oceanfront Reef Bures (villas) offering a premium, adults-only resort-within-a-resort experience.The Reef Wing is home to six fully renovated Reef Bures, each a beachfront retreat for couples with a private lawn stepping down onto the reef beach, an outdoor rain shower and a huge living space in their own private and secluded section of the island.Families also have a lot to be excited about at the new-look resort with the upgrade of the two-bedroom Lagoon Bures offering larger and self-contained accommodation options. The resort also offers the largest range of family facilities and activities, including the huge indoor and outdoor kids’ club segmented into age groups, and a separate entertainment zone for tweens and teens.Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa, Yanuca Island is also home to the largest inflatable water park in the South Pacific in one of the only resort lagoons in Fiji that is unaffected by the tide, a private Peter Thomson-designed nine-hole golf course and beach and lagoon activities monitored by dedicated lifeguards from dawn to dusk every day. The resort’s marine conservation team also runs programmes to help guests learn more about the natural environment and get actively involved in habitat and wildlife protection around the resort.All 443 rooms, three pool areas – including the huge family pool and entertainment precinct – and many public areas have been upgraded, as have the resort’s secluded CHI, The Spa and beachside casual dining spots, including Beach Bar & Grill and Bilo Bar. Each of the 443Bures, rooms and suites command unhindered water views, either of the open ocean or the lagoon.World-class dining experiences at Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa, Yanuca IslandThe biggest transformation – not only for the resort, but also for Fiji as a holiday destination – is the quality and range of dining experiences now available. A significant portion of the USD50 million investment was committed to establishing Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa, Yanuca Island as one of the best places to eat and drink in Fiji. It will set a new benchmark for exceptional culinary experiences in the South Pacific.Executive Chef Rudolf Kunkel has established an international and local culinary team that has created more than half-a-dozen dedicated and casual dining and bar concepts across the resort, each with its own unique experiences, flavours and themes. More than 75 per cent of all meat and fresh produce, as well as all seafood, served at the resort is sourced locally.Showpieces of the new dining and entertainment experience at Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa include:· Takali Asian Kitchen – an Asian fusion-concept restaurant perched above the reef incorporating Malaysian, Thai, Cantonese and mainland Chinese influences on dishes conceived by Chef Chee Hoe Wong, paired with more than 40 craft gins from around the world.· Golden Cowrie Coastal Italian – led by Italian Sous Chef Bruno Bettinazzi, who hand-makes the soft cheeses and pasta that are the foundation of this premium dining experience, and delivers a quality of Mediterranean dining not seen before in Fiji.· Lagoon Terrace – the resort’s main dining restaurant, with a huge variety of a la minute and smorgasbord options that change daily and make the most of seasonal local produce while offering spectacular reef and lagoon views.The resort has also reintroduced a Fijian institution, the Black Marlin Tropical Bar, as part of this revitalisation. First established more than 50 years ago and the subject of legendary tales, it has been reimagined as an upmarket tiki bar featuring more than 100 rums sourced from around the world, kept company by Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa, Yanuca Island’s own signature label, Yanuca Rum, which is distilled locally and exclusively for Black Marlin patrons.Guests will now also have the option of adding a meal programme of half or full board to their room booking, which can be availed across all resort dining options for the duration of their stay.“This has been a truly transformative programme that will re-establish Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa as one of Fiji’s best destination resorts, and set new standards for dining and living in and experiencing Fiji as a holiday destination,” said the resort’s general manager, Mr Francis Lee.“The two years we have spent re-imagining one of the original resorts in the South Pacific for today’s visitors to Fiji has been spectacular. It’s been a collaboration involving our staff, many of whom have worked across generations of guests, to deliver an experience that is authentically Fijian at its heart.“I’m excited to show a new generation of travellers why Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa has, for more than half a century, held a place in the hearts of visitors from around the world,” he said.Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa on the private Yanuca Island is connected by a causeway to the mainland, providing a Fijian island experience with ease of access to the Coral Coast. It is the only private-island destination resort accessible by road from the main island of Viti Levu.At the resort, located only a 50-minute drive from Fiji’s main international airport in Nadi, guests can be settled into their rooms and swimming in the lagoon within 90 minutes of disembarking from the plane.To find out more visit www.shangri-la.com/yanucaisland/fijianresort, guests may check out @shangrila.fiji on Instagram, @ShangriLaFiji on Facebook and @Fijishangrila on Twitter.About Shangri-La GroupHong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently operates over 100 hotels with a room inventory of over 41,000. Shangri-La hotels are five-star deluxe properties featuring extensive luxury facilities and services. Shangri-La hotels are located in Australia, Canada, mainland China, Fiji, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. The group has a substantial development pipeline with upcoming projects in Australia, Bahrain, mainland China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. For more information, visit www.shangri-la.com.last_img read more

Inbound tourism increases rapidly in Sweden

first_imgWith foreign tourists expected to spend a total of 115 billion kronor (13.3 billion) this year, tourism in Sweden is increasing rapidly.The forecast comes from tourism industry trade association Visita which hosted a conference recently. The Visita figures indicated that the number of overnight stays at Swedish hotels during the summer will increase by half a million.A forecast predicts the organisation that the number of overnight stays at Swedish hotels during the summer will increase by half a million, of which 175,000 will be foreign guests. During the three summer months hotels are expected to turnover some 6.3 billion kronor – an increase of 300 million kronor on the corresponding period of 2013.last_img read more

LateRoomscom launches its corporate booking tool

first_imgLateRooms.com rolls out the first phase of its new corporate travel service called LateRooms.com for Business.The service has been designed to provide corporate clients and business bookers with a cost-effective service, which offers sophisticated data and reporting capabilities. It is expected to be launched in full by later this year.The company said that the service would bridge the gap between online travel agents and travel management companies to sustain the bespoke accommodation booking needs of corporate clients.A set of first phase developments, which has been released before the tool’s full rollout, offer the latest functionality to both current and new customers.The service works in a different way to travel management companies by being completely free to use (there is no booking or modification fee), cutting out the average booking fee of £10 and 15% commission usually applied.On this ground, the company asserts that a corporate client could save £28 per booking, on an average booking value of £120. For a business spending £1million per year on accommodation, this equals to an annual saving of more than £233,300.The features available as part of the first phase launch include a VAT solution which employs an automated tool to support corporate clients in claiming VAT expenses for hotel stays. The tool can save large businesses up to £20,000 per year on time spent internally in VAT reconciliation processes.A recently introduced My Account area offers users with a reporting suite that simplifies the way businesses manage their staff travel requirements. Users are able to make bookings online, take advantage of dedicated corporate rates, save pre-selected filters that allow time saving and cost management, and keep track of activity through a travel booking summary section.  Bill back functionality also permits users to set up a credit account for hotel stays, to be billed at the end of each month.Various additional benefits are also available for corporate clients when travelling for business, such as discounts on parking and taxis, as LateRooms.com announced its partnerships with businesses including NCP and CabFind.com.Greg Mannix, head of Corporate at LateRooms.com, said: “We’re very pleased to be able to provide the next evolution in our service to meet those expectations, streamline the corporate booking experience, and provide very significant cost savings for our clients too. This first stage of improvements will pave the way for the full service launching later this year.”last_img read more

Freddie Mac Increasing Rates Wont Shut Down Recovery

first_img Share June 19, 2013 430 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Demand Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Purchase Loans Refinance Service Providers 2013-06-19 Tory Barringer “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ maintains in its latest U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook that rising mortgage rates shouldn’t have a significant impact on housing affordability or the recovery for the time being.[IMAGE]Interest rates have climbed about 0.5 percentage points since the beginning of May and are expected to hover around 4.0 percent during the second half of the year, according to the Office of the Chief Economist. Since last year’s refinance boom was tied largely to record-low rates, the office anticipates a sharp decline in refinance volume over the rest of 2013, forecasting about $1.1 trillion in refinance originations (down from $1.5 trillion in 2012).However, while refinance volume is expected to suffer, demand should continue to carry the recovery for some time, the report says.””The recent upturn in interest rates is sparking fears among some that the nascent economic and housing recoveries will be choked off before they produce sustained growth. However, with the exception of high-cost markets, primarily San Francisco south to San Diego, and Washington, DC north to Boston, which are already challenged with affordability, house prices in most of the country are very affordable,”” said Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist at Freddie Mac.At today’s prices and income levels, mortgage rates would have to rise to nearly 7 percent before the national median-priced home would be unaffordable to a family making the median income. (Even at that rate, many markets would still be affordable at the median income level, Freddie Mac notes.)””So while rising interest rates will reduce housing demand, rates would have to increase considerably more before the reduction in demand for home purchases would be substantial,”” Nothaft said. “”Nothing in the recent trends suggests that we need to fear a major slowdown. A gradual rise in interest rates will not derail the recovery, and are an indication that the overall economic situation is improving.””center_img Freddie Mac: Increasing Rates Won’t Shut Down Recovery in Data, Originationlast_img read more

Denver Tops List of UpandComing Housing Markets

first_img Dallas Denver GOBankingRates San Jose Up-and-Coming Housing Markets 2015-08-14 Staff Writer Share Purchasing a home is a major investment and it helps to know which markets are on the rise to become hot housing markets. GOBankingRates listed the top 11 up-and-coming housing markets for U.S. homebuyers, finding that the Denver, Colorado is a rapidly growing housing market.GOBankingRates reviewed housing and lifestyle-related data including housing affordability, job growth, home sales, and emerging real estate trends to identify the top 11 up-and-coming housing markets for U.S. home buyers.According to the report, Denver is not only known for its outdoor havens, but was also recently ranked in in the top 10 18-hour cities (those with access to walkable entertainment options well into the night) in a 2015 report by PWC and the Urban Land Institute. Almost 55,000 new residents moved to the metro area within the last year alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The current median home price in Denver is $458,000, up almost 15 percent from last year.“Denver is attracting professionals of all ages as well as families,” said Brian Harris, broker associate and Realtor at Kentwood City Properties in Denver. “The vibrancy of our city core, as well as the $500-million renovation and expansion of Denver Union Station into a multimodal transportation hub, has attracted interest across the country.”Coming in second is the Dallas-Plano-Irving metropolitan statistical area (MSA), with steady growth and affordable housing. GOBankingRates reports, the median list price for this city is $274,000, $40,000 more than the national median but well under other cities on this list.The local economy maintains a healthy industrial and financial sector according to Forbes.  The area is also home to many well-regarded universities, including University of Texas Southwest Medical School and University of North Texas.The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that almost 25,000 new residents flocked to San Jose, California, and its surrounding areas in the past year alone. This third up-and-coming housing market host top area universities including University of California, Berkley, and Stanford University.GoBankingRates also noted that San Jose real estate is highly desirable, and it doesn’t come cheap. The median home price is just under $900,000, up 28 percent from last year, and available homes sell in less than a month.Following the Denver, Dallas, and San Jose metros are Boston, Massachusetts; Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan; Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Austin, Texas; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Portland, Oregon, respectively.Top Five Up-and-Coming Housing Markets 1. Denver, Colorado2. Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas3. San Jose, California4.  Boston, Massachusetts5. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MichiganClick here to view GOBankingRates full report. Denver Tops List of Up-and-Coming Housing Marketscenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Market Studies, News August 14, 2015 513 Views last_img read more

Banks Resubmit Resolution Plans to Regulators

first_img By Kendall BaerThe Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) recently posted the public portions of the required “targeted submissions” for the eight systemically important, domestic banking institutions in order to better increase transparency.In April of this year, the agencies jointly determined that each of the 2015 resolution plans, or “living wills,” of Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, JPMorgan Chase, State Street, and Wells Fargo were not credible or would not facilitate an orderly resolution under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. As such, the agencies issued joint letters to these firms detailing the deficiencies in their plans and the actions the firms must take to address them, basically saying the banks were required to prove to the government they are not “too big to fail.” If a firm has not remediated the identified deficiencies, it may be subject to more stringent prudential requirements.Additionally, the agencies identified weaknesses in the 2015 resolution plans of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup that the firms must address in their 2017 plans. These firms were also required to file a targeted submission by October 1, 2016, detailing the efforts taken to improve their weaknesses.The Dodd-Frank Act requires bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more and nonbank financial companies designated by the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) for supervision by the Federal Reserve to periodically submit resolution plans to the Federal Reserve and FDIC. Each plan must describe the company’s strategy for rapid and orderly resolution under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the event of material financial distress or failure of the company.All eight entities submitted their resolution plans on or before the October 1 deadline but had they not, the agencies could impose more stringent prudential requirements on the firm until it remediates them. Additionally, following a two-year period beginning on the date of the imposition of such requirements, if a firm still has failed to adequately remediate any deficiencies, the agencies, in consultation with the FSOC, could require the firm to divest certain assets or operations to facilitate an orderly resolution of the firm in bankruptcy.The agencies are posting the public portions of the targeted submissions, as provided by the firms, on the FDIC and Federal Reserve websites. Taking a look at the submissions, it was notable to mention that Bank of America wrote in their plan they feel they have already remediated two of their shortcomings (Liquidity and Government Mechanisms) and made significant progress on the third despite the fact that the agencies do not require full remediation until July 1, 2017.Likewise, according to JPMorgan Chase’s plan, they made significant changes to many of the core elements of their resolution plan and how they run their business. “Our objective was to significantly improve the certainty and timeliness of management and board actions and support, and to provide more flexibility and options in times of stress.”For Citigroup, which was was the only firm out of the eight whose living will plan was not determined by either agency to be not credible, the agencies did identify shortcomings in Citigroup’s plan that the firm addressed.Neither the confidential nor the public portions of the resolution plans have been reviewed yet by the agencies but the statement from the Federal Reserve stat that the agencies will now be initiating their process for review.To read the public resolution plans from these firms, click HERE. Banks Resubmit Resolution Plans to Regulators October 5, 2016 516 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Servicingcenter_img Share Banks FDIC Federal Reserve Living Wills Resolution Plans Systemically Important Financial Institutions 2016-10-05 Seth Welbornlast_img read more

Mortgage Professionals Come Together at Five Star Conference

first_imgMortgage Professionals Come Together at Five Star Conference September 19, 2017 541 Views Five Star Conference HOUSING mortgage 2017-09-19 Nicole Casperson The Five Star Conference Expo Hall opened Tuesday morning, bringing lenders, servicers, and a number of other mortgage professionals under one roof. Include, the 2017 conference theme, was a topic widely discussed at the DS News and MReport booth where attendees explained its importance.“We like the networking opportunities and being able to connect with different companies from a strategic standpoint,” Kiyoshi Hunt, SVP of ZVN Properties said. “We can meet a lot of the needs our clients have, and maybe uncover some things we didn’t know, and learn about different perspectives.”Tim Rath, Director of Supply Chain and Vendor Management from Safeguard Properties also enjoyed the camaraderie and diversity of the Expo Hall.“If you just look around at the industry, there are a number of different people from different walks of life that are here and have a number of different roles,” Rath said. “I think the Five Star does a great job of encouraging everyone from different phases of our industry to come under one roof together.”In the midst of attendees was Operation Homefront President and CEO John I. Pray, Jr., Brig Gen, USAF (Ret). Pray discussed many attendees favorite event of the conference, the Military Heroes Keys for Life Dinner and Concert where five military veterans are presented with a mortgage-free home followed by a concert from rock band Styx.“It means the world to be able to do this,” Pray said. “When you think about it from their perspective it is literally life-changing. It will give them the firm foundation upon which to build a very bright future.”U.S. Army Sergeant Matthew R. Gaff and his family; U.S. Airman First Class Ryan Hampe and his family; U.S. Navy Seaman Shynae Murphy and her family; U.S. Army Specialist Kenyetta Cooper and her family; and U.S. Army Specialist Marchalle Couch were the recipients of the homes, which Ten-X Executive Chairman and Co-Founder Jeff Frieden helped facilitate. “I will not stop until we have no homeless vets,” said Frieden.center_img in Daily Dose, Featured, News Sharelast_img read more

The Week Ahead Focus on Construction Jobs

first_img March 4, 2018 557 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, News The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its monthly employment data for February 2018 on Friday, March 9 at 8:30 a.m. EST. The report looks at nonfarm payroll employment as well as unemployment numbers, which include employment figures for the construction sector. The last report released in February highlighted consumer trends in January 2018. According to the report, employment increased by 200,000 during the month while unemployment remained stable at 4.1 percent. The biggest gains were seen in the construction sector where employment continued to trend upwards, with 36,000 jobs being added to construction with most of the increase seen among specialty contractors. The report noted that residential construction added 5,000 jobs.Here’s what else is in store for The Week Ahead:MBA Mortgage Apps, Wednesday, 7 a.m. ETADP Employment Report, Wednesday, 8:15 a.m. ETFed Beige Book, Wednesday, 2 p.m. ETJobless Claims, Thursday, 8:30 a.m. ETFreddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, Thursday, 9 a.m. ETFed Balance Sheet, Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET applications Bureau of Labor Statistics Construction Employment mortgage rates Residential 2018-03-04 Radhika Ojhacenter_img The Week Ahead: Focus on Construction Jobs Sharelast_img read more

Aircalin Australia is offering your clients a Goo

first_imgAircalin Australia is offering your clients a “Goodbye Winter, Bonjour New Caledonia” Sale, flying to New Caledonia from only $298* one way including taxes.The sale is valid on bookings until 25 August 2017, for travel between 4 August 2017 and 31 May 2018. Prices are ONE WAY GROSS and include all taxes. (Surcharge dates may apply). The discounted airfares are booked in W-class and have protected inventory on every flight in each direction. • Sydney to Noumea from $298* one way• Brisbane to Noumea from $298* one way• Melbourne to Noumea from $315* one way AircalinNew Caledonialast_img read more

IMAGE Giants Causeway

first_imgIMAGE: Giant’s Causeway Cathay Pacific has launched a new promotion on selected 2018/2019 Economy Class round trip departures from all Australian ports to Dublin, from just AUD$981 return, when booked by 29 April 2018.Departures from Australia start from 2 June 2018 until 31 March 2019.Additional benefits & options from some Australian ports include:30kg check-in baggage allowanceFly via Hong KongFly into one city and out of another airlinesCathay PacificDublinearlybirdsIrelandlast_img

Silversea has been busy developing a fabulous wine

first_imgSilversea has been busy developing a fabulous wine program, with every major wine region in the world represented in the complimentary range, as well as every major wine grape. Approximately 160 different wines populate Silversea’s wine selection, which have been selected by the cruise line’s expert Wine Ambassador, Lawrence d’Almeida. Lauded by wine experts, it includes one of the largest and broadest choices of complimentary wines aboard any cruise ship, with roughly 70 different labels. Italian wines are particularly well represented in homage to the cruise line’s heritage. In correlation with Silversea vessels’ ports of call, local wines are added to Silversea’s wine selection to reflect the stunning destinations visited on an itinerary, which enables guests to travel deeper, sampling fine wines from across the world.Designed with wine-related destinations in mind, and hosted either by Lawrence, Silversea’s Wine Ambassador, or by qualified master sommeliers, the cruise line’s range of themed wine voyages unlock a number of unique oenological experiences across the world, from onboard lectures and tastings to shore-based excursions. These themed voyages enable guests to sample an exceptional range of wines and expand their knowledge, while visiting spectacular destinations and enjoying authentic experiences.Departing 18 October 2018 and arriving 31 October 2018, Silversea’s Silver Whisper will cruise between Lisbon and Fort Lauderdale during Silversea’s next wine voyage, for which the cruise line has partnered with Comitato Grandi Cru d’Italia and the American Fine Wine Competition. The cruise will introduce guests to both ‘old world’ and ‘new world’ wines, in line with the ship’s crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.Guests will sample approximately 33 different varieties of sought-after Italian wines, which will be provided by Comitato Grandi Cru d’Italia, a celebrated committee that unites the top Italian wineries. Subsequently, an additional 19 varieties of America’s best wines will be available, thanks to Silversea’s partnership with the American Fine Wine Competition.Co-founders of the prestigious American Fine Wine Competition (AFWC), Monty and Sara Preiser of Napa and Florida will join the voyage as instructors/hosts and will present AFWC’s Double Gold Medal-winning wines and/or bottles from wineries named as ‘Winery of the Year’ to guests of the voyage. Illustrious members of the ASPI sommelier association, Giuseppe Vaccarini and Gennaro Buono, former best sommelier in the world and the best sommelier in Italy respectively, will each join a segment of the trans-Atlantic voyage – to the great benefit of the guests: Vaccarini will accompany guests on various wine-related shore excursions, while Buono will host an accredited propaedeutic sommelier course, meaning participating guests will disembark Silver Whisper with a recognised sommelier qualification.Silversea Wine Voyages can be found HERE. cruiseSilverseawinelast_img read more