Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Qantas says it is already planning for July 2012 The carbon-reduction scheme announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sunday is likely to force air fares up, with a Qantas spokesperson telling e-Travel Blackboard the carrier would not be able to absorb the tax in its entirety. According to the airline, the AU$23 per tonne tax placed on the country’s 500 worst polluters from 1 July 2012 will cost the Qantas Group around AU$110-115 million for the financial year ending 30 June 2013. “By mid-2012 the Qantas Group will be facing a carbon price in three markets and it will not be possible for us to absorb these costs in their entirety,” the spokesperson said.”We are disappointed that, unlike in New Zealand or the EU, there will be no phasing in period or transitional assistance for airlines and that the full price will apply immediately.” Although international fuel will be excluded from the carbon price scheme, domestic airlines will be subject to the AU$23 per tonne levy without “assistance or compensation arrangements”, the airline added in a statement. Qantas anticipates the price of a single domestic flight sector to rise by an average AU$3.50 in FY13. Meanwhile, consumer watchdog, CHOICE, has warned against businesses price-gouging under the cover of carbon costs, saying it agreed with government assessments that any impacts on the consumer would be “relatively modest”.CHOICE head of campaigns, Matt Levey, said that businesses should be “put on notice” to “not use the carbon tax as an excuse to pass on unrelated costs”, adding that CHOICE was “keen to see the ACCC play an enhanced role in providing a significant deterrent to such behaviour”. In related news, Qantas has refused to rule out job cuts to help guide its international operations into the black, with the airline’s chief executive, Alan Joyce, telling ABC television that any redundancies would be made as part of a “four-pronged strategy” for the carrier to be announced on 24 August. “We have had a surplus of pilots for some time and we’ve managed that with the big (annual) leave balances that are there,” Mr Joyce said.According to the Qantas boss, the new strategy will focus on future investment, cost-cutting, airline partnerships and a future in the emerging Asian market.
Source = The Retreat Port Stephens Picnic table by beach in winter – Port StephensPort Stephens property invites guest to name their own priceFor the first time, The Retreat Port Stephens is giving people the chance to name their own price on stays at the secluded retreat during August, 2018.Offering significant savings, the new concept gives the power to the guests on determining the cost of their stay. The Retreat Port Stephens has set a benchmark on the lowest rate possible and all guests have to do is name their price. If the price is above the benchmark, they can book that price and if it is below, The Retreat will invite you to offer another price.Nestled in bushland next to Australia’s largest sand dunes which stretch 32km long, 1.2km wide and up to 50m high between the property and the ocean, The Retreat Port Stephens is the perfect sanctuary to visit in late winter.August is an ideal time to visit the ‘blue water paradise’ of Port Stephens with highlights including:* Local restaurants and eateries showcasing a bounty of the best local cuisine, for which the region is famous, during Port Stephens’ ‘Love Seafood’ month in August.* Whale watching cruises during the migration of an estimated 30,000 humpback whales* 4WD tours over the huge sand dunes* Get in the water with safe sharks and rays at Irukandji Shark and Ray Centre* Scenic bushwalks, golf, paddle-boarding and local marketsThe special ‘Name Your Price’ offer is only available for stays during August, 2018, and bookings will open from July 1, 2018. The deal is for a minimum, two-night stay and the benchmark price is based on two guests in a cabin or four guests in a bungalow. Additional guests can stay for an extra $35 per person, per night.Ideal for couples, families, groups or schools, the tranquil Retreat Port Stephens is located just 10 minutes from Nelson Bay, The Retreat Port Stephens offers self-contained cabins and bungalows accommodating up to six people. The private, 1.6-hectare property boasts camp fires with free wood, barbecue areas, a pool, games room, DVD library and a playground area.Bookings under the ‘Name Your Price’ offer are only available via email or phone. For details, visit the News and Specials page of www.theretreatportstephens.com.au or call 02 4982 1244.
About HiltonHilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company, with a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising more than 5,400 properties with nearly 880,000 rooms, in 106 countries and territories. Hilton is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company by delivering exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time. The company’s portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose exactly how many Points to combine with money, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, and free standard Wi-Fi. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.About Waldorf Astoria Hotels & ResortsWaldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts is a portfolio of just over 30 iconic properties that create a unique sense of place with a relentless commitment to personal service and culinary expertise in landmark locations around the world. Unified by their inspirational environments and True Waldorf Service, Waldorf Astoria hotels deliver graceful service from the moment a guest books through checkout. Waldorf Astoria is a part of Hilton, a leading global hospitality company. Experience Waldorf Astoria by booking at www.waldorfastoria.com or through the Hilton Honors mobile app. Waldorf Astoria Debuts in South East AsiaWaldorf Astoria Debuts in South East AsiaLocated within the 60-storey Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok today announces the hotel’s official opening in the heart of Bangkok. Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is the latest addition to the portfolio of Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Hilton (NYSE: HLT)’s luxury brand of iconic hotels. The landmark hotel is owned by MQDC (Magnolia Quality Development Corporation Limited) and managed by Hilton.“With Asia Pacific enjoying a golden age of travel, we are witnessing unprecedented demand for our brands and are creating some of the world’s greatest luxury hotels,” said Alan Watts, president, Hilton, Asia Pacific. “As the first Waldorf Astoria in South East Asia, the opening of Waldorf Astoria Bangkok adds a much-anticipated chapter to the brand’s story in Asia. It builds on our series of iconic Waldorf Astoria hotels in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, while prefacing the arrival of additional unforgettable Waldorf Astoria hotels in the near future.”Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is located by the bustling Ratchaprasong intersection, within walking distance of renowned shopping precincts. Just a few minutes’ stroll to the Erawan Shrine, the luxurious Gaysorn Village mall and both lines of the BangkokMass Transit System (BTS) Skytrain, the hotel is ideally positioned for guests to immerse themselves in the city’s colorful culture. Other highlights within a 10- to 25-minute drive include the Charoenkrung Creative District, the iconic Grand Palace and the city’s beautiful flower market.“From Waldorf Astoria New York to Waldorf Astoria Chengdu, the Waldorf Astoria brand has a long-standing legacy of defining the hospitality experience for the modern-day traveller,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Group, Hilton. “We truly believe that the opening of the new, landmark Waldorf Astoria Bangkok will not only redefine the luxury hospitality landscape throughout South East Asia, it will create unforgettable experiences for our guests that will last a lifetime.”Award-winning architect André Fu and his design studio AFSO designed the main hotel. Globally recognized for their work, which range from modern hospitality projects and art spaces to high-profile fashion collaborations, AFSO has artistically curated a holistic Waldorf Astoria Bangkok hotel experience that unites the building’s contemporary architecture with Thai artisanal tradition. Conceptualized to embrace the gracious Thai spirit in an elegant setting, the 171 residential-style, spacious and luxuriously appointed guest rooms and suites feature spa-inspired bathrooms and marble bathtubs.The hotel’s crown jewel spans the top three floors from levels 55 to 57, comprising three distinctive, artistically curated dining outlets by world-renowned design and concept firm AvroKO. Exuding glamour and luxury, the opulent interiors of Bull & Bear, The Loft and Champagne Bar showcase a nod towards the Waldorf Astoria legacy, all accompanied by sweeping views of the city.“We are thrilled to be adding Waldorf Astoria Bangkok to our rapidly expanding luxury portfolio here in Asia Pacific,” said Dino Michael, global head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. “As we continue to debut contemporary and iconic hotels in landmark destinations all over the world, we consider it a true honour to introduce our brand to a city as vibrant as Bangkok. We look forward to showcasing our signature True Waldorf Service, the personalized, graceful service that has become synonymous with our brand.”In line with Waldorf Astoria’s legacy of culinary expertise, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is primed to be a dining destination in itself. The property features three unique restaurant concepts, a lounge and two bars, including:Front Room, the hotel’s signature restaurant, is helmed by acclaimed Chef Fae Rungthiwa Chummongkhon, who brings her experience of working at Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe to present an elegant blend of “new Nordic” and Thai flavors in a relaxed setting.The Brasserie, located on the upper lobby, is a lively destination that offers stunning views of the city. Using locally sourced ingredients, the restaurant serves traditional French brasserie fare daily from breakfast through dinner.Peacock Alley, which sits on the same level as The Brasserie, is an ideal lounge for picturesque afternoon teas and light meals. Modeled after the New York original, Peacock Alley presents a menu of delectable homemade pastries and refreshments throughout the day.Bull & Bear on level 55 specializes in grilled meats and seafood, and features a live raw bar along with a custom-made grill designed for smoking, slow roasting, baking and grilling. Eye-catching art deco-inspired interiors, upbeat vibes and dazzling views make Bull & Bear the perfect place to socialize, celebrate and indulge.The Loft on level 56 is a glamorous, New York-inspired bar, steeped in the romance of art nouveau. Taking inspiration from the original 1935 Waldorf Astoria Bar Book, artisanal spirits and forgotten cocktails are crafted to the modern palate using a great collection of house-made ingredients, accompanied by gourmet bar bites.The Champagne Bar, located at the hotel’s peak on level 57, offers an intimate and inspirational environment, designed with meticulous attention to detail. An exquisite list of fine champagnes, hand-crafted cocktails and one of the best views of Bangkok combine to create the ultimate setting for a spectacular evening out. Accessible only to the most discerning of guests, the exclusive bar is primed to be one of the most desirable spots in the city.Arguably the most striking feature of the property is the 730-square-meter Magnolia Ballroom on level 10, which offers a stunning and sophisticated setting for weddings and social events. A statement sweeping staircase provides an unforgettable photography backdrop and an impactful arrival experience. With an impressive 8-meter-high ceiling, the ballroom accommodates up to 700 guests standing or 330 guests seated, and it is set to be one of Bangkok’s most sought-after event venues.Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 14 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi and the Hilton Honors mobile app.Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is located at 151 Ratchadamri Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.For more information, or to make a reservation, please visit www.waldorfbangkok.waldorfastoria.com or call +66 (0) 2 846 8888. Source = Waldorf Astoria Bangkok
The world’s first ‘quarry hotel’ opens in ShanghaiThe world’s first ‘quarry hotel’ opens in ShanghaiOne of the world’s leading hotel companies, announced the grand opening of InterContinental® Shanghai Wonderland, the 200th InterContinental hotel making InterContinental Hotels & Resorts the world’s largest luxury hotel brand. Developed by Shimao Group and managed by IHG, InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland is a luxury hotel masterfully built into the side wall of a formerly abandoned quarry in Southwestern Shanghai. Stretching 88 metres underground, the hotel was nominated as one of the architectural wonders of the world by the National Geographic Channel’s MegaStructures series due to its pioneering architectural design.Marking 200 captivating destinations around the worldFounded in 1946 by aviation pioneer, Juan Trippe, InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts have been on the forefront of luxury hospitality industry for decades with a portfolio of 200 hotels and resorts in stunning locations around the world. To celebrate reaching 200 destinations, the InterContinental brand partnered with London-based contemporary artist Alexander Hall, also known under the alias Haut de Gamme©, to create a stunning art installation, commemorating the milestone. The art installation is made from 200 champagne bottles individually hand-painted by Alexander Hall in his bright and energetic drip-style, with unique artwork on each bottle inspired by each destination. The finished bottles are suspended together in a stunning oeuvre to reveal the number ‘200’.An architectural featThe new-build InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland combines the brand’s signature luxury with revolutionary design at a wonderfully unique location, creating an unprecedented experience. Located at Sheshan Mountain Range, this new hotel is mostly subterranean, with two floors above ground and 16 below ground, including two floors underwater. Individually designed to best reflect both modern elegance and the unique features of the quarry’s landscape, all 336 rooms and suites provide ample, luxury living spaces with spectacular views of waterfalls and the surrounding cliffs.The stunning underwater loft offers two awe-inspiring levels: the landing deck at water level houses the outdoor terrace and living room, whilst the underwater bedrooms are encased within a turquoise aquarium where guests will be surrounded by the schools of fish that swim by. All hotel rooms on the bottom floor are provided with around-the-clock butler service to ensure a truly hassle-free stay experience and keep guests feeling truly pampered.Offering guests a taste of the InterContinental lifeContinuing the brand’s dedication to providing high standards of guest service and delivering captivating destination experiences, InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland offers services and facilities signature to the InterContinental brand. The award-winning InterContinental Concierge adopts the brand’s “In-the-Know” approach and features a series of curated experiences to help guests discover the beauty and charm of the destination. Located right above water level in the hotel’s rock quarry architecture, the Club InterContinental lounge offers an exclusive venue for social gatherings and business meetings, and a range of exclusive services and benefits for its guests.Ms. Lin Wang, CMO of Greater China, IHG, said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with Shimao Group again to open InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland – an architectural masterpiece which is a wonder and beauty in the global hospitality industry. IHG has maintained staggering growth since entering the Chinese market in 1984, and the opening of InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland marks a significant milestone in our development strategy and further enhances our luxury portfolio in China. With its exceptional experiences and personalised services, the hotel is ready to welcome guests to a world of alluring luxury and natural wonder, inviting everyone to live and enjoy the InterContinental life.”As the world’s first and largest international luxury travel hotel brand, InterContinental Hotels and Resorts have been delighting guests with new international destinations for decades – from historic buildings to city landmarks and immersive resorts in every corner of the globe. Celebrating the brand DNA of service, sophistication and style, InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland will create unprecedented hospitality experiences for guests and stand out as a must-visit destination for visitors to the financial capital of China.Founded in 1946 by aviation pioneer, Juan Trippe, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is today the world’s largest luxury hotel brand. The brand has a history of pioneering luxury travel – by the end of the 1960s, the brand had debuted in Europe and Asia, reaching almost all four corners of the globe. From 1946 to 1970, Juan Trippe opened more than 60 hotels in 50 countries – at a time when the fastest transcontinental communication device was the telephone and the telegram.Source = InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts
Nikolina Angelkova, the Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria along with a delegation met Dr Mahesh Sharma, the Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism and Culture to discuss the issues of mutual cooperation for the promotion of Tourism sector in both the countries. Dr Sharma assured the visiting Minister of the cooperation of his Ministry in strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries and said that all possibilities would be explored for promoting tourism.India Tourism had conducted a seminar for travel agents in Sofia, Bulgaria in November 2014 which was attended by 69 Travel Agents. Lack of direct air connectivity between India and Bulgaria is one of the major reasons behind the small number of tourists travelling between the two countries. Tour operators and Travel Agents of both the countries may interact with each other in order to promote two-way tourism between India and Bulgaria.
Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) have signed a landmark agreement that sees the airline become the official airline partner of ADGM. According to the agreement, both will play ambassadors of Abu Dhabi and deliver on Abu Dhabi’s vision as a world-leading business, tourism, and cultural destination.The agreement was signed in the presence of H E Ahmed Al Sayegh, Chairman of ADGM, by the Chief Executive Officer of ADGM’s Registration Authority, Dhaher M Bin Dhaher Almheiri, and Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, Peter Baumgartner.The partnership involves in-depth cooperation for commercial development and destination marketing that will drive business for organisations, as well as providing ADGM members with privileged access to Etihad Airways and its partner airlines, including unique benefits across the combined network.“It’s an honour to be the official airline partner of Abu Dhabi Global Market, a key pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030. We are proud to be associated with an organisation that is a major catalyst for the growth of the financial services sector and international commerce in Abu Dhabi and across the UAE. Our travel companies, Hala Travel Management (HTM) and Hala Abu Dhabi will also be key players in the partnership, providing professional travel management services to ADGM’s growing business community as well as promoting the Emirate and all it has to offer,” said Baumgartner.Almheiri said, “At ADGM, we strive to work closely with all stakeholders to provide our member institutions with best-in-class service. Etihad Airways, our national airline, complements these efforts with their offerings and service excellence. This strategic global partnership attests to how local entities can leverage each other’s natural synergies to support Abu Dhabi’s broader vision and commitment for the economy.”
Santorini is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast of Greece’s mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago that bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera.Source: Expedia
Indian travel consumers have been quick to leverage festivals and the Diwali offers, with Thomas Cook India witnessing some interesting trends in the bookings this festive season.Some of the key trends observed are,• A growth of over 36% company-wide, across domestic and international travel, has been witnessed by Thomas Cook India this festive season.• Last minute bookers have been the key drivers of Thomas Cook India’s growth, with about 60% of the customers having transacted between a 15-45 days window with only 15% travellers having booked their holidays more than 45 days prior to departure.• In international travels, short hauls have continued to be popular, with Thailand leading the way, closely followed by Sri Lanka, Singapore, Dubai, Maldives, Hong Kong-Macau. The company’s Sri Lanka ‘Ramayana Trails’ have seen a strong uptake due to the festive elements and heritage seeing apt sync for the Dussehra-Diwali period.• With IATA’s report highlighting a 23.2% increase in the domestic aviation market in August, Thomas Cook India has witnessed a significant uptake for destinations favourites like Andaman, Kerala, Himachal and Bhutan.• The increased demand from Tier II and Tier III markets has played a significant role in the festive growth at Thomas Cook India, followed by mini metros like Pune, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, and Hyderabad. Destinations such as Himachal, Bhutan and Nepal witnessed the highest demand from the South market, whereas West and North markets showed a significant growth of over 40% to Andaman. West and South markets contributed about 65% making it the key source market for Thomas Cook India’s growth in travel in this festive season.Commenting on the festive season, Rajeev D Kale, President & Chief Operating Officer – MICE, Domestic & Sports Tourism, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd said, “Spurred by a burgeoning economy that has vastly improved their spending power coupled with declining airfares, Indians have emerged as the newest globetrotters. Leveraging the festive season and the Indian consumer’s strong hunger for vacations, our teams at Thomas Cook India had designed special packages at exciting price points to enable Indian travellers to celebrate their favourite festival at dream destinations- with their loved ones.”
Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) has rolled out new tenders inviting bids for comprehensive management of cleanliness along beach stretches of North and South Goa.Dilip Parulekar, Minister of Tourism, Government of Goa, said, “The present arrangement with Drishti to lift garbage is a temporary one and it will remain in force, until a new agency is selected.”The government has set a deadline of three months to engage a new contractor, after completing the tendering process. In the new tender, the scope of work is reduced, and the contractor’s role will be limited to collecting waste and transporting it to Saligao treatment plant, besides installing waste bins on beaches. The element of mechanised cleaning won’t be part of the contract as an attempt to engage in mechanised means was well received in the past.
Shipping Ministry has identified five cruise circuits each for international, domestic and river that can be developed immediately. This plays an integral part of the government’s ambitious Rs 12 lakh crore Sagarmala project.The initial circuits would be India-Sri Lanka-Maldives-Seychelles, India-Dubai, India-Singapore and India-Maldives as confirmed by the government officials.Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, India, said that Mumbai alone will witness 100 cruises, while Goa, Mangalore and Cochin will witness 60 and Chennai 11. Gadkari added, “We brought several reforms and will take more to promote Cruise Tourism even in major rivers such as Ganga. Under Sagarmala, we will pump around Rs 8 lakh crore for developing industrial clusters and another Rs 4 lakh crore for port-rail and port-road connectivity, mechanisation and modernisation of ports.”“More than 100 cruise ships usually reach five major Indian ports every year, but they stop here to board and de-board passengers. Our target is to ensure they spend more time here and passengers visit cities, which will push local economic activities,” said a Shipping Ministry official.
Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) has signed a MoU with MakeMyTrip to promote tourism mainly its homestay scheme. The travel company would promote and help in implementing the State-run MPSTDC’s scheme for tourists. The MoU was signed between Jamon Mathew, General Manager, MPSTDC and Swapnil Vats of MakeMyTrip.An official claimed there has been a good response to the programme up to now saying, “So far, 82 people have registered themselves under the home-stay scheme. The highest number of them, 26 is in Indore followed by Bhopal at 13.”Among others, nine each have registered themselves in Ujjain and Pachmarhi, five in Amarkantak and four each in Jabalpur, Gwalior and Balaghat. The scheme is meant for the owners of apartments/ bungalows/ cottages at the places of tourist interests.
Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Census Bureau Confidence Home Sales Homebuilders Housing Permits Housing Starts Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers Mark Lieberman National Association of Home Builders Service Providers 2013-09-18 Mark Lieberman Led by the strongest gain for single-family construction this, year, the pace of housing starts edged up 0.9 percent in August, the “”Census Bureau and HUD””:http://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/pdf/newresconst_201308.pdf reported Wednesday. [IMAGE]Total housing permits, though, declined 3.8 percent despite a surge in filings for single-family homes.Builders broke ground in August on new homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 891,000–up from a revised 883,000 in July–and filed for permits at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 918,000, down from 954,000 in July. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the report to show a rate of 915,000 starts and 950,000 permits.The rate of housing permits for July was revised up to 954,000 from the originally reported 943,000, and the pace of July housing starts was revised down to 883,000 from the originally reported 896,000.According to the report, builders completed homes at the rate of 769,000 homes in August, up slightly from 767,000 pace in July. The July completion rate was revised down from the originally reported 774,000.Permits for single-family homes represented 68.3 percent of all permit activity in August, the highest share since September 2011. By the numbers, the rate of single-family permits issued in August (627,000) was the strongest since May 2008.The rise in single-family starts was the third month-over-month gain in the last four months. Single-family starts represented 70.5 percent of all starts, the second highest share in the last year. Single-family starts were 71.7 percent of all starts in August 2012 and 72.5 percent two months ago in June.The gain in single-family starts overwhelmed the drop in multifamily activity. The rate of starts for multifamily homes fell 33,000 in August to 263,000, an 11.1 percent decline. The pace of multifamily permits dropped 54,000, or 15.7 percent, in August to 291,000.The gain in both single-family permits and starts came amid signs of improving builder confidence. According to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI), builder confidence in August was 58 (on 100 point scale), its highest level since November 2005. The index for September, “”reported Tuesday””:https://themreport.com/articles/builder-confidence-stumbles-in-september-on-weaker-outlook-2013-09-17, was unchanged at 58, the first time since April the index has not shown a monthly improvement.Despite the month-over-month improvement in single-family activity in August, the longer-term trend continues to shift to multifamily housing. Single-family starts have averaged about 67.6 percent of all starts in the last 12 month, down from 69.3 percent in 12 months ending August 2012 and 74.7 percent in the previous 12 months.In the last 12 months, the average single-family permits averaged 63.8 percent of total permits, down slightly from 64.1 percent in the 12 months ending August 2012 and 69.7 percent in the 12 months ending August 2011In July, according to a separate Census/HUD report, new home sales totaled 394,000, 176,000 fewer than the 570,000 completions that month. New home sales for August will be reported next week.The pace of total starts rose in August in only one of the four Census regions, improving by 47,000 in the South to 439,000 from 392,000 in July. Builder confidence in the South, according to NAHB’s HMI, rose in August to its highest level since April 2006.The rate of total starts fell 25,000 in the West to 204,000, dropped 9,000 in the Northeast to 101,000, and slipped 5,000 in the Midwest to 147,000–despite record high builder confidence in that region.Single-family starts rose in all regions, led by a gain of 22,000 in the West to a seasonally adjusted pace of 148,000. In each of the South and the Midwest, the rate of single-family starts rose 7,000 to 317,000 and 106,000, respectively, and in the Northeast, the pace went up 5,000 to 57,000.The annualized rate of all permits plunged 46,000 in the South to 413,000 in August and fell also in the West, dropping 9,000 to 219,000. The rate of permit filings for all homes rose 12,000 in the Northeast to 125,000 and improved 7,000 in the Midwest to 161,000.The pace of permits for single-family homes rose in three of the four regions, led by a gain of 8,000 in the South to 330,000. The rate of permit filings improved 7,000 in the West to 140,000 and 3,000 in the Midwest to 107,000. The pace of single-family permit filings in the Northeast was unchanged in August at 50,000._Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:20 a.m. Eastern._ Single-Family Permits, Starts Up in August September 18, 2013 424 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing
Competition to Decline as Year Progresses Home buying competition rose over the month of January but was down from last January, according to national real estate brokerage Redfin, which took the year-over-year decline as a sign that low inventory and rising prices are thwarting demand in the housing market.About 58 percent of home offers by Redfin agents encountered a competing offer in January compared to nearly 53 percent in December. Competition increased in all 22 markets in which Redfin has a presence. However, the rate is still down significantly from the 70 percent recorded in January 2013.While Redfin anticipates competition will be “a prominent fixture” in the housing market in the short-run, the brokerage expects declining demand and rising inventory to keep competition at bay later in the year. Rising prices prevent many home shoppers from feeling that they are “getting a deal,” according to Redfin, and low inventory is discouraging to some shoppers as well.The average home sold in January sold for 0.9 percent lower than the asking price, according to Redfin. Just two of the 22 markets observed reported the average home selling for more than the asking price: San Jose, California, and San Francisco, California, where about half of homes sold for more than the asking price. The average home in San Jose sold for 2.9 percent above its asking price, while the average home in San Francisco sold for 2.1 percent above its asking price. Asking Prices Demand Home Prices Redfin 2014-02-20 Krista Franks Brock in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News February 20, 2014 453 Views Share
December 10, 2014 439 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Homeowners, Appraisers Come Closer on Value Estimates Appraisals Home Values Quicken Loans 2014-12-10 Tory Barringer Homeowners and appraisers are slowly starting to get on the same page when it comes to measuring home values, a new gauge shows.Quicken Loans’ Home Price Perception Index, a measure of the gap between appraiser and homeowner opinions of home values, shows appraisers’ home value estimates were on average 1.56 percent higher than homeowners nationally.”Mortgage financing often hinges on whether the appraised value coincides with the home values agreed upon by the homebuyer and seller in the case of a home purchase, and the homeowner’s estimate value in the case of a refinance,” said Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans. “It is reassuring to see the gap between appraiser opinions and homeowner opinions narrow, and if we had to choose a side of the fence, it makes for a much smoother mortgage process if appraisers are valuing homes above homeowners’ estimates like we’re seeing, as compared to the opposite.”While November’s index represents a slightly smaller gap than in October, when appraiser opinions were 1.58 percent higher than homeowners’ estimates, it was wider than a year ago, when the difference was 1.34 percent and widening.According to Quicken’s survey, appraiser opinions were higher than homeowner estimates in nearly three-quarters of markets analyzed, with differences ranging as high as 6.0 percent in areas like San Jose. On the other side, in Kansas City, homeowners actually valued their homes 2.53 percent higher than appraisal professionals.Quicken also reported a 0.27 percent monthly increase in its Home Value Index for November, a drop-off of nearly 90 percent from October’s monthly gain. The index is based solely on appraisal data.Regionally, values saw slight gains in the South (+0.17 percent), Midwest (+0.42 percent), and Northeast (+1.23 percent). Home values in the West were down 0.19 percent for the month.”The great differences in home value changes across the country show just how localized housing markets really are,” Walters said. “The housing market is mending at a national level, but the recovery in some areas is moving more swiftly and others have been lagging. Homebuyers and sellers can make better financial decisions by educating themselves about their local housing markets.” Share
October 1, 2015 488 Views in Headlines, News, Technology PHH Mortgage Selects DocMagic to Further Enhance TRID Compliance Compliance DocMagic PHH Mortgage SmartCLOSE TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule 2015-10-01 Staff Writer Share DocMagic, a provider of fully-compliant loan document preparation, compliance, eSign and eDelivery solutions, recently announced that PHH Mortgage has signed a multi-year lease to use its products to further enhance TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule compliance capabilities.TRID goes into effect October 3, 2015.This agreement will help lenders comply with TRID requirements and utilize the SmartCLOSE portal for settlement providers and other parties to collaborate efficiently, compliantly, and cost effectively.“We have worked closely with DocMagic for the last year to thoroughly evaluate, test and integrate their technology and compliance solutions, and we will use various components to ensure we are TRID compliant,” said Eric Sadow, chief compliance and fair lending officer. “We are confident that our use of the DocMagic technology and compliance solutions will meet our needs and the needs of our clients, regulators, investors, partners and borrowers.”PHH, its clients, and their borrowers can easily access DocMagic’s eSign/eDelivery technology that enables the electronic delivery of TRID documents and the electronic viewing of closing disclosures and related documentation.DocMagic’s Audit Engine electronically tracks and logs transactions touched by all parties working with its Compliance Engine as well as its SmartCLOSE portal, while continuously comparing the initial Loan Estimate against the final Closing Disclosure to ensure RESPA compliance throughout the process.“For a lender with the size and reputation of PHH to select DocMagic to comply with TRID, speaks volumes about how sophisticated and scalable our solution really is,” said Dominic Iannitti, president and CEO of DocMagic.DocMagic has developed SmartCLOSE, which can integrate with loan origination systems for seamless, bi-directional exchange of data and related information. Additionally, it will integrate with all leading settlement technology platforms and other third party applications used in the loan closing process to allow all relevant parties to share, validate, audit, track and collaborate on documents, data and fees in a secure, collaborative environment.“We have designed SmartCLOSE to be the most advanced and effective TRID solution in the industry,” Iannitti said. “That is why we can rep and warrant all documents and calculations generated in SmartCLOSE with a TRID Compliance Guarantee.”
The U.S. imported soft citrus market pipeline now appears to be filled following a period of undersupply, according to Capespan North America CEO Mark Greenberg. The market has seen high prices for the category for several weeks on the back of an early end to the California deal and a slightly later start to Chile’s citrus season.As well as rising volumes of South American fruit over recent weeks, week 24 saw the first arrival of large volumes of South African easy peelers.”With substantial easy peeler volumes having arrived on the USEC from Chile in Weeks 22 and 23, complemented by Peruvian arrivals, the imported soft citrus pipeline appears to be filled and, for the first time this season, there is some fruit available for trading and spot sales,” Greenberg said in a market report. Blueberries in Charts: Finding opportunities in th … He said that in week 23 the East Coast was enjoying a stable US$36-38 price level for transactional sales for standard sizes in a 10 x 3 pound bag, stepping down slightly the following week. Program prices are running lower at US$34-36, he said.But he explained that increased arrivals were not the only factor affecting soft citrus prices.”The moderating price level is also a function of the start of the summer season with tree fruit, table grapes, watermelons and berries from California, and cherries from Washington, grabbing increased retail shelf space and consumer attention,” he said.He added that while the company doesn’t expect to see an East Coast market meltdown for easy peelers, the reality of the increased competition for summer citrus on grocery shelves comes every July.”With easy peeler arrivals expected to continue from Chile, Peru, South Africa and Uruguay, with imported navels about to make their debut, and with summer fruit only just getting started, the transactional market for easy peelers could well soften to US$34–36 by the end of Week 26,” he said.www.freshfruitportal.com Chile: Fruit exports contract in H1 as leading com … You might also be interested in June 26 , 2018 Chile scores access to Chinese pear market … Chilean fruit exports to Latin America soar in 201 …
Regal Hotels International (RHI) will open a regional sales office in Sydney tomorrow, to cater for the rapid growth in travel between Australia and greater China, with the aim of expanding the Australian and New Zealand market share for Regal in Hong Kong and China.The office will create new business, more tour programs, and group travel itineraries, using the comprehensive network of the Regal Hotels International.RHI management sees the increasing number of flights between Australia and several major Chinese cities as a great opportunity to introduce its hotels to a rapidly growing market.RHI has appointed Charmaine Wong as business development manager. Wong has 20 years experience in the outbound travel industry.She will be supported and assisted by Randall Lui, a veteran in the Australian tourism industry for more than 30 years.Lui will continue to operate his RM Asia Pacific hotel marketing company in Hong Kong for the Trump Collections and other global brands.Image: Regal Hong Kong at Causeway Bay Regal Hotels
From 2 December 2017 Qatar Airways will resume daily flights between Adelaide and Doha.Making the announcement, senior manager at Qatar Airways Australasia Adam Radwanski said:“Qatar Airways presence in Australia was very much strengthened in 2016 and Adelaide passengers have welcomed us with open arms since our inaugural flight in May 2016. We are delighted to be resuming daily flights on the Adelaide-Doha route this December, providing consumers more opportunities to enjoy our award-winning service onboard the state-of-the-art A350 aircraft.”Passengers flying from Adelaide onwards to any of the more than 150 destinations, including 40 European destinations operated by Qatar Airways, can enjoy a quick and convenient transfer at Hamad International Airport, featuring more than 100 retail and dining options and unique services such as a swimming pool, hotel and spa.In addition, business class passengers travelling onward to popular destinations such as London and Paris will soon have the chance to experience Qatar Airways’ revolutionary QSuite, featuring the industry’s first double bed available in business class. The new seat design onboard the B777-300 aircraft features privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room. Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the centre four seats allow passengers travelling together to transform their space into a private suite, giving them the opportunity to work, dine and socialise together.Doha – Adelaide Flight Schedule, daily from 2 December 2017Doha (DOH) to Adelaide (ADL) QR914 departs 21:10 arrives 17:45 (+1)Adelaide (ADL) to Doha (DOH) QR915 departs 22:45 arrives 05:05 (+1)IMAGE: Qatar Airways Airbus A350 AdelaideQatar Airways
CubaHavanaluxuryRegent Seven Seas Regent Seven Seas Cruises has added Cuba calls to six itineraries in its 2018-19 Caribbean season. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the only North American luxury cruise line approved to visit Cuba.Travellers can visit Havana on select itineraries aboard Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Navigator, which depart Miami from October 2018 through March 2019. As part of the Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ most-inclusive luxury experience, guests have a wide selection of expertly crafted shore excursions, offering an authentic Cuban experience that explores the people, music, art, history and culture of the city and are in compliance with the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) regulations. To provide guests with even greater insights into Cuba and its people, guest scholars and expert lecturers will deliver compelling presentations about Cuba’s past, present and future.
Indonesia really is in line with this year’s ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF18) theme ‘ASEAN – Sustainable Connectivity, Boundless Prosperity’, which aims to use tourism to create the economic and social opportunities for ASEAN nations, leading to reduction of development gap between all member countries.And in terms of prosperity, Indonesia is leading the way, proving to be one of the fastest growing travel destinations in the world. Based on tourist arrivals statistic from January to November 2017, the number of international visitors to Indonesia reached 12.6 million, around 22% increase compared to the same period in 2016, or three times compared to the growth in the ASEAN region and the rest of the world.This has been achieved by the Indonesian Tourism Ministry with an award-winning branding campaign, destination development, and tourism human resources development.The ministry is developing top 10 priority tourism destinations (Lake Toba, Tanjung Kelayang, Borobudur Temple, Wakatobi Island, Morotai Island, Tanjung Lesung, Thousand Island and Old Town, Mt. Bromo-Tengger- Semeru, Mandalika, and Labuan Bajo), investing in tourism infrastructure and increasing air connectivity.And as tourism is about people, investing in tourism human resources is vital. In 2017, Indonesia Tourism Ministry reached its target of training and certifying 65,000 tourism professionals and operators.Looking ahead to 2018, Indonesia will “GO DIGITAL” not only in its marketing efforts, but also with increased online booking facilities – with the development of a platform that is accessible even for smaller, regional operators.The Ministry’s strategy for 2018, Visit Wonderful Indonesia 2018 (ViWi 2018) incorporates three elements (Attraction, Amenity, and Accessibility) with the development tourism products including ‘Hot Deals!’ packages, a comprehensive Calendar of Events (Color of Indonesia) and ‘Digital Destination’ packages, available online, at www.indonesia.travel and www.bookingina.com.The Calendar of Event package (Color of Indonesia) is a bundling package with an event ticket component. Flagship events include; The 18th ASIAN Games in Jakarta and Palembang by August 2018 and the IMF-WBG Annual Meeting by October 2018 in Bali.The Digital Destination packages are to be experience-based packages, with regional destinations being encouraged to be more creative in thinking and creating object images that are “instagram-able”. Several digital destinations are on offer, including the Pancingan Market – Lombok, Mangrove Market – Batam, Riau Islands, Karetan Market – Kendal, Semarang, Siti Nurbaya Market – Padang, Tahura Market – Lampung, Skyfoot Market – Yogyakarta, and Baba Boen Tjit Market Palembang.For more information, please visit: http: www.indonesia.travel