Qatar Airways B777 Economy Class 3-3-3 <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/1627e/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=132&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=ada84479″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO with Tim Holding, Victorian Minister of Tourism Qatar Airways Boeing 777-200LR Our planes will always be youngQatar Airways currently flies with a fleet of 75 aircraft and with a new plane, or more, delivered every month, it will look to achieving a fleet of 120 aircraft by the 2013.“We have more than 220 aircraft worth US$40 billion on order,” Mr Al Baker states.“Qatar Airways will never keep an aircraft more than five years old in our fleet, we will always replace those aircraft with more fuel efficient, state-of-the-art airplanes.”For the new Melbourne service, the Boeing 777-200LR placed on the route is roughly four weeks old. And when the airline moves to increase services to dailies, it will be with a new B777.Sydney’s expansion will come with a new Boeing 777-200LR as well. Qatar Airways has launched its inaugural services between Doha and Melbourne, and while it has pencilled in services to Sydney in 2010, it won’t rush until it’s firmly established in Victoria.In Australia this week to promote the services, Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, says that Melbourne was its city of choice to launch its Australian operations, and will look forward to increasing the triple weekly services into dailies by the new year. “Melbourne was where I wanted to go first when [Qatar] launched to Australia, although your competing city tried to convince me with a lot of goodies and incentives to go there first,” said Mr Al Baker.“Many airlines are coming here, and I know many will come, because I know within the next two decades [Melbourne] will be larger than your competing city [Sydney].”Affirming its commitment to the city, Qatar Airways has already shifted its regional offices from Tokyo to Melbourne, and has recently completed a new recruitment drive for more staff.Mr Al Baker confirmed that Sydney was still on the agenda, “Yes we will go there… [But] we will only decide to go there once we have firmly established our presence in this market.”In the next four months Qatar Airways is expected to confirm four to five new destinations. Already this year it has launched services to Houston, Amritsar and Goa.“I know Qantas will be displeased… because as usual people are afraid of competition.”Focus on quality but it’ll cost youUnlike other carriers, Mr Al Baker is upfront about charging travellers more for its products, but substantiates this by saying that the Qatar Airways product is newer and of a higher quality than its competitors.“Have your chequebooks ready and start queuing at your travel agent,” he remarks half-jokingly of the carrier’s new services.“We are very clever in how we operate and how we deploy our capacity, and people who are excited about Qatar Airways I’d like to warn you – don’t expect to travel cheap on my airplane. Our prices out of Melbourne are substantially higher than our competition.”Qatar Airways justifies its prices with the quality of its product, even in Economy Class. Featuring uniquely designed seats which offer 34″ pitch and 37″ of legroom, the Boeing 777-200LRs are configured in a 3-3-3 pattern seating 217 in Economy.Business Class is also exceptional, and Mr al Baker is quick to point out that their seats are “two inches wider and four inches longer than our major competitor… so if you’re six foot tall you won’t need to curl your feet”.Both classes feature state of the art individual entertainment units including 17″ touch screen televisions, and if you’re lucky enough to be in Business Class, your seat also comes with a mouse “so you won’t have to keep bending over”. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X
<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/280c7/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X Asia Pacific can count on three years of steady growth, with a regional association forecasting that regionally an average of 2.7% growth in international travellers can be expected.These forecasts are much lower than the pre-GFC forecasts of 7% growth each year, but intra-regionally some areas like Southeast Asia and South Asia are expected to perform better.“These latest authoritative forecasts from PATA reflect the reality of the current market conditions. They point to a gradual and uneven recovery as the region picks itself up from the three percent decline in arrivals in 2009,” said Phornsiri Manoharn, PATA Chairman.“We have witnessed significant changes in travel trends during the global economic recession. These changes have brought benefits to some and caused difficulties for others and it is clear that the next three years will prove to be both challenging and increasingly competitive for all our members.”Intra-regionally, Southeast Asia is expected to grow arrivals by 4.8% while South Asia is expected to grow its international arrivals by 4.9% per year up until 2012.Meanwhile other regions will perform lower than the Asia Pacific average, with North America expected to increase international arrivals by 1.7% per year up until 2012.Northeast Asia can look towards a rate of 2.2% growth each year, while the Pacific can look towards a rate of 4.0% growth.
New Zealand Minister of Transport Steven Joyce has approved the trans-Tasman alliance between Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue.The approval from New Zealand handed down today in addition to recent consent from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission means the airline will be able to “implement the alliance and deliver benefits to customers”.“The Minister has recognised the benefits and value created for consumers by the alliance,” Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe said. “Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue will now form a team to ensure we move ahead quickly with bringing the alliance to life over the coming months.“We look forward to being able to connect our customers between all Australian cities served by Virgin Blue and all towns and cities where we operate in New Zealand.” Mr Joyce said the route would raise competition in the region as well as increase customers benefits, TVNZ reported.“Travellers will benefit from a wider range of travel options and improved range of departure times, and the continuation of competitive fares,” he said. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
Emphasising the need for agents to ensure their online presence is strong, a new study has found Australians are increasingly booking holidays while on the road.Research conducted by PayPal found Australia is one of the company’s leading markets in regards to mobile payments, particularly in travel, with mobile payment volume for Australian travel merchants growing 16-fold in 2012 compared to 2011.The number of Australians purchasing travel via PayPal nearly doubled year-on-year while one out of every five consumers booking travel via PayPal is now made through a mobile device.A PayPal spokesperson said over the past two years more traditional travel companies have helped pave the way for online bookings, by moving more business models and content online.“Over the past twelve months, we’ve seen Australian companies take the next step by investing in enhanced mobile sites and apps for their travelling customers,” the spokesperson explained.Meanwhile, a Roy Morgan Tracking Survey found earlier this year, although more international bookings are being made online, travel agencies are able to maintain their brand strength and relevance through “developing a strong web presence”.Click here for more information.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Mobile bookings growing across Aus.
Las Vegas has retained its title as the penultimate trade show destination in the United States.For the 19th consecutive year Las Vegas, Nevada was named Trade Show News Network’s (TSNN) top trade show destination, hosting 53 of the country’s largest events.The two closest competitors were Orlando hosting 27 and Chicago with 20.“The success of Las Vegas is a testament to our ability to provide exceptional customer service and more value for the experience than any other destination,” Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority president and chief executive Rossi Ralenkotter said.Last year Las Vegas held almost 22,000 meetings, hosting 4.9 million delegates, returning US$6.7 billion to the local economy and supporting close to 57,000 jobs.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T. Nineteen years on top for Vegas trade shows.
Source = German National Tourist Board Sixth record-breaking result for German incoming in a rowFor the year 2015, German incoming tourism is heading for the 80 million mark according to the latest information from the Federal Statistical Office.In the year the volume of international overnights in accommodation properties of at least 10 beds grew to 74.2 million overnights through November, an increase of 5.6 percent compared with the same period in 2014.Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), illustrates the numbers at hand: “Even compared with other European destination, Germany’s incoming numbers scored an above average result. According to the latest estimates by Eurostat, the number of international overnights in EU countries will grow by an average of 3.5 percent. With our prognosis of 5.7 percent, we are well above this value and also rank above all other big tourism destinations.”Over-proportionate growth from the overseas marketsWith a growth of 11.1 percent through the end of November, the international source markets confirm their role as growth engines for German incoming tourism. Despite the current economic and currency risks in some high potential markets, overnight stays from China, for example, were 26.1 percent higher year-over-year. The Australian market is showing an increase of 3.2 percent year-over-year growth with 687.976 overnight stays between Jan-Nov 2015.Robust European source marketsAll important European source markets for Germany’s incoming tourism scored higher results through the end of November than during the same period the previous year. Ranked in first place are the Netherland with an increase of 1.9 percent; with Switzerland recording significant growth (+8.6 percent) in second place. The United Kingdom recorded 7.6 percent more overnights. The biggest winner in the Top 10 markets is Spain with an increase of 23.2 percent, while the biggest loser amongst the European source markets is Russia – a decline in overnights of 29.7 percent puts the country back to its 2011 levels.Cautious optimism for 2016Some uncertainty informs the start to 2016. “Destination Germany, as an internationally popular brand with its outstanding infrastructure and excellent value-for- money offerings is predestined to continue its growth history in the international competition in a sustainable manner. However, economic uncertainties in many markets and the threat of terrorism attacks dampen the wanderlust. Furthermore, negative impacts of the refugee situation are recorded in some source markets. Therefore, we believe that a growth rate of one to three percent is realistic for 2016,“ states Petra Hedorfer about the current growth forecast. German National Tourist Board
AIME announces new initiatives to elevate 2018 programThe Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) has announced revitalised features and new initiatives including a refreshed Hosted Buyer Program, additional trade buyer flexibility, new floorplan and unprecedented networking opportunities for the 2018 show to be held on 20 – 21 February in Melbourne.Next year, AIME will celebrate its 26th year of bringing together suppliers and buyers under one roof to conduct business meetings, network and learn from industry experts.Overseeing the show for the third time, Ian Wainwright, Event Director of AIME, Reed Travel Exhibitions, said his team have been working closely with the show owners Melbourne Convention Bureau to design and deliver a truly stand-out AIME in 2018.“After reviewing all exhibitor feedback and meeting one-on-one with exhibitors to discuss what’s really needed to enhance business during AIME; one theme became apparent – exhibitors were asking for better opportunities to connect with quality buyers in the Hosted Buyer Program. AIME 2018 is taking action to see these requests are met.“In 2017, we attracted buying power of over $1.2 billion, this year we aim to exceed that. For the first time, we are implementing a new Hosted Buyer Acquisition Scheme, taking a targeted approach to finding high-quality invitation onlycandidates, who meet a series of criteria, driving new fresh buyers to the show,” said Mr Wainwright.AIME 2018 will see the creation of a new show floor layout and introduce many exciting feature areas, including an all new location for the AIME Knowledge Village, an invigorated Hosted Buyer Lounge and a unique restaurant offering that will provide extended space to allow for greater interactions during breaks. A reimagined welcome entrance greets attendees as they first walk through the show doors, along with an interactive “AIME First Timers” area for new exhibitors to join the AIME community with an all-inclusive package.This will create a more streamlined and centralised flow throughout to encourage better networking and business connections. Other new initiatives include:Earlier opening times – now open from 9amTrade Buyer flexibility allowing bookings and appointments without attending the full Hosted Buyer ProgramFresh interactive educational offerings with thought leading content, complimentary for all to attendLooking ahead to February, AIME has already secured some leading national and international exhibitors, including Japan National Tourism Organization, Hawaii Tourism Oceania, ICC Sydney, P&O Cruises, TFE Hotels and Stamford Hotels and Resorts, with many more in the works.“One thing is certain, AIME is integral to doing business within the Asia Pacific region. An industry staple, that will continue to flourish in the future and 2018 will be no different,” concluded Mr Wainwright.AIME 2018 is where meeting planners and buyers join exhibitors for an exclusive opportunity to hold one-to-one meetings and access quality education and networking events, it will be held from 20 – 21 February at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.Source = AIME
Recommendations regarding the Royal Cremation for the late King Bhumibol AdulyadejThe Royal Cremation Ceremony for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej is scheduled for 25-29 October, 2017. Thursday, 26 October, will be the Royal Cremation Day, and it has been declared a public holiday in Thailand by the Royal Thai Government to allow the people to take part in paying a final tribute to the late King.The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide the following recommendations to visitors to Thailand during this historic period.The world is welcome to visit Thailand during this historic period. Visitors to the kingdom at this time will get to see the great love and reverence that the Thai people have for their beloved King in the way they mourn and pay their tribute.During this time, Thailand is thankful for our friends coming to share their sadness and pass on their condolences. This gesture of empathy and friendship will be remembered by the people of Thailand for decades to come.Tourist attractions and public places should all be open as usual. All transport, banks, shopping areas, hospitals and other public services will be operating as usual, with the exception of:Bangkok’s Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha will be closed from 1-29 October, 2017.The Arts of the Kingdom Museum has been closed from 1 October, 2017, for renovations to the Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall of Dusit Palace in Bangkok. The Arts of the Kingdom exhibition will be moved for temporary display from February 2018 to the SUPPORT Centre at Ko Kerd, Ayutthaya.The Sanam Chandra Palace in Nakhon Pathom is also closed for renovations from 1 October.All Tesco Lotus outlets nationwide will be closed for half a day, from 14.00 Hrs. on 26 October, and will reopen on 27 October.All Major Cineplex Group’s cinemas nationwide will be closed for one day on 26 October, and will reopen on 27 OctoberSiam Niramit in Bangkok and Phuket will be closed on 26 October.Both Dream World and Safari World theme parks in Bangkok will be closed on 26 October.In Chonburi, tourist attractions that will be closed for one day on 26 October, 2017, have included Burapha University’s Eastern Center of Art and Culture; Alcazar Carbaret, Tiffany’s and KAAN Shows; Tuxedo Illusion Hall; Space Inspirium; Flight of the Gibbon and Lazgam.Many Thai people will be wearing black clothes as a sign of mourning. This is not required of visitors, but if possible, they should wear respectful clothing when in public.We understand that this should not be a problem as long as visitors wear appropriate attire and behave respectfully. Once again, the world is welcome to Thailand during this historic period, and Thailand is thankful for our friends coming to share their sadness and pass on their condolences.Some of the traditional festivals may be taking place as usual although the celebrations may be omitted or subdued as a mark of respect, or the events may be dedicated to the memory of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Some festivals could be cancelled if it is felt they are not appropriate with the public mood.Entertainment venues may be closed and certain entertainment events and activities may be cancelled or omitted, or subdued as deemed appropriate, as a mark of respect. Visitors are advised to check local media regularly for announcements and updates.We would like to ask visitors for their understanding that this is a sensitive time for Thailand, and they should respect the feelings and sensitivities of the Thai people.We also would like to request that the solemnity of the Royal Cremation is observed, and visitors should refrain from conducting any inappropriate or disrespectful behaviour.During the historic period, in some areas, transportation could be affected. We ask tourists and visitors for their understanding and patience should they experience delays or some routes may be closed to traffic.In order to facilitate the travel of people who wish to attend the Royal Cremation, many public transport operators including city trains, buses and boats, provincial buses and trains, will be offering free or more services on 25 to 27 October as per the following:Airport Rail Link offers free services from 25- 27 October.The BTS SkyTrain offers free services on 26 October. On 25 and 27 October, the free services will apply only on the extensions from On Nut to Samrong Station and from Wongwian Yai to Bang Wa Stations.The MRT Subway offers free services on 26 October. On 25 and 27 October, free services will apply only on the Purple Line.The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) offers free services on 25-27 October on the Sathon-Ratchaphruek route.The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority has scheduled more public buses. It will also offer shuttle buses on 32 routes to Sanam Luang.Boat services in Khlong Padueng Krung Kasem from Hua Lamphong to Thewarat Market and in Khlong Phasi Charoen from Phetchkasem Soi 69 to Pratunam Phasi Charoen will be free of charge during 25-27 October.Ferries crossing the Chao Phraya River from Phran Nok Pier to Tha Chang Pier will be free of charge. As Phra Chan Nuea, Maharaj, and the Tha Chang Piers will be temporarily closed, tourists are advised to use the ferries at the Pinklao Pier on the Bangkok side instead, as well as, Rajinee Pier instead of the Tha Tian Pier.On 26 October, the Chao Phraya Express Boat offers free boat services from Sathon Pier to Phran Nok Pier, and from Phran Nok Pier to Nonthaburi Pier. From 25-27 October, the express boat will not stop at Tha Phra Athit, Tha Chang, and Tha Rajinee Piers.The State Railway of Thailand has scheduled more train services to Bangkok.The Transport Company International has scheduled more bus services to Bangkok.The economic sector should continue even during this time, so the service levels should not be affected.Please visit: http://www.kingrama9.net/EN for more details on the Royal CremationCeremony.Visitors are also advised to check any local media regularly for the official announcements and updates from the local authorities.Source = Tourism Authority of Thailand
Check travel insurance – earthquakes in Lombok have taught us that if nothing else, you need to know your fine print. What constitutes “Europe” may be about to change.If in doubt – confirm and reconfirm – Travel cash flow is complex, banking charges will go up, hidden fees can sneak in, who knows, a bank or two may disappear…. Having a written record for your pax you have checked in advance shows good due diligence.Check visas – it should not affect Australians too much, in theory. But the balance of power and border points are going to change. More and more grumpy people will be going across borders, it will take longer, customs people are human and given enough annoying interactions and any fine detail scrutinised. Be safe, not sorryCurrency and cost – the pound has already dropped significantly, but nothing like the formalisation of a world changing order to impact further. It should mostly be good for Australians, but who knows. It could also be bargain hunting season if British travellers lose their appetite for going to Europe next summerMap out the escape routes – the worst-case scenarios have planes grounded, people swelling at borders, and a million tourists not being prepared to get out. Think about Bangkok riots, floods, Lombok, Bali, anything where a stack of people suddenly need to get into a country or out of one – got passwords and accounts active and ready to go for an obscure train journey and ferry ride to an airport?No matter how you look at it, Brexit’s impact will be felt for decades. Make sure it’s not your bank account and travel reputation that suffers.www.stuba.com learn more about stuba.com here Brexit and Travel dramasWhat is the predicted impact of Brexit on TravelNovember 2018 was an interesting time to be in the UK. The hundredth anniversary of the armistice of World War I, Remembrance Day. Once enemies, standing side-by-side, wearing the poppy in memory of the fallen. It was sombre, a reminder of the world that we live in and how change.But it’s all about Brexit. What follows is my super simple summary and why agents need to be prepared for the impact on travel.Survey sizeWho did I ask? People in the travel industry, aircraft engineers, martial artists, trendy musicians, stay-at-home mum’s, uncles, auntie’s, cousins, city dwellers, country folk, senior executives for multinationals and anyone in between. Most importantly, an equal proportion of levers and stayers, some of whom now would change their voteWhat did they sayEveryone has a different take, but it was pretty easy to find consistency. One is Theresa May is doing a terrible job on answering the unanswerable and she wanted to stay in the first place. Up until the last day, everyone thought the vote would happen, Brexit would fail, focus on the future. Clearly the news outlets of the biggest winners.Secondly, that it’s super complex. That there is no good deal because nobody understands all the parameters.Thirdly, almost everyone was influenced by a fake news story. The methods for pushing fake news as real news was so complex that the average punter had no choice but to believe what they kept reading. It’s the strongest real basis for a new vote.Simple realitiesIt’s either going to be a bad deal for the UK, or on March 31, there will be no deal. There’s a lot of pretending that nothing will change, the “momentum” of the UK is so large but the truth is, this is going to change everything for generations across all areas of life and travel.What do agents need to knowHere is my top five for agents to be thinking about when booking travel between February and June next year. Source = STUBA.com
An all-new, original outdoor musical theatre production, ‘Tale of the Lion King’, has debuted at Disney California Adventure Park. This new stage show celebrates the characters and music of Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ in an imaginative and unique way. The lead narrator, Mwongozo – Swahili for ‘guide’ — leads a troupe of 18 performers called the Storytellers of the Pride Lands in this adaptation, which is presented in a contemporary story-theatre style that retells the tale through language, song and dance.“The approach that we’ve taken with ‘Tale of the Lion King’ is that this is a story that was passed on from generation to generation and now it’s come here to Disney California Adventure Park,” said Susana Tubert, Creative Director, Disney Parks Live Entertainment. “The Storytellers of the Pride Lands have come to share this ancestral story of how a cub became a king.”Guests will dance and sing along to new musical arrangements of their favourite songs, including ‘Circle of Life’, ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ and ‘Hakuna Matata’ among others. The live drumming and singing, along with the set and costumes all celebrate the cultural roots of this beloved Disney story.For a limited time, ‘Tale of the Lion King’ will be performed several times daily at the Palisades Stage in Disney California Adventure.
Company experts at “”Nationwide Title Clearing, Inc.””:http://www.nwtc.com/ (NTC) revealed a trend showing an increase in documents recorded electronically in the nation’s Recorders’ Offices.[IMAGE] [COLUMN_BREAK] “”More than 840 jurisdictions are currently eRecording-enabled, and approximately 15 new jurisdictions become enabled every month,”” said NTC’s eRecording manager Brian Ernissee in a release. Ernissee further stated the volume of documents sent by NTC to record electronically has gone from 10 percent in May 2012 to over 40 percent in February 2013. “”With such positive growth, we expect the total volume of documents submitted electronically for recording to be well above 50% by May,”” he added. The eRecording service at NTC involves five steps: submit, receive, review, record and return. Through eRecording, processing land record and property documents can become more simple and efficient. According to NTC, eRecording has several benefits, such as allowing documents to be submitted any time, and the process is cost-effective and reduces paperwork since documents are scanned and submitted within minutes before getting returned electronically after recording.Based in Palm Harbor, Florida, NTC is a service provider to the mortgage and financial industry. Share March 26, 2013 433 Views NTC Reports Rise in Electronically Recorded Documents Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Nationwide Title Clearing Processing Service Providers 2013-03-26 Esther Cho in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology
As the United States’ neighboring countries lose their economic edge in the nation’s home market, analysts at Capital Economics suggest China might soon become the biggest foreign buyer of U.S. housing.In a report released earlier this week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found foreign purchases of U.S. real estate surged in the 12 months ending in March to $92.2 billion, an increase of 35 percent over the prior period.In a note to clients, Paul Diggle, property economist at Capital Economics, insisted that foreign contributions to the housing recovery remain marginal even with the increase.”Foreign buyers remain relatively peripheral to the housing recovery for a number of reasons,” Diggle wrote. “For Canadian and Mexican buyers … currency movements have compounded the impact of rising house prices, reducing the extent to which US housing looks undervalued.”Meanwhile, income growth in China has made U.S. housing a relatively cheap investment.From April 2013 through March 2014, Chinese buyers accounted for 16 percent of foreign home sales, up from 12 percent in 2013 and just 5 percent in 2009. In dollar volume, China’s share is higher, accounting for $22 billion—about 24 percent—of sales during that period.”Put another way, the value of homes bought by Chinese buyers in the US has increased from $1.2 [billion] to $7.5 [billion], or slightly more than 500 percent, over five years,” Diggle said.While that’s still only a small fraction of the more than $1 trillion in total home purchases over the past year, Diggle adds that the influence of Chinese buyers has climbed as high as 35 percent of all sales in California and a further 28 percent in Washington, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.That concentration extends even further in the market for single-family homes selling for more than $500,000 in suburban areas.Even with tightening monetary policy keeping foreign demand down in the near future, Diggle predicts Chinese buyers could outweigh Canadians as the largest source of foreign demand within five years should trends continue.”The strength of Chinese demand is another reason to watch closely developments in the Californian housing market, where housing is now no better than fairly valued at the State-wide level and starting to look frothy in a number of metros,” he concludes. Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News July 11, 2014 451 Views Capital Economics Investment Investors National Association of Realtors 2014-07-11 Tory Barringer China Set to Overtake Others in U.S. Homebuying
A strong revision to consumer spending helped push the economy to its fastest growth rate in more than a decade last quarter.According to a third reading released Tuesday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annualized rate of 5.0 percent in Q3, up from an earlier estimate of 3.9 percent and an estimate of 4.6 percent in the second quarter.It also marked the best growth rate for GDP since the third quarter of 2003, which saw the economy grow at a yearly rate of 6.9 percent.According to BEA, the latest quarterly estimate includes improved contributions from consumer spending, which is now estimated to have increased 3.2 percent compared to Q2’s 2.5 percent gain.Also improved in the third report was the contribution from nonresidential fixed investment, which increased 8.9 percent. Residential fixed investment—a measure of the housing market’s direct contribution to economic activity—increased just 3.2 percent.Despite the third quarter’s promising growth rate—which beat the 4.3 percent forecast by economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal—analysts don’t expect the economy will be able to maintain that momentum in the fourth quarter, even with lower gas prices fueling spending.”The central story of the third and fourth quarters remains intact with the torrid growth in the second and third quarters not continuing into fourth quarter, but also not being problematic for 2015,” said Doug Handler, chief U.S. economist for IHS, which predicts real GDP growth will come in between 2.2–2.4 percent for all of 2014. “In conjunction with other recent releases on the economy, our assessment for growth [in] 2015 will now be around 3.0 percent.” Bureau of Economic Analysis Consumer spending GDP IHS Global Insight 2014-12-23 Tory Barringer in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News Third-Quarter GDP Gets Major Upward Revision December 23, 2014 530 Views Share
April 29, 2015 492 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Pending Home Sales Up Over Last Month, Reach Highest Point in Two Years Pending home sales rose for the third straight month in March, and according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index, they’re at their highest point since June 2013.The index, an indicator of sales based on contract signings, was released this morning. It showed a 1.1 percent increase in pending sales for March and an 11.1 percent increase over the same time last year. This marks the third month in a row the sales have risen and the seventh year that pending sales numbers have improved.The Pending Home Sales Index was at its highest point in June 2013, coming in at 109.4. As of March, it has now reached 108.6, its peak since that time.The index also broke down pending home sales by region. While the South and West saw an increase of 4 percent and 1.7 percent for March, respectively, the Northeast and Midwest saw drops, decreasing by 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent.All regions were up over March 2014. The Northeast rose .6 percent, the Midwest was up 11.3 percent, the West jumped 15.6 percent, and the South increased 12.4 percent.As for explaining the ever-increasing sales, Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, attributes it to a competitive spring market and an improving number of long-term homeowners.“Demand appears to be stronger in several parts of the country, especially in metro areas that have seen solid job gains and firmer economic growth over the past year,” Yun said. “While contract activity being up convincingly compared to a year ago is certainly good news, the increased number of traditional buyers who appear to be replacing investors paying in cash is even better news. It indicates this year’s activity is being driven by more long-term homeowners.”Yun also said he expects sales to continue improving over the next few months, but that supply and rising prices could hinder them slightly.“Demand in many markets is far exceeding supply, and properties in March sold at a faster rate than any month since last summer,” he said. “This in turn has pushed home prices to unhealthy levels — nearly four or more times above the pace of wage growth in some parts of the country. Simply put, housing inventory for new and existing homes needs to improve measurably to improve affordability.”See the index at Realtor.org. Share Housing Market NAR National Association of Realtors Pending-Home Sales 2015-04-29 Seth Welborn
The House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday announced the passage of several bills aimed at supporting economic growth and increasing the accountability of financial regulators.The bills were directed at improving transparency and accountability of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), an agency created out of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The FSOC is responsible for designating certain banks and nonbank financial firms as systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs), therefore subjecting those firms to increased regulation.“Instead of ending ‘Too Big to Fail’ and taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailouts, the Dodd-Frank Act enshrines them into law,” Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said. “Dodd-Frank increases the power and control that largely unaccountable Washington bureaucrats have over our economy. The results have left hardworking taxpayers with fewer choices, higher costs and an anemic economy of shrinking paychecks. The reform bills approved by the committee today will help build a healthier economy for all Americans and put in place needed transparency, accountability and checks and balances on powerful bureaucracies.”H.R. 3340, also known as the Financial Stability Oversight Council Reform Act, was introduced by Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minnesota) in July and passed in the House Financial Services Committee this week by a vote of 33 to 24. The bill would make the FSOC and the Office of Financial Research (OFR) more accountable to taxpayers by subjecting the agencies to the Congressional Appropriations process. The bill also requires the OFR to provide a 90-day public notice and comment period before issuing any report, rule, or regulation and creates quarterly reporting requirements for the OFR.“Today was a win for American consumers,” Emmer said. “Now that we have moved this legislation through the Financial Services Committee, we are one step closer to returning the power of the purse back to Congress where it belongs. If made law, the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Office of Financial Research will no longer be able to determine their own budgets, instead the American people will have a say through their elected representatives and the congressional appropriations process. I believe in government transparency and the constitutional role of checks and balances, and this bill helps restore these critical principles.”H.R. 1550, the Financial Stability Oversight Council Improvement Act of 2015, was introduced in March by Reps. Dennis Ross (R-Florida) and John Delaney (D-Maryland). The bill increases transparency of the FSOC and provides institutions with the opportunity to eliminate risk instead of being designated systemically important, according to an announcement from the Committee. H.R. 1550 passed in the Committee by a 44 to 12 vote.Treasury’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for the FSOC, Patrick Pinschmidt, argued in an op-ed piece on CNBC earlier this week that the proposed changes to the Council “would heavily tip the scales back in Wall Street’s favor and leave our country vulnerable to another crisis. These changes would take the council’s methodical process and mire it in a series of protracted, bureaucratic steps that would require the council to spend as many as four years studying a company before it could take any action. Some of these proposals would also raise the standard for action by the council to a dangerously high threshold, all but ensuring inaction despite the risk to financial stability. While some argue that these proposals would improve the effectiveness of the FSOC, there should be no mistake: if enacted, these proposals would impede the council’s ability to respond to risks in the financial system.”Click here to see a complete list of bills that passed the Committee in markup. House Committee Passes Bills For Increased Accountability Among Financial Regulators Share Financial Regulators Financial Stability Oversight Council House Financial Services Committee 2015-11-04 Seth Welborn November 4, 2015 456 Views in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News
in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News June 29, 2016 640 Views Fewer millennials are living alone than in recent years, and the number has been dropping for a decade, according to according to a recent Zillow report on living trends among 23-to-34-year-olds.Across the U.S., almost 9 percent of millennials live alone, a number that’s been declining since 2005, likely due to unaffordable rents and rising home prices, Zillow reported. Consequently, millennials choose to live with their parents or find roommates.Zillow found that between 2000 and 2013, the number of millennials living with family increased 46 percent. Similarly, 21 percent of millennials across the U.S. are still living at home with, “proving that living with friends or family may be one of the ways to afford housing in some of the nation’s hottest markets,” the report stated.However, all is not even distribution. Some markets are seeing a definite rise in millennials moving out on their own. Richmond, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo have the highest percentages of millennials living on their own, 15, 14, and 14, respectively. Zillow credited Richmond’s strong labor market, where employment is up almost 4 percent over the past year, and relatively high incomes among millennials, averaging $49,500, as keys to their independence there.In Oklahoma City, 13 percent of millennials live on their own, with a median income of $40,000 a year. “At this salary, they are able to afford almost 22 percent of homes,” Zillow reported.In San Antonio, 10 percent of millennials live alone, but the average millennial salary of $48,000 allows them to afford the biggest share of homes on the market, 28 percent. Conversely, almost the same percentage of millennials in Detroit make an average $36,000 a year, and that gives them access to the least share of housing, a mere 1.4 percent.”With home prices and rents rising as fast as they are, it’s a common assumption that young adults in many cases cannot afford to live alone,” said Zillow’s chief economist Svenja Gudell. “Though that may be true in some markets, there’s still a large number of amazing places across the U.S. that are prime for millennials to thrive independently.”Still, Zillow predicts that house values across the nation are up 5 percent over the past year and rents are up almost 3 percent, leading the company to forecast that rents will increase another 3 percent by this time next year, making it difficult for millennials to live on their own. Millennials Zillow 2016-06-29 Seth Welborn Fewer Millennials are Living Alone Share
Share The market share of adjustable-rate mortgages is at its lowest level in years. But the specter of rising mortgage interest rates this year could change that considerably, according to a recent analysis.According to the November 2016 Mortgage Monitor report by Black knight Financial Services, ARMs made up fewer than 4 percent of mortgage originations in October by count, and fewer than 9 percent by volume. This is the lowest share by count since 2009 and the lowest share by volume since late the end of 2012, when rates were below 3.5 percent.According to the report, there are currently 5.25 million active ARMs, with roughly one-fifth of those still in their initial fixed-rate term. The total number of ARMS is the lowest since 2002, representing roughly 10 percent of the active mortgage market‒‒which is the lowest share since 2000.This leaves the risk of initial ARM resets in the market historically low, Black Knight reported. But if rates rise above 4 percent, this could change.“A look at recent history shows that as rates rise, so does the ARM share of the market,” the report stated. In late 2013 and early 2014, rates were near 4.5 percent, and the share of ARMs “was twice what it is today, and last fall when rates were up near four percent it was over 60 percent higher than today. If this trend holds true and interest rates remain above 4 percent, it’s likely there will be a marked rise in ARM lending in 2017.”Historically ARM share by volume is typically higher than share by count, Black Knight reported. That’s because ARMs “tend to be more popular in more expensive market segments, specifically in jumbo lending,” the report stated.One other factor that could be holding the number of ARMs down is that they typically require high credit scores to get. The average ARM credit score is around 765; over the past three years, scores for ARM customers have averaged 18 points higher than their fixed rate counterparts. This, the report stated, is an inversion from 2004 through 2007, when the average credit score on ARM originations was 10 to 12 points lower than that of the average fixed rate loan.Also, roughly two-thirds of borrowers who are refinancing their ARMs are converting them to fixed-rate mortgages, which has also reduced the overall ARM mix in the market, Black Knight reported.Click here to view the complete Mortgage Monitor for November 2016. Adjustable-Rate Mortgages mortgage originations 2017-01-08 Scott_Morgan January 8, 2017 919 Views in Daily Dose, News, Origination ARM Market Share Could Be Ready to Rise
March 7, 2017 556 Views Cardratings.com Foreclosures Richard Barrington themreport 2017-03-07 Staff Writer Cardratings.com recently released its results from a national study that it conducted on the best and worst states for credit conditions.The top five best states are North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Montana, and Minnesota. The average credit score for North Dakota residents averaged 19 points higher than any other states in the study. In addition, foreclosures in North Dakota are one-tenth as common compared to other states across the nation.During the study, Cardratings.com used five-key categories to help collect data from each state-average credit scores from Equifax, foreclosure rates from Attom Data Solutions, credit card delinquency rates from TransUnion, unemployment rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and bankruptcy data from the U.S federal court system.States in the top five all recorded unemployment rates of 4 percent or lower compared to the five worst states, which average 5 percent or above. Alabama and Georgia have the worst credit conditions in the country, with Nevada, Louisiana, and Mississippi rounding out the bottom five.So, which states are moving in the right direction since the first study was conducted back in 2011? Idaho was listed as one of the top 10 worst credit conditions and since then it has moved up 27 spots. California previously ranked in the bottom three, but as of today, its currently in the top 25, and Colorado has moved up 25 spots and now is currently ranked 13.Some states that are headed in the other direction are New Mexico and Pennsylvania, which have both dropped 21 spots since the original study back in 2011, and Oklahoma has fallen into the bottom 10.Foreclosures are three times more common in New Jersey compared to any other state and bankruptcies are more common in states like Tennessee and Alabama. Meanwhile, the average credit score in Mississippi is 37 points lower than the national average.“We hear a lot of statistics about the national economy,” says Richard Barrington, the financial analyst who conducted the study for CardRatings.com, “but the truth is that economic conditions are very personal. They vary from household to household, but also there are striking regional differences.”“Whether it is an individual looking to relocate or a business considering expansion into a new region, it is important for local credit conditions to be a factor in these decisions,” says Barrington. “While household credit is largely a matter of personal responsibility, area conditions can have a strong influence on one’s ability to build a good credit history.The full study can be viewed here. Which States Made the Most Strides Since Housing Crisis? in Data, Featured, News Share