TripAdvisor review system remains under a cloud

first_imgThe screening processes of TripAdvisor remain firmly under the spotlight as the travel review website faces renewed allegations of manipulation of reviews and ratings by hoteliers. Among the recent criticisms made of TripAdvisor were those published in an article in the UK’s Telegraph, which claimed that two readers had been offered nearly US$300 by an English hotel to delete a negative review they had posted of the property. A London restaurant that was not even open ranked as the 17th best in the city, the newspaper also reported.After just nine reviews made over two weeks, the restaurant, which appeared briefly in the British capital last summer, was ranked by TripAdvisor as the 11th best in the capital (out of nearly 10,000) – before falling to 76th place after it had closed. Then, just one month after the submission of three fake reviews (two of which were identical) in mid-February by reputation management company, Kwikchex, the restaurant had risen to the 17th best in London.   “Such case studies blow apart TripAdvisor’s claims about sophisticated filtering systems, and illustrate how unreliable its reviews are,” Kwikchex founder Chris Emmins said. In another case, following the publication of a negative review they had posted of a property in Gloucestershire (UK), two guests were offered a refund of GB£180 (US$287) by hotel management under the proviso they remove their scathing review, which criticised the hotel’s “bland” food, “dusty” rooms, “noisy” fellow guests and “brusque” staff. The regular TripAdvisor users subsequently declined the offer.A third incident brought to light the glowing appraisal of a luxury Caribbean resort, which was later discovered to have been submitted by an investor of the hotel. Fellow shareholders had written “at least half” of the other reviews of the property, the investor claimed in a later posting.Since 2010, Kwikchex has been campaigning for TripAdvisor to accept only reviews from authenticated patrons rather than anonymous users, the Telegraph reported.However, TripAdvisor backs the “integrity” of its content, which it says is “fundamental” to its success.  “Without it, we wouldn’t have the loyalty we enjoy from the 50 million visitors who use our site each month,” the website stated.”We stand by the proven model we already have in place, because we believe all travellers, not just the one individual who made the reservation or has the receipt, are entitled to share their honest feedback about where they have stayed. “Requiring a proof of stay would dramatically reduce the number of reviews on the site, and we know from user feedback that our visitors value both the quantity and quality of the reviews available.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.Hlast_img read more

TAA NSW Hotels Scoop the Pool at National Awards for Excellence

first_imgSource = TAA The Hilton, Sydney has won the Overall hotel of the year (accommodation division) at the AHA National Awards for Excellence.NSW accommodation hotels won nine categories at the national awards, which were held in Hobart last night:– Best Restaurant (Accommodation division) – Glass Brasserie (Hilton) / Echoes Restaurant (Echoes A Luxury Collection resort Blue Mountains)– Best redeveloped Hotel – Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney– Best meeting and events venue – Hilton Sydney– Best mid-range accommodation – Crowne Plaza Norwest (Baulkham Hills)– Best superior accommodation – Fairmont Resort MGallery (Leura)– Best deluxe accommodation – Park Hyatt Sydney– Chef of the Year – Joe Pavlovich (Hilton, Sydney)– Best Environmental initiative – Emirates Wolgan Vallery Resort and Spa– Overall hotel of the year (accommodation division) – Hilton SydneyTAA (NSW) director Carol Giuseppi said it was great to see a NSW hotel win overall hotel of the year (accommodation division) against some stiff competition.“Accommodation in NSW really is of a world class standard and that was on display at the Awards for Excellence last night,” she said.“For the NSW accommodation sector to take out so many awards at the national level shows the hard work and determination of management and staff at our leading hotels really is paying off.“Sydney is the gateway to NSW, and NSW is the gateway to Australia so it is pleasing to see we continue to set the benchmark nationwide.“I would like to congratulate all winners, especially the Hilton Sydney which won four awards.“It was also pleasing to see regional accommodation hotels like Fairmont Resort MGallery (Leura) and Echoes A Luxury Collection resort Blue Mountains recognised at the national level.”last_img read more

Abacus Nature the worst cause of travel disruption

first_imgA report released today by Abacus International, The Root Causes of Travel Disruption, shows that natural phenomena including disasters have emerged as the largest source of travel disruption globally. “Reports of terrorist activity will also spike in the feeds, prompting companies to consider their duty of care to staff working in the vicinity.” Source = ETB News: Lewis Wiseman Mr. Kvendset also said that early warnings are not only beneficial for travel disruptions caused by natural phenomena but also for human-made disruptions. “A political rally or election turning violent quickly becomes a security issue for travelers, Abacus partner AidCom’s chief executive officer, Peder Kvendset said that early warnings play a key role. All human-made political and security related events accounted for four in every ten alerts throughout the year in 2013. This may appear unsurprising with endless natural disasters such as severe weather conditions worldwide, however the ripple effect this has on the travel industry is alarming. “The domino effect is why early warning is so important,” Mr. Kvendset said. Last year alone the Oceanic region had to overcome 275 ‘nature’ alerts, and the United States was hit with 500 alerts. The report found that the repercussions of human-made disruptions were much greater than those from natural events because they evolved into other alerts as they escalated.last_img read more

Serko partners with Bookingcom

first_imgSerko Ltd., a leader in online travel booking and expense management for business, announced that it has partnered with, the world’s number one accommodation site, to give Serko Online users access to the largest online hotel room resource.The partnership will add an extensive range of Australasian properties from’s inventory of 700,000 properties has a large range of inventory across the regional areas of Australasia, which makes it particularly valuable to Serko Online customers that have accommodation requirements outside of the major cities.Unlike other online travel agents, most of’s inventory is ‘pay when you stay’ and incurs no cancellation fees, which means it is fully aligned with the way that corporates prefer to book and pay for accommodation.Darrin Grafton, Serko’s chief executive officer says “By becoming the aggregator of the aggregators we remove the need for corporate accommodation bookers to leave Serko Online to access the hotel content that we know they want.“By adding the inventory to Serko Online we’ve got comprehensive coverage not just in Australia and New Zealand, but also across Asia and into India.”The hotel inventory is expected to become available to Serko Online customers later in 2015.Source = Serkolast_img read more

Unique space for Cyber Theft protected only by VPNs

first_imgIn-Flight Wi-Fi: Unique space for Cyber Theft, protected only by VPNsThe dangers of public Wi-Fi are already well known, but the security issues of in-flight Internet connection are still somewhat obscure. In 2015, there were already 52 airlines worldwide offering in-flight Internet, and the prevalence of U.S. in-flight Wi-Fi alone has grown 1,600-fold since 2013.Security is an issue with in-flight Internet – dominated by Gogo provider, while its two main competitors, ViaSat and GEE, use satellites exclusively for airlines such as JetBlue and Southwest.First, there’s no password protection on the Wi-Fi connection, so anyone can intercept all data that’s being transmitted on the wireless network.Thus, while it’s great to go online while you are in the sky, connecting to Gogo or other provider might mean you are giving your private data away to cybercriminals. Airplanes are unique hacking grounds – more dangerous than airports or coffee shops, as they cram passengers in one small space for hours. This gives plenty of time and opportunity for hackers to access all data that’s being transmitted over open networks. Passengers who do online banking, shopping or business emailing are especially vulnerable to identity and data theft.Hacking devices, such as WiFi Pineapple, are accessible to anyone and are particularly dangerous on flights. The Pineapple, which is small enough to be stored in someone’s carry on, pretends to be a Wi-Fi connection – so when a user connects to Wi-Fi, they are actually connecting to a hacking device.How can airplane passengers protect their data and securely connect to the Internet?First, a traveler gets to designate the Wi-Fi network as Home, Work or Public. Those who choose Home network show that they trust all the people connected to the same network – which should not be the case on an airplane full of strangers. Work network should be used for a private group at work. So the safest option for airplane passengers is Public network setting –  as this option is created to make sure it’s not visible by other computers.Secondly, travelers have to make sure they are connecting to the Wi-Fi network offered on the flight, and not a look-a-like network with a similar-sounding name that might be spoofed.Besides these local precautions, the best and most effective way for any traveler to protect their data is to use a VPN.A professional VPN service encrypts all the traffic flow between the Internet and a device and helps hide an IP address. If you are a beginner, it’s best to choose a VPN that’s user-friendly.For example, NordVPN has recently launched new Mac, Android and iOS apps (with a redesigned Windows app on the way) geared towards everyday Internet user. How does it work? Log in (the first time only) and press the ON button. The app will then choose the fastest server to connect to, in a country of your choice. That’s all it takes to hide your IP address and to start safe browsing. Beware of free VPN service providers that typically rely on third party advertisers to cover the costs. Often, they are free proxy services, marketed as VPNs, when in fact proxies are not encrypted (they just change your IP address, but do not hide/encrypt it).VPNs are becoming essential  in the world of tightening online security, and soon using a VPN will be as common as going online. Unfortunately, some in-flight networks cut back on security and block VPNs, but in most cases users have no obstacles for using Virtual Private Networks.Besides using a VPN, travelers should use antivirus, firewall and anti-spyware and automatically update their software.October is Cyber Security Awareness month, and NordVPN is offering 70% off its yearly fee during the month of October. Simply go to NordVPN, choose the yearly plan, and enter “CyberAware” coupon code at the checkout. NordVPNlearn more hereAbout NordNordVPN is the world’s most advanced VPN service provider that is more security oriented than most VPN services. It offers double VPN encryption, anti DDoS & Tor Over VPN services. It has just launched a new NordVPN Mac App that provides a unique algorithm, allowing to automatically connect to the fastest server. The product is very user friendly, offers one of the best prices on the market, has over 550 servers worldwide and is P2P friendly. One of the key features of NordVPN is zero log policy.Source = NordVPNlast_img read more

TravelManagers Taste of Luxury in the Maldives

first_imgSource = TravelManagers Club Med Kani Jose Barbs and Michelle T – Blissful smiles are a given at Club Med Kani, as demonstrated by TravelManagers’ Barbara Turner, Jose Canas (NPO) and Michelle Thomas (L-R)TravelManagers’ Taste of Luxury in the MaldivesThey say the proof of the pudding is in the tasting, and for seven personal travel managers (PTMs) on a recent TravelManagers’ famil of the Maldives’ Club Med Kani and Finolhu Villas, a four-night taste was proof enough that a barefoot-luxury holiday in this exquisite destination is well worth aspiring to.The group was hosted by Club Med’s Business Development Manager, Adam Ferraro and accompanied by TravelManagers’ Fares and Ticketing Manager, Jose Canas. After a quick stop in Singapore during which they were able to experience Changi Airport’s Ambassador Transit Lounge, they continued to their destination for the next three nights: Club Med Kani.After taking a tour of the resort, participants were free to spend the remainder of their time at the resort enjoying the various water-sports on offer, joining yoga and pilates classes and sampling both the cocktails at the resort’s Beach Bar and dining at Velhi Restaurant.“To be on the island and enjoy the scenery, to see the different room options first-hand and to sample the amazing variety of meals and activities available makes property so much easier to sell,” reports PTM Michelle Thomas, who is representative for Norah Head, NSW.“Just to see the properties and experience the destination was brilliant,” adds Barbara Turner, who is representative for Scarborough, WA. “I’ve already made a client booking and I’ve only been back for two days!”Darren Kelk, who is TravelManagers’ representative for South Yarra, VIC, is already planning to return next year for a holiday, describing the destination as “the perfect holiday for those needing a great relaxing break.”“Club Med’s all-inclusive concept represents great value for money, especially if you book the complete flights plus land package as one,” he adds. “You can just relax and enjoy your holiday without having to think about spending money or signing bills every time you order something.”After two wonderful days at Club Med Kani, the group were transferred to the nearby Finolhu Villas for a final day and night of indulgence.“It was paradise on steroids!” exclaims Thomas. “We stayed in the lead-in Beach Suites, which were stunning: from a private plunge pool and an outdoor shower to amazing views and your own butler, you really couldn’t ask for more.”Participants qualified for the famil, which was exclusive to TravelManagers, by participating in a sales incentive run over May and June this year, based on sales performance or improvement at the two Maldives-based Club Med properties, Club Med Bintan and on Singapore Airlines.“PTMs were also required to take part in both Club Med and Singapore Airlines webinars,” adds Kelk. “Seeing the properties and experiencing Singapore Airlines for themselves brought it all to life for the PTMs who were lucky enough to earn themselves a spot.”The group’s final evening in the Maldives involved sipping glasses of chilled Champagne as they watched the sun set, before heading to the overwater, fine-dining Moto restaurant, whose central bar offers a window to the ocean world below through a special glass floor.“The staff were brilliant, and the accommodations were far better than I had imagined,” says Turner. “It’s a stunning destination, and I would absolutely love to return and take my family.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.Barbs Club Med Kani – PTM Barbara Turner thinks every bathtub should come with a view like this one, at Club Med Kani in the MaldivesAbout TravelManagersTravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.8 billion for 2018. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 540 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are secure and only used for client purchases.last_img read more

Tourism NZ makes new partnerships to lure Indian travellers

first_imgTourism New Zealand has declared its joint venture partnership with Singapore Airlines and Auckland Airport to increase high value New Zealand travel out of India. The special promotional fares of the campaign will be applicable for the travel period of May to October 2015 and the booking validity is till May 15, 2015.Steven Dixon, Regional Manager – South and Southeast Asia, Tourism New Zealand said, “We have recently seen a surge in Indian visitors to New Zealand during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. The mega sporting event was the ideal platform for us to showcase New Zealand to aspiring travellers from India. The partnership with Singapore Airlines aims to further increase the rise of interest among Indian travellers to visit New Zealand.”Through this campaign, the collaboration between the three parties lays foundation to deliver 50,000 arrivals from India on the India – Auckland route. The campaign will focus on travel from the cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Vishakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Kochi and Trivandrum.For the year ending February 2015, New Zealand’s visitor arrivals from India were 39,168, an increase of 24.6% on the previous year. Of these, 18,464 were holiday arrivals, a 26% increase on the previous year.last_img read more

Vietnam to promote Binh Thuan as a seaport and leisure destination

first_imgThe central province of Binh Thuan has recognised sea sports and leisure as the backbone of the development strategy of its hospitality industry through 2020 with a vision to 2030.Under the Government approved development strategy, Binh Thuan has been identified as one of Vietnam’s major tourism destinations and a national centre for sea sports and leisure tourism.Binh Thuan’s seaside town of Mui Ne has been well-known for its ideal climate conditions for sea sports, especially kite surfing and windsurfing.Speaking at the 20th anniversary of the Binh Thuan Tourism Day, Vice Chairman of the Binh Thuan’s People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Tam said that over the past 20 years, tourism has developed rapidly, with hundreds of resorts in seaside town Mui Ne, which has earned it the nickname of ‘the capital of resorts’.The number of tourists to the province has increased from only 53,000, which includes five thousand international visitors, in 1999, to over 4 million so far this year, 254,000 of which are international travellers.Revenue from tourism has increased from 30.7 billion VND ($1.37 million) in 1995 to 7.6 billion VND ($340 million) in 2015, accounting for 7.5% of the province’s gross domestic product.last_img read more

Rio Olympics 2016 might boost tourism in Brazil

first_imgWith the Rio Oylmpic Games 2016 approaching, the hotels have almost been completely booked for the event. Mario Andrada, spokesman for Rio 2016, said they want the games to be the turn-around moment and bring good energy.The organisers are expecting half a million international visitors to descend on Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games, scheduled for August 5-21, 2016.The country received 6.4 million foreign tourists in 2014 with Rio de Janeiro receiving 1.6 million foreign arrivals.For the Olympics, one of the major projects of the government is to suspend the visa obligation between Brazil and the U.S. to increase the number of visitors this year.last_img read more

Existing Home Sales to Pick Up in September Market Shifts to Buyers

first_imgExisting Home Sales to Pick Up in September; Market Shifts to Buyer’s Favor Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Market Studies, News Buyer’s Market Existing-Home Sales 2015-09-29 Staff Writercenter_img September 29, 2015 518 Views Existing home sales had a less than promising performance in August, but’s Real Estate Nowcast projects that they will pick back up in predicts that existing home sales for the month of September will fall between seasonally adjusted annual rates of 5.23 and 5.57 million annual sales, with a targeted number of 5.4 million, an increase of 1.7 percent from August and 5.9 percent from a year ago.”While the modest growth that the Real Estate Nowcast predicts for September will not be enough to completely recoup all of the losses experienced in August, it shows that sales are expected to move back in the right direction and maintain solid year-over-year progress,” the report said.”All the right underpinnings are in place to support continued demand, from improving labor markets and wage growth to a more approachable lending environment.”According to, home prices have also experienced recent declines on a seasonally adjusted basis, but remain healthy. The Nowcast predicts that sales prices for existing homes will fall between $216,372 and $239,148 in the month of September, with a targeted price of $227,760, an 8.9 percent year-over-year increase.“All the right underpinnings are in place to support continued demand, from improving labor markets and wage growth to a more approachable lending environment,” said Peter Muoio, chief economist. “That said, we’re expecting growth to assume a much more modest pace as we approach the end of 2015.” also released their ‘Advance Read of September Trends’ report Tuesday.The data shows home price declines and increased time on the market has moved the September housing market from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market. This transition means that it is easier for buyers to purchase a home compared to any other time so far this year.“The spring and summer home-buying seasons were especially tough on potential buyers this year with increasing prices and limited supply,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for “Buyers who are open to a fall or winter purchase should find some relief with lower prices and less competition from other buyers. However, year-over-year comparisons show that fall buyers will have it tougher than last year as the housing market continues to show improvement.”Median list prices are also falling from July’s peak as demand in a seasonally weaker period, the report found. Inventory has also peaked for 2015, which means that buyers will not have as many choices for the rest of the year.The national median list price is $230,000, down 1 percent over August and up 6 percent year-over-year. Inventory levels stand at 80 days, up 6.7 percent from August, but down 5 percent year-over-year. predicts that listings inventory will end the month 0.5 percent lower than August’s numbers.Click here to view’s Nowcast.last_img read more

Slowdown in Home Prices a Reality

first_img Black Knight Financial Services Home Prices 2016-01-25 Staff Writer Home prices have been consistently rising for the last few years, but it looks like that slow growth housing market that economists have been predicting for 2016 may have started early.Black Knight Financial Services’ Data and Analytics division released its November 2015 Home Price Index (HPI) report, finding that U.S. home prices rose marginally by 0.1 percent. Year-over-year home prices are still up 5.5 percent.The HPI reached $253,000 in November and is now only 5.3 percent off its June 2006 peak of $268,000. In addition, the index is up 27 percent from the housing market’s bottom in January 2012.New York led the gains among the states for the fifth consecutive month in November, rising 1.2 percent from the previous month. New York metros held five of the top 10 spots for the largest HPI changes in November. The rest of the top five states with the largest HPI changes month-over-month include South Carolina (0.6 percent), Oregon (0.5 percent), New Mexico (0.5 percent), and North Carolina (0.5 percent).In November, Black Knight reported that both Ohio and Connecticut saw the most negative home price appreciation, with home prices declining 0.4 percent from the previous month. New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Virginia followed with home prices decreasing 0.3 percent in each of these states.Among U.S. metros, New York City, New York; Cape Coral, Florida; and Naples, Florida had the highest HPI changes in November, rising 1.0 percent from the prior month in each area. Glens Falls, New York and Punta Gorda, Florida following with home prices appreciating 0.9 percent month-over-month. On the negative end of appreciation were Milwaukee, Wisconsin (0.7 percent); Cleveland, Ohio (0.6 percent); Rockford, Illinois (0.6 percent); Springfield, Ohio (0.6 percent); and Decatur, Illinois (0.6 percent).The data showed that New York, Tennessee, and Texas all hit new home price peaks again in October at $357,000, $179,000, and $216,000, respectivelySeven of the nation’s 40 largest metros reached new peaks in October including Austin, Texas ($286,000); Dallas, Texas ($221,000); Denver, Colorado ($329,000); Houston, Texas ($220,000); Nashville, Tennessee ($222,000); Portland, Oregon ($324,000); and San Antonio, Texas ($195,000).Click here to view the full report. Slowdown in Home Prices a Reality January 25, 2016 491 Views center_img Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Market Studies, Newslast_img read more

Rising Rates Detrimental to Affordability

first_imgRising Rates Detrimental to Affordability According to the Q4 2016 Housing Affordability report from Zillow released on Thursday, mortgages rates and home values are showing substantial growth, causing homeowners to increase put more of their monthly income toward their mortgage payments and affordability to decline.  Dr. Svenja Gudell, Chief Economist at Zillow, stated that home buyers could expect monthly mortgage costs of $758, or 15.8 percent of the median household’s monthly income at the end of 2016, which is a 14.7 percent increase from Q4 2015.“The share of income needed to afford a typical home is still low relative to both the housing bubble years and more normal times, when the typical household would need to spend 20 to 25 percent of their income on a mortgage, but it’s quickly worsening,” she said.Unfortunately, rising interest rates coupled with home value growth are bound to make housing less affordable. And while mortgages remain cost efficient as growth in housing cost continues to increase wages, and affordability continues to deteriorate.  The growth in mortgage payments are driven by two factors: the Federal Reserve rate hike in Q4 and slowed home price appreciation. The report stated that the average home appreciated 1.9 percent during Q4 of 2016, which is considered the fastest quarterly growth on record since the start of the housing recovery in 2012.Just how long this upward trend might last is still a topic of discussion, but in the future, rising mortgages rate will start impacting home value as affordability continues to decrease. in Data, Headlines, News Sharecenter_img Affordability Data Mortgage Rates Zillow 2017-02-16 Staff Writer February 16, 2017 546 Views last_img read more

Small Salary Buy in Pittsburgh or Cleveland

first_img May 24, 2017 660 Views cincinnati cleveland Home Prices HOUSING HSH mortgage pittsburgh 2017-05-24 Aly J. Yale Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Cincinnati are the country’s most affordable metropolitan areas, according to a recent salary analysis from In Pittsburgh, residents need a salary of just $31,507 to afford a median-priced home in the area.In Cleveland, residents can purchase a median-priced home with an income of $33K per year, and in Cincinnati, it requires $36K. The least affordable metro areas according to HSH’s analysis were San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles, where residents need a salary of $161K, $111K, and $98K, respectively.HSH broke down the salary needed to buy a median-priced home in 27 of the country’s biggest markets, including New York City ($95K); Detroit ($36K); Philadelphia ($52K); Washington, D.C. ($82K); Phoenix ($47K); San Antonio ($50K); Orlando ($52K); and Dallas ($58K). Buyers in Dallas require about $2,400 more than they did last quarter to purchase a home, though prices in the area rose just 0.32 percent.Across the nation, a median-priced home came in at $232,100, with a required salary of $52,969 and an average mortgage payment of $1,235 per month. Of the 27 metro markets HSH analyzed, median home values were down compared to Q4 2016. Thanks to rising mortgage rates, though, affordability didn’t improve in most of the markets.“This decline in cost wasn’t enough to offset considerable increase in 30-year fixed mortgage rates, so the salary needed to purchase that median home rose yet again in all but five markets,” HSH reported.On a year-over-year basis, median home prices were higher in all 27 markets, with Cleveland seeing the biggest annual jump at 13.3 percent. Pittsburgh had the least growth, with a 0.04 percent gain. Salaries needed to purchase a median home also rose over the year in all markets, equating to a 9-percent rise across the board since early 2016.The metro with the lowest median home price for the quarter was Pittsburgh, where homes cost an average of $120,000. Cleveland took the No. 2 spot at $126,100, while Cincinnati and Detroit came in at No. 3 with a median price of $145,000.View the full data set and analysis at Sharecenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines Small Salary? Buy in Pittsburgh or Clevelandlast_img read more

And the Verdict is

first_imgWill there be another recession? According to Sharga, yes, due to natural cycles in the economy. He predicts that it’s not inevitable in 2018—maybe 2019. And if that were the case, the industry wouldn’t see a spike in foreclosures until 2020 or 2021. Rick Sharga, EVP of Ten-X, held a live webinar on Tuesday to discuss his 2017 mid-year housing update and his views on whether or not the mortgage finance industry is on track for another housing bubble. Editor’s Note: all included graphs were used during the live presentation. Sharga began by examining the various factors that play a role in the housing market. First, he talked about the gross domestic product, which currently sits at 2.6 percent. He mentions President Trump calls for a GDP growth sitting somewhere between 4 and 5 percent, which Sharga says, “isn’t close to realistic.After touching on GDP, he discussed the unemployment rate, which currently sits at 4.3 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.Sharga contends that unemployment under 5 percent suggests that those who would be looking for jobs already have fulltime employment, as usually, the housing market reacts opposite to the unemployment figure—if unemployment is down, home sales should be up, and vice versa. Sharga attributes that to the fact wage rates haven’t kept up with rising home prices. In addition, he says that many people are choosing other nontraditional employment routes, such as Uber and AirBnb. in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, News August 22, 2017 543 Views Share He does say, however, that inventory is improving from a 20 year low that was seen between 2012 and 2013. Housing starts are sitting at a projected 1.5 million, which is right where they should be.Another reason he explains why inventory is so tight is the fact that, even though there are still many people whose homes are underwater, virtually every avenue to attract delinquencies are down. Fewer homeowners are in a position of negative equity and foreclosure starts are as low as they were since 2005.center_img Ten-X 2017-08-22 Joey Pizzolato And Sharga’s conclusion? The economy is improving—homeownership rates are on the rise, albeit slowly, and the current market isn’t in the territory of another housing bubble. And the Verdict is? Inventory restrictions are also stifling home sales. He attributes this fact to a lower-than-average number of existing home sales, which should sit at six months. New home construction is also well below what it historically should be. See the charts they referenced below.last_img read more

Legal League 100 A Decade of Success

first_imgLegal League 100: A Decade of Success September 20, 2017 764 Views Members of the Legal League 100 joined together Wednesday for the Fall Servicer Summit at the Five Star Conference and Expo. Five Star President and CEO Ed Delgado commenced the meeting by discussing the many successes Legal League has accomplished in its decade-long existence, which Delgado attributes to professionalism.“You provide of a vital service to your clients—one that should be taken seriously,” said Delgado. “The process of foreclosure is one that should be taken seriously at all times—with respect for all parties.”The Legal League 100 is celebrating a decade of representing financial-services law firms and over 120 members. Delgado credited the success of the membership in part to the Legal League 100 Advisory Council. Following Delgado, Legal League 100 Advisory Council Chairman Neil Sherman took over moderating the day.The roundtables within the Legal League 100 Summit included the best practices for foreclosure and bankruptcy, developing compliance practices, and ethics concerns in financial services. Following the roundtables was a supersession on cultivating partnerships, vetting vendors, and audits.Speakers included representatives from Bank of America, Bayview Loan Servicing, BSI Financial, Caliber Home Loans, Carrington Holdings, Citimortgage, The Collingwood Group, the CFPB, Fannie Mae, Fay Servicing, Fidelity Bank Freedom Mortgage, Nationstar Mortgage, Ocwen, PennyMac, Roundpoint, Rushmore, S&P, Selene Finance, Statebridge, Summit, US Bank, Wells Fargo, and more.”We were very happy to see we had a full room and lively conversation with servicers as well as attorneys,” said Caren Castle, Senior Mortgage Servicing Attorney at The Wolf Firm. “We talked a lot about the current state of regulation in our industry and a fair amount of time on the challenges we’re all going to be facing in light of the hurricanes both in Florida and Texas—how important communication is going to be between the regulators, servicers, and lawyers.”The Legal League 100 Servicer Summit was sponsored by ALAW,, Firm Solutions, Oversite, Provest, RCO Legal, Robertson Anschutz & Schneid, RES.NET, iMailTracking, Stern & Eisenberg, and Westcor. Sharecenter_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, News Five Star Conference and Expo Legal League 100 2017-09-20 Brianna Gilpinlast_img read more

Committing to Equality

first_img The American Mortgage Diversity Council (AMDC) has formulated a statement of support for industry organizations to sign on, to affirm their commitment to gender equality in the workplace. Through this Statement of Support, the organization is strengthening its commitment to fostering a culture of equality and respect within the mortgage industry.The statement was formulated by AMDC’s member organizations and includes issues of pay, advancement and cultivating respectful work cultures. It is driven by four key affirmations:Valuing the contributions of all people equally regardless of gender identification or presentation and encouraging equal pay for equal work performedConducting periodic reviews across organizations to evaluate possible areas of bias and implement solutions to remove bias if it exists.Supporting gender equality as a strategic objective by promoting opportunities to elevate the female executive population and thereby increasing the rate of retention, recruitment, and advancement of female employeesSupporting the empowering of emerging female leaders by offering development, training, and mentorship programs in strategic operational functions for future opportunities.”The Gender Equality Statement of Support is the product of AMDC member organizations standing as one to affirm the fundamental rights of women in the workplace,” said Derek Templeton, Executive Director of the AMDC. “Organizational initiatives in 2019 will focus on continued opportunities to leverage the collective voice of the membership in furtherance of our efforts to foster a culture of diversity and inclusiveness within the mortgage industry.”The statement is already gaining the support of organizations within the mortgage industry, which include, Aspen Grove Solutions, Beers Housing, Continental Real Estate Services, Doonan, Graves & Longoria, LLC, First Allegiance, Five Brothers, The Five Star Institute, JGM Property Group, Landmark, Laudan Properties, National Tax Search, Strategic Venture Partners, and SVN Auction Works.To read the Statement of Support click here. Affirmation AMDC Gender equality industry mortgage 2018-11-05 Radhika Ojha Share Committing to Equalitycenter_img in Daily Dose, Featured, News November 5, 2018 577 Views last_img read more

Big Cities Small Home Price Gains

first_imgThe National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported metro market home prices rose 3.9% year-over-year, but at a slower pace than the previous quarter.Existing single-family homes had an average price of $254,800 in the first quarter, up from $245,300 from Q1 2018.The report adds that single-family home prices increase in 86% of markets last quarter, with 153 of 178 metro markets showing sale price growth compared to 2018. Additionally, 13 metro area had double-digit increases, which is a slight decrease from 14 markets in Q4 2018.“Homeowners in the majority of markets are continuing to enjoy price gains, albeit at a slower rate of growth. A typical homeowner accumulated $9,500 in wealth over the past year,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist.Total existing home sales, including single-family homes and condos, increased 1.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.2 million in the first quarter, which is an increase from 5.1 million in Q4 2018. That is 5.4% lower than the 5.5 million-pace in Q1 2018.The five most expensive metro markets in the first quarter were the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, market, where the average house price is $1.2 million. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California, came in at second at $930,000.The least expensive metro market in the first quarter was Decatur, Illinouis, with an average home price of $80,800.“There are vast home price differences among metro markets,” Yun said. “The condition of extremely high home prices may not be sustainable in light of many alternative metro markets that are much more affordable. Therefore, a shift in job search and residential relocations into more affordable regions of the country is likely in the future.”All regions saw a year-over-year decrease in existing home sales in Q1 2019, with homes in the West region 10.7% below a year ago, despite a 2.8% growth in Q1 2019.The report added the median income rose nationally to $77,752 in the Q1 2019, altNational family median income rose to $77,752 in the first quarter, while higher home prices caused overall affordability to decrease from last year. in Daily Dose, Data, Featured Share Big Cities, Small Home Price Gainscenter_img Existing Home Prices Home Prices Metro Metro Areas Metro Home Prices 2019-05-14 Mike Albanese May 14, 2019 588 Views last_img read more

Travelmarvels Canada Alaska featuring USA Rail

first_imgTravelmarvel’s Canada & Alaska featuring USA Rail Journeys 2018 brochure is out now, featuring additional departures on popular Western Canada itineraries, and new touring routes. Earlybird Offers* include a choice of 2-for-1 international airfares or the option to fly business class for $5,995, or premium economy for $2,595, on selected tours. An additional Early Payment Discount of up to $600 per couple is also available for any tour where guests book, and pay in full, 10 months prior to departure.The Canada & Alaska program features touring and cruising options for Alaska, east and west coast Canada, and New England in addition Great Rail Journeys in the US, with Insider Experiences including Breakfast with the Bears at the Grouse Mountain Bear Refuge in Vancouver, and the exclusive Blue River Safari to Grizzly Bear Valley. Travelmarvel’s North America itineraries are inclusive of most meals, transfers and sightseeing as outlined on each itinerary.* T & Cs apply – available until sold out AlaskaCanadaearlybirdsrailTravelmarvelUSAlast_img read more

Top Stories

first_img Top Stories The Cardinals are not having a memorable season on eitherside of the ball, but the defense would be even moreforgettable without Calais Campbell going after theopposing quarterback.The defensive end leads the team with five sacks; and eventhough 4.5 of those came against the Seahawks and Rams,Campbell’s effort to pressure the quarterback can’t bedenied.According to Word From the Birds Blog,Campbell and the coaching staff both want to see more. “Alot of times I didn’t play as well as I could have. I feellike I could play so much better,” Campbell said. What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Comments   Share   center_img D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Still, with his contract running out at the end of theyear, an extension is something that the Cardinals need toget done.The Cardinals’ Darnell Dockett agrees. “We need to (resign him), and I trust Rod Graves and theorganization, they’ll do right by Calais,” he said. “He’sonly got upside.”There doesn’t seem to be anything in works yet, but asfans’ attention shifts from the disappointment of thisseason to the possibilities for next year, expect that tochange.Teams aren’t afraid when they come into Glendale, and theyshouldn’t be. The Cardinals need to get better next season. The defenseneeds to get better, and they can’t do that by letting thepieces that are working get away.“When you are trying to develop a championship team, youcan’t just let guys leak out of here,” Dockett said. “Weare trying to get back to the Super Bowl and be apowerhouse team, we can’t just work together, we also haveto have the guys here, the weapons to get that done.” Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaylast_img read more