18 Aug

Israel military official Hezbollah hiding arms in villages

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has built up a massive arsenal of rockets and other advanced weapons in Shiite villages of southern Lebanon, a senior Israeli intelligence official said Wednesday, warning civilians would be at risk if war breaks out.According to the official, Hezbollah has an estimated 100,000 short-range rockets capable of striking northern Israel, several thousand missiles that can reach Tel Aviv and central Israel and hundreds more that can strike the entire country. Israel and Hezbollah fought a monthlong war in 2006 that killed some 1,200 Lebanese, including hundreds of civilians, and 160 Israelis and caused heavy damage to Lebanon’s infrastructure.Though another Israel-Hezbollah war is always possible, analysts say the Shiite militant group has no interest in renewing hostilities while it is busy fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces against rebels trying to topple him in Syria.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Most of the weapons have been transferred to Lebanon through war-torn Syria, coming from Hezbollah’s key allies, the Syrian government and Iran, he said.The official showed reporters satellite photos of what Israeli intelligence believes are Hezbollah positions in dozens of Shiite villages in southern Lebanon.The photos were marked with dozens of red icons, signaling what are believed to be missile launchers, arms depots, underground tunnels and command posts.The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under military guidelines, said an estimated 200 villages have been turned into “military strongholds.”One photo showed the village of Muhaybib, with a population of around 1,000 people and 90 buildings, of which more than a third had been marked as Hezbollah assets. In the larger village of Shaqra, with some 4,000 people, Israeli intelligence identified Hezbollah targets in around 400 out of some 1,200 buildings.The army refused to allow publication of the images.If war breaks out and Hezbollah fires missiles at Israel, these buildings will be targeted by Israel’s air force, the official said, adding that Israel would give civilians time to evacuate. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

17 Aug

Jetstar apologises for refusing to book guide dog on flight

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X Only just recovering from being criticised over its wheelchair policy, Jetstar has now had to apologise to a visually impaired couple who were not allowed to book their guide dog onto their flight.Melbournians Glen Bracegirdle, who is visually impaired but does not require a guide dog, and Kathryn Beaton, who does require a guide dog, were recently denied their guide dog when attempting to book a Jetstar flight.This is despite the fact that in Jetstar’s own terms and conditions declaring “we [Jetstar] do provide limited special assistance services to accommodate customers who… need to travel with an accredited service dog”.Jetstar stipulates that that those intending to travel with a guide dog must “advise Jetstar that they have a disability” and the couple claim that was exactly what they did when they contacted the Jetstar call centre but were told “no dogs, no dogs, no dogs” by the Jetstar reservation team member.Speaking to e-Travel Blackboard Simon Westaway, Jetstar Manager Corporate Relations, said that the airline “unreservedly apologises” for the incident and that a “miscommunication” had taken place.“It’s a one off that shouldn’t have happened… we’ve conducted an investigation and we have taken appropriate action… We have always taken registered guide dogs on our flights.”Mr Westaway adds that he has personally spoke to Mr Bracegirdle on the phone “and apologised on behalf of the company”.“He’s a decent man who has flown with us before.”Jetstar is aware that the couple have formally complained to the Human Rights Commission. <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/1fa93/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

17 Aug

eNett to honour existing Moneydirect fee structure

first_imgRival of the closing payment platform Moneydirect, eNett International, has advised Moneydirect’s current customers (who are not already using eNett) that it will honour Moneydirect’s existing fee structure for the first 12 months.Amadeus’ and Sabre’s closing of Moneydirect and their subsequent recommendation to their Australia and New Zealand customers of their rival to is expected to bring a substantial list of new customers to eNett.Dubbed a “strategic relationship” by eNett International, both Moneydirect and eNett will be working together to ensure a smooth transition between the companies, expected to be completed by 30 September 2011. According to eNett International chief executive Anthony Hynes, both companies will be contacting customers over the next few weeks.“With a substantial client base in Australia and New Zealand already, eNett has the capability and market expertise to seamlessly transition Moneydirect’s customers to its state-of-the-art payments platform,” Mr Hynes said.eNett International offers credit card processing, electronic funds transfer processing and the recently launched vNett virtual card solution for supplier payments.Moneydirect customers have been directed to subscribe to eNett’s offerings by visiting www.enett.com (click on ‘Register an account here’) or by emailing the eNett International Client Support Centre at support@enett.com for more information.Meanwhile, Tramada Systems yesterday announced “mature integrations” with the eNett payment system to ensure “Tramada clients will be able to move seamlessly to the eNett solution for their supplier payments without significant change management issues”.  Stay tuned to e-Travel Blackboard to find out how the closing of Moneydirect will likely impact your business. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.Alast_img read more

17 Aug

Barossa Scores a Tourism HatTrick

first_imgThe Barossa scored a tourism hat-trick when it walked away with three major prizes at the 2011 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in Cairns last night.Celebrating its second consecutive national win, Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage, Australia’s best hosted accommodation, beat some tough competition from around the country, including Mollymook Beach Waterfront in New South Wales and Big Blue Backyard in Victoria.First time wins for Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre (best Tourism Wineries, Distilleries & Boutique Breweries) and its onsite restaurant Jacob’s Restaurant (best Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services) shows the winery is setting the standards in best practice and has firmly put South Australia on the map as a leading food and wine destination.Six other South Australian tourism businesses were also awarded five silver medals and one bronze medal recognising the amazing contribution they make to the State (see attached list).South Australian Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive Ward Tilbrook says the Australian Tourism Awards finalists represent the best of the best from around the country.“To be a finalist at the national level, entrants must first win a State tourism award in the same category, so our local finalists were up against some very tough competition,” Mr Tilbrook says.“The Qantas Australian Tourism Awards are a whole-of-business award which recognises tourism businesses that strive for excellence in every area of their operation.“This is an excellent result for the State and we should all be very proud of their achievements.“These wins will not only raise South Australia’s profile in Australian tourism but also sets a benchmark for best practice.”Former producer and presenter for Channel 9’s Postcards, Ron Kandelaars was also acknowledged for his outstanding contribution to tourism in South Australia.The awards were announced at a gala presentation and dinner in Cairns, attended by over 700 of Australia’s key tourism operators and industry leaders. Source = SA Tourism Industry Councillast_img read more

17 Aug

Mobile phones are the leading travel companion

first_imgThe data also showed that 65 percent of all global travellers carry a smartphone when they travel. Having the internet at your fingertips is a major concern for 45 percent of luxury travellers, with regards to the 25 percent who require the web to access internet banking while away on trips. “While traditional word of mouth reviews from friends, relatives and guidebooks are still used – especially among travellers from Africa & the Middle East – online resources that offer reviews from frequent travellers as well as a host of other information such as currency converters, pictures, booking and discount facilities are becoming the first source of information for most global travellers,” Visa Worldwide head of cross-border Asia Pacific, Central Europe and Middle East & Africa Ross Jackson said. Forget the sunscreen and beach towel; travellers top holiday companions are mobile phones, according to a new study. 65 percent of independent global travellers used online sources as a means of booking their holidays, while 57 percent sought information from the internet while they were travelling. When planning holidays; travel review websites, official tourism portals and service providers were accessed by 71 percent of worldwide travellers.center_img When it comes to travellers being technologically savvy, 73 percent of Asian holiday-makers chose to check-in online when travelling internationally, while 77 percent of Asian tourists share their experiences online after returning home. Visa’s Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 has revealed that 80 percent of travellers identified mobile phones as the most essential item when on holiday, followed by cameras (70 percent), computers (54 percent), and other entertainment devices (32 percent). “In a positive sign for providers who are offering both information and booking solutions online, global travellers are saying that online booking processes are fast and getting easier.” Source = ETB News: P.T.last_img read more

17 Aug

PATA Annual Tourism Monitor 2014 Final Edition available

first_imgMyanmar topped the IVA growth chart with a half-year growth rate of almost 29 percent, just ahead of Chinese Taipei and Japan.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is pleased to announce that the Annual Tourism Monitor (ATM) 2014 Final Edition is now available.Following the release of the Early Edition this year, the Final Edition includes updated and additional tourism-related information for 2013 that was not available in the Early Edition, as well as a 2014 year-to-date overview of tourism trends across the Asia Pacific region.  PATA chief executive officer Mario Hardy, said that the report provides the industry overview for this year.“This report, in addition to the PATA Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2014-2018 released earlier this year and PATAmPOWER, provides all of us in travel and tourism a robust view of the industry. These are indispensible tools to assist those making important decision for allocating their resources in the future,” Mr Hardy said. Highlights of the ATM 2014 Final Edition include international visitor arrivals (IVAs) into the Asia Pacific region rising from 226 million for the first period of 2013 to just over 238 million for the first period of 2014.The Americas showed the strongest percentage increase of more than eight percent for the first period of 2014, while Asia led the pack with an incremental increase of 8.3 million in arrivals.last_img read more

17 Aug

The Gold Coast proves its still famous for family fun

first_imgThe Gold Coast proves it’s still famous for family funAfter what can best be described as a bumper school holiday period, the Gold Coast has again shone as Australia’s number one destination for families, taking out a host of readers’ choice Awards, including Australia’s Best Beach Holiday Destination, from leading travel publications, Out & About with Kids and Holidays with Kids.According to the Out & About with Kids 2015 Best of Family Travel Awards, the Gold Coast is Australia’s Best Beach/Regional Holiday Destination.  The city is home to Australia’s Best Family Holiday Park (Big4 Treasure Island Holiday Park), Best Family Hotel/Resort (Paradise Resort Gold Coast) and Best Australian Family Attraction (Sea World).According to the Awards, the Gold Coast’s family travel offering is unsurpassed anywhere else in Australia, with 3 of the top 6 family hotels and resorts and four of the top 7 family attractions located right here.  The Gold Coast is also home to 2 of the Best Hotel/Resorts for babies and toddlers worldwide.According to the Holidays with Kids 2015 Top 10 Awards, the Gold Coast is home to the best family resorts in Australia.  Sea World Resort and Water Park earned top spot for Best Family Resort in Australia over 4 stars, with five other Gold Coast properties also listed in the Top 10. Paradise Resort Gold Coast won Best Family Resort in Australia under 4 stars.“While we’ve known it for years, it’s great to see Australian families agree, the Gold Coast really is Australia’s number one family holiday destination,” Gold Coast Tourism CEO, Martin Winter said.Out & About with Kids and Holidays with Kids have a combined circulation of approximately 90,000. Gold Coast TourismSource = Gold Coast Tourismlast_img read more

17 Aug

Cologne boasts record result with 598 million overnight stays

first_imgCologne boasts record result with 5.98 million overnight staysTourism has again grown sharply in Cologne, with the number of overnight stays rising to 5.98 million in 2015 for the first time. This figure represents an increase of 4.3 per cent on 2014. In 2015 the share of overnight stays by visitors from outside Germany grew by 6.6 per cent relative to the previous year to 2.08 million. Meanwhile, the number of overnight stays by visitors from Germany increased by 3.2 per cent to 3.90 million. The number of arrivals and overnight stays due to business and leisure activities thus rose to a record level.“Last year’s steady increase in visitors and continued substantial growth in the number of overnight stays to almost six million underscore the great potential that the tourism industry has for Cologne as a business location,” says Elisabeth Thelen, Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of Cologne Tourist Board. “The number of overnight stays has doubled since 2000. This development shows how important strategic marketing in cooperation with local and international partners is for the city as a travel destination.” Cologne Tourist Board estimates that tourism generates a gross turnover of €6.6 billion per year.The number of overnight stays in Cologne had grown by 5.1 per cent as of November 2015 and was thus in step with the growth in other major German cities such as Berlin (+5.5 per cent), Hamburg (+5.2 per cent) and Munich (+5 per cent). The ten German cities that are organized in the Magic Cities Germany marketing network registered an average increase of 3 per cent during this same period.“Cologne continued to do well last year. With the addition of 250,000 overnight stays, we have significantly outperformed our target,” says Josef Sommer, Chief Executive Officer of KölnTourismus GmbH. “Although we will face new challenges in 2016, we are optimistic. According to the travel portal TripAdvisor, Cologne is one of the Top 10 trend travel destinations in Europe this year and the city has lots to offer. We will also focus on new areas and address topics that are off the beaten track.”The high visitor numbers have also led to a high occupancy rate at Cologne’s hotels. At 15.6 per cent, Cologne’s RevPAR (revenue per available room) grew at by far the highest rate of any city in Germany. Koln TourismSource = Koln Tourismlast_img read more

17 Aug

Emirates introduces the worlds first amenity kit in Economy class

first_imgEmirates introduces the world’s first amenity kit in Economy classEmirates introduces the world’s first amenity kit in Economy classEmirates has launched the world’s first interactive amenity kit in Economy Class providing a more comfortable travel experience. The stylish new amenity kits utilise augmented reality (AR) technology to unlock immersive content on mobile devices.The kit bags come in six designs inspired by six regions in Emirates’ global network – Australasia, Latin America, Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Far East. The designs incorporate the colours and patterns of each of these regions and the Middle East design, in particular, features Arabic calligraphy by UAE-based artist, Tagelsir Hassan.The kits include all the necessities for additional comfort on long-haul flights including an eye mask, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, and socks – each tailored to the style of the kit bag. The multipurpose pouches are made of Neoprene material – a water resistant fabric – and is designed to be reused after the flight to store anything from devices to cosmetics or stationery.Emirates is the first airline to introduce AR technology with the amenity kits making it the world’s first interactive kit bags. By downloading the Blippar mobile phone app, and using it to scan the bags, customers will be able to unlock a world of entertainment on their mobile devices.Emirates partnered with Blippar, the world’s leading AR and visual discovery platform, to create exclusive content including activities and health tips for a more comfortable and relaxing travel experience. The content will continually be refreshed every six months so customers can look forward to new updates.More broadly, the Blippar app is a Visual Browser which enables customers to discover more about the world around them. Customers can point at thousands of objects already recognised by Blippar (laptops to clothing and food to pets) to get additional information on those items. The content explains the object, the context and other useful and interesting facts – and is sourced from Blippar’s knowledge graph called Blipparsphere. Both the Blippar app and Blipparsphere are powered through Artificial Intelligence technology.The cutting edge bags are part of Emirates’ continued product enhancement to improve comfort and convenience for Economy Class passengers. The entertainment on the app complements Emirates’ award-wining inflight entertainment system – ice Digital Widescreen – which has recently clinched its 12th consecutive award for ‘World’s Best Airline Inflight Entertainment’ at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2016.Passengers across all classes can enjoy over 2,500 channels of entertainment and free Wi-Fi on board all A380s and most B777s.The amenity kits are available on selected long-haul routes and on all ultra-long haul services starting from August.To activate the augmented reality technology with the amenity kits:Download the Blippar app from the Apple Store or Google Play on your mobile deviceScan the designs on the amenity kitsEnjoy immersive content on your mobile devices Emiratesbook your flights hereSource = Emirateslast_img read more

17 Aug

New Caledonia Summer Specials

first_imgSelf-Drive Adventure Grande Terre7 Nights from AU $1,899 pp Hilton Noumea Gourmet Package4 Nights from AU $1,489 pp Chateau Royal Noumea – 4 Nights4 Nights from AU $1,299 pp Hilton & Escapade Island Overwater Bungalow7 Nights from AU $1,669 pp For full details and bookings contact New Caledonia Travel Connection on 1300 108 625, email info@newcaledoniatravel.com.au or visit www.newcaledoniatravel.com.auSource = New Caledonia Travel Connection Chateau Royal Noumea + Oure Tera Isle Of Pines7 Nights from AU $1,899 ppDON’T MISS OUT!Your chance to win a trip!Learn more about our New Caledonia Travel Connection trade incentive HERE New Caledonia: Summer SpecialsSend your clients to experience New Caledonia at its finest with these great summer deals. A gourmet experience in the capital of the South Pacific, a stay in the closest over water bungalows to Australia, a self-drive adventure and a break on the beautiful Isle of Pines will cater for every type of traveller.last_img read more

17 Aug

British Airways announces move to Beijing Daxing

first_imgDaxing AirportBritish Airways announces move to Beijing DaxingBritish Airways has today announced that all direct flights to and from Heathrow and Beijing will move to new state-of-the-art Daxing airport from 27 October 2019, with flights available on ba.com from today.British Airways is the first international airline to confirm it will move all operations to Beijing Daxing, in recognition of its importance in driving travel between China and the UK and its offer of a world-class customer experience.With a massive 52,000m2 available for retail, food and beverage and service, facilities at Beijing Daxing for British Airways’ customers will include over 300 shops and restaurants and for those eligible access to a brand-new partner lounge.The new airport is approximately 50km from both Beijing city centre and the Xiong’an New Area and only 80km from Tianjin. Transport connections to and from Beijing Daxing include four new highways, two new subway lines and a high-speed railway, which will carry customers to Beijing West Station in under 20 minutes. A new terminal station is set to open in the Lize Business District in the next few years.  Customers transferring to other flights will also benefit from its status as the only through check-in airport for foreign airlines in China.Noella Ferns, British Airways’ Executive Vice President in Greater China and the Philippines, said: “We are very excited to be moving to Beijing Daxing. Not only will the new airport offer our customers flying to and from Beijing a world-class experience, with state-of-the-art facilities including an improved lounge for our Club World and First customers; but it will also support our ambition to increase leisure and business travel between China and the UK.”Beijing Daxing, which is due to open in September 2019, will initially house four runways and one terminal building. In the future, it is set to include an additional three runways and a second terminal building, serving 100million customers each year. The move will also help British Airways to strengthen and develop its network through its codeshare agreement with China Southern Airlines, which will also be based at the new airport.The London to Beijing route will continue as a daily service, operated by a Boeing 787-9 in the winter and a Boeing 777-300 in the summer, with four cabins: First, Club World (business class), World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and World Traveller (economy). British Airways’ long-haul flights to and from Beijing include complimentary food and drink, the latest in-flight entertainment, online check-in and free seat selection 24 hours prior to departure.Return fares will start from £387 for World Traveller, £758 for World Traveller Plus, £1,899 for Club World and £2,199 for First. Customers who choose to cut the cost of flights by using Avios part payment, could pay just £187 plus 39,000 Avios. They are able to pick from a range of savings by destination and cabin. Customers making the most of this are still able to collect Avios and Tier Points on their bookings. More examples of these savings can be seen below:World Traveller return fares with Avios:Avios required        Price2,000                         £3675,200                         £34710,600                       £31717,000                       £28728,000                      £237    39,000                      £187British Airways is investing £6.5 billion for its customers over the next five years, including the installation of the best quality Wi-Fi and power in every aircraft seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft. This year the airline is also introducing its Club Suite, a new business class seat with direct aisle access.Source = British Airwayslast_img read more

16 Aug

IRCTC now lets you book train tickets 30 minutes prior to train

first_imgStarting from November 12, you can book a railway ticket on the IRCTC website, 30 minutes before the departure of a train. In a passenger-friendly move, Railways has also made changes in its system of preparation of chart, which would now be prepared twice.The first reservation chart would be prepared four hours prior to departure of a train while second and final one, 30 minutes before the train departs, a senior Railway official said. According to the revised rules, booking would be allowed on the internet as well as at the reservation counters for a particular train, subject to availability of berths, even after the preparation of the first reservation chart.This is a significant move to provide additional booking facilities enabling passengers to buy tickets even after the preparation of reservation charts, the official said. A second and final chart of reservations would be made available before the departure of a train and handed over to on-board ticket checking staff.This exercise would guarantee optimum utilisation of train accommodation as well as enhanced earnings. Also, there were complaints of delay in finalisation of reservation chart giving scope to touts for indulging in illegal ticketing activities.last_img read more

16 Aug

Indian Ministry of Tourism to set up offices abroad

first_imgThe Indian Ministry of Tourism is considering to set up government-run offices in key markets such as the U.S., the UK and Russia to attract more visitors to India. Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma also said that it is planning to set up facilitation centres to address queries of tourists at airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru. With Incredible India 2.0 campaign, the ministry will run market-specific campaigns on it in different countries through local and electronic channels. “A synergy between Incredible India campaign and overseas markets will get us better results. Our offices in different countries would work on a hub and spoke model which will be in sync with our PR agency,” she said. This time the states are also corresponding to the plans and are vying to increase more footfall in international and domestic tourists in the country.last_img read more

16 Aug

The Dave – West for young urban traveller opens in Tel Aviv

first_imgA new low-cost hotel aimed at the young urban traveller has recently opened in Tel Aviv. The Dave – West is the first in a new line of properties owned by the Brown Hotels, providing more accessible accommodations for the young urban traveller and known enmasse as “The Dave – Sons of a Brown.”The 35-room four-storey hotel is located on the corner of Gordon and Ben Yehuda Streets, just a two-minute walk from the Mediterranean Sea and mere steps from the city best in food, drink & retail. Designed by Israeli designer Agnon Granot, The Dave – West is a celebration of 1970's aesthetic, with each room housing its own eclectic assortment of flea market finds and bold use of colour. The lobby is an eye-catching crimson, vintage prints hang on the wall and funky antiques fill the spaces.The Dave – Wests' rooftop will offer guests a Jacuzzi tub and a spa treatment room. At lobby level, guests can convene in “The Yard,” an urban courtyard filled with comfy antique seating for optimal lounging. For breakfast, guests are directed to one of two nearby cafes, both of which are as popular amongst the locals as they are with tourists. There, guests are treated to all day breakfast. The hotel also will boast a pop-up tattoo parlour manned by homegrown Tel Avivian artists, as well as a bespoke barber concept by Barberia.last_img read more

16 Aug

IndiaIsrael flight service a historic moment Israeli Tourism Minister

first_imgIsraeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin on Friday termed the inauguration of the direct flight service between New Delhi and Tel Aviv as a historic moment.He further said the initiative would be very beneficial from the tourism perspective.“It is truly a historic moment in the relations of India and Israel. We will see many more Indian tourists coming to Israel now,” Levin said.As a measure to boost the ties between India-Israel, Air India recently inaugurated its direct flight service between the two capital cities.Air India Chairman Pradeep Singh Kharola and the Director of Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT) Hassan Madah began this new chapter by cutting a cake at the inauguration ceremony.This is also the first flight that will fly over Saudi Arabia covering a shorter route that will save three hours, to complete the journey in mere seven hours.El Al  Israel’s national carrier already operates direct flights between Tel Aviv and Mumbai.last_img read more

15 Aug

Census HUD Expand Access to Housing Survey Results

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Census Bureau HUD Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2013-01-03 Tory Barringer The results of the “”Census Bureau’s””:http://www.census.gov/ and “”HUD’s””:http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD “”American Housing Survey””:http://www.census.gov/housing/ahs/ are now available for the first time ever via the Census’ American FactFinder data access tool, the agencies announced Thursday.[IMAGE]The survey covers a wide range of topics, including housing problems, householder’s satisfaction with home and neighborhood, purchase price and type of mortgage, and socio-economic characteristics of the householder. [COLUMN_BREAK]Statistics are provided on the national level for apartments, single-family homes, manufactured housing, new construction, and vacant housing units.Among the findings from the 2011 survey: * Seventy-one percent of survey respondents rate their homes highly (ratings of eight to 10), with 29 percent giving their homes the “”best”” rating of 10. Residents of new construction tend to rate their homes even more highly, with 84 percent giving a rating above eight and 46 percent rating their homes as a 10.* On average, households pay $927 per month (24 percent of their household income) for housing. The cost is higher for residents of new construction, with median cost being $1,340 per month.* More than a fifth–21 percent–of all primary mortgage holders reported a change in their monthly payment in the last 12 months. The main reason for their payment change was because of a change in property taxes or homeowners insurance (71 percent).Other detailed findings can be found at the “”American FactFinder page””:http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/searchresults.xhtml?refresh=t. Census, HUD Expand Access to Housing Survey Results in Data, Technologycenter_img January 3, 2013 415 Views Sharelast_img read more

15 Aug

NAR Investor Sales Slow Down in 2012 Share Remains Elevated

first_img Investment-home sales in 2012 were down slightly from the year before but remain elevated, while the median price increased, according to a survey from “”National Association of Realtors””:http://www.realtor.org (NAR). [IMAGE]Sales for investment homes fell 2.1 percent to 1.21 million, down from 1.23 million in 2011. Overall, investment sales accounted for 24 percent of sales in 2012, the second highest share since 2005, NAR data revealed. “”Investors have been very active in the market over the past two years, attracted mostly by discounted foreclosures that could be quickly turned into profitable rentals,”” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “”With rising prices and limited inventory, notably in the low price ranges, investors are likely to step back in coming years.””[COLUMN_BREAK] The median price paid for investment homes increased 15 percent to $115,000 in 2012 compared to $100,000 in 2011, NAR reported. Among the investment homes bought last year, 47 percent were distressed. Half of investment buyers also paid cash, while buyers who financed their home provided a median downpayment of 27 percent. Investment buyers generally stayed close to home and bought homes that were a median distance of 21 miles from their residence, and 35 percent also bought more than one property. However, just 6 percent of homes purchased by investment buyers last year have already been sold, up slightly from 5 percent in 2011. Another 8 percent plan to sell within a year. “”Property flipping modestly increased in in 2012,”” Yun added. “”However, this isn’t flipping in the sense of what took place during the housing boom. Rather, investors generally are renovating and improving properties before placing them back on the market to resell at a profit.””Overall, investment buyers plan to hold their property for a median of 8 years, up from 5 years in 2011.More than half, or 55 percent, of investment buyers said they bought the home for rental income, while 30 percent wanted to diversify their investments or saw a good opportunity, and another 20 percent wanted to use the home for vacations or as a family retreat.NAR also profiled characteristics of investment buyers and found the median age was 45 and annual income was $87,500. in Data, Origination Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Home Prices Home Sales Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers National Association of Realtors Service Providers 2013-04-02 Esther Chocenter_img April 2, 2013 390 Views NAR: Investor Sales Slow Down in 2012, Share Remains Elevatedlast_img read more

15 Aug

Nine Cities Show Increases in SPCaseShiller Home Price Indices

first_img in Daily Dose, Featured, News Home prices were a mixed bag in December with nine cities showing increases, six cities recording decreases, and five cities showing relatively flat changes.The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, released Tuesday, show the national housing index fell 0.1 percent from November to December. However, the 10- and 20-city indices instead rose with a slight increase of 0.1 percent month-to-month.”The housing recovery is faltering. While prices and sales of existing homes are close to normal, construction and new home sales remain weak,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.  “Before the current business cycle, any time housing starts were at their current level of about one million at annual rates, the economy was in a recession.”Miami led the 20 major cities in month-to-month measures with an increase of 0.7 percent with Denver coming in at a close second with an increase of 0.5 percent. Chicago and Detroit were among the cities that showed declined with a 0.9 percent and 0.5 percent in pricing.All three indices showed growth in December compared to November. Both the 10- and 20-city composites showed slight increases, while the National Index slowed from a 4.7 percent increase in November to 4.6 percent.According to Blitzer, movements in the price index reflect regional patterns.”The western half of the nation plus Miami and Atlanta enjoyed year-over-year increases of 5 percent or more. Phoenix was an exception to the western strength with only a 2.4 percent increase. The Midwest and Northeast lagged. Boston was the strongest among this weak group,” he said. “The weakness in new construction and new sales may reflect decreasing mobility – fewer people moving to different parts of the country or seeking jobs in different regions.”Twelve cities showed a faster rise in prices over the year in December with San Francisco ranking highest at 9.3 percent and Miami ranking second at 8.4 percent. Among the cities with a faster rise were Cleveland, Denver and Seattle, while Las Vegas led the declining cities with a drop from 7.7 to 6.9 percent. February 24, 2015 544 Views Nine Cities Show Increases in S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indicescenter_img Home Prices Housing Market S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices 2015-02-24 Seth Welborn Sharelast_img read more

15 Aug

Fannie Mae Releases February 2015 National Housing Survey

first_imgFannie Mae Releases February 2015 National Housing Survey Consumers were more optimistic toward the economy than they’ve been at any point in the last five years, according to Fannie Mae’s February 2015 National Housing Survey released Monday.The percentage of respondents who said they believe the economy is on the right track increased by 3 percentage points since January’s survey up to 47 percent, an all-time high since the survey began nearly five years ago. The rise in consumer optimism is largely attributed to recent employment gains, which totaled nearly 300,000 for February and averaged 266,000 per month in the last 12 months, according to the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In that same BLS report, the nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent, its lowest level in nearly seven years.Also hitting an all-time high for Fannie Mae’s housing survey was the percentage of respondents who said they believe it is easier to get a mortgage today (54 percent). The share of respondents who said they believe it would be difficult to get a mortgage dropped by 4 percentage points to an all-time survey low of 43 percent.”Continuing improvements in consumer attitudes in this month’s National Housing Survey lend support to our expectation that 2015 will be a year of the economy dragging housing upward,” said Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The share of consumers who think the economy is on the right track rose to a record high since the inception of the survey nearly five years ago and for the first time exceeded the share who believe it’s on the wrong track. Consumer confidence seems to be getting a boost from employment growth. This is reflected in their views on the ease of getting a mortgage today, which also reached a survey high in February.”One area where Duncan said needs improvement in order for the prediction of the economy “dragging housing upward” to come true is in the area of wage gains. According to the BLS employment report released last week, the average hourly wage increased from January to February by only 3 cents up to $24.78 – after rising by 12 cents from December to January.While the percentage of respondents in Fannie Mae’s survey who said they believe home prices will go up in the next 12 months declined to 46 percent, the share who said home prices will go down also declined, to 6 percent. The percentage who said mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months increased to 48 percent.Those numbers combined with the attitudes of survey respondents regarding their finances and income does not bode well for housing. About 46 percent of respondents said they expect their personal finances to get better in the next 12 months, representing a decline from January. The percentage of respondents who said their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago declined by 5 percentage points, down to 24 percent.According to Fannie Mae, the percentage of survey respondents who said they expected to buy a home the next time they move declined by 1 percentage point but still was reported at 65 percent for February.”We continue to see strength in attitudes about the current home buying and selling environment and consistently high shares of consumers saying they expect to buy a home on their next move,” Duncan said. “At the same time, we still need to see further growth in consumer optimism toward personal finances and income for more robust improvement in housing market attitudes.”http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/research-and-analysis/housing-survey.htmlhttp://www.fanniemae.com/resources/file/research/housingsurvey/pdf/nhs-monthly-data-030915.pdf Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featuredcenter_img Bureau of Labor Statistics Doug Duncan Fannie Mae National Housing Survey 2015-03-09 Samantha Guzman March 9, 2015 562 Views last_img read more

15 Aug

Freddie Macs Q2 Net Income Increases Ninefold

first_img August 4, 2015 534 Views Freddie Mac Ninefold Q2 Net Income Treasury 2015-08-04 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Freddie Mac’s Q2 Net Income Increases Ninefoldcenter_img Freddie Mac’s net income soared for the second quarter of 2015, totaling $4.2 billion—nearly nine times the GSE’s Q1 net income of $524 million, according to an announcement from Freddie Mac on Tuesday.Also for Q2, Freddie Mac reported $3.9 billion in comprehensive income, a five-fold increase from Q1’s total of $746 million. With the inclusion of September 2015’s Dividend Obligation of $3.9 billion, Freddie Mac will have returned $96.5 billion to taxpayers. Dividend payments do not include the $71.3 billion bailout Freddie Mac received from Treasury in 2008.”Our very solid financial results show that Freddie Mac, while in conservatorship, is building a strong operating business model that represents taxpayers well and is efficiently serving U.S. homebuyers and renters. We continue to invest in improving the customer experience, and we lead the industry in reducing the taxpayers’ exposure to mortgage credit risk,” said Donald H. Layton, CEO of Freddie Mac. “Also, we continue to make progress on our 2015 Conservatorship Scorecard objectives, which support our mission of providing liquidity, stability and affordability to the mortgage market, including responsibly increasing access to affordable housing for America’s families in a safe and sound way.”The single-family purchase volume for Freddie Mac increased from Q1 to Q2 by about $20 billion, up to a total of $101.2 billion. Through Structured Agency Credit Risk (STACR) debt notes and Agency Credit Insurance Structure (ACIS) reinsurance transactions, Freddie Mac transferred a portion of single-family credit risk on $94.2 billion in unpaid principal balance (UPB) in Q2. Since the STACR program began in 2013, Freddie Mac has transferred a portion of credit risk on almost $344 billion in UPB of single-family mortgages, according to Freddie Mac.The Enterprise has helped 15.2 million homeowners buy, rent, or keep their homes since the start of 2009, just four months after the conservatorship began. About 11.7 million of those were single-family homes funded by Freddie Mac, and 2.3 million of them were multi-family homes. The GSE has also helped 1.1 million homeowners avoid foreclosure in the last six and a half years through either permanent loan modifications, forbearance or repayment plans, or a non-retention solution such as a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. Since 2009, Freddie Mac has provided $2.7 trillion in liquidity to the mortgage market.Freddie Mac’s net income for Q2 of $4.2 billion was more than half of the Enterprise’s total net income for all of 2014, which was $7.7 billion. In 2013, Freddie Mac’s net income was $48 billion. Sharelast_img read more