Redfin Buyer Interest Up Amid Inventory Shortage

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Demand For-Sale Homes Home Sales Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers Redfin Service Providers 2013-03-06 Tory Barringer March 6, 2013 443 Views in Data, Origination Redfin: Buyer Interest Up Amid Inventory Shortagecenter_img Share Buyer demand continues to climb as 2013 marches on, according to results in “”Redfin’s””: most recent Real-Time Demand Pulse.[IMAGE]The March survey, which uses data collected from February, shows buyer interest rising against a backdrop of low inventory.””After an extremely strong January, tours and offers continued climbing in February, despite a continued decline in new listings and increasing frustration among buyers,”” Redfin analyst Tim Ellis wrote on the company’s “”blog””: “”As more buyers begin searching for a home, they find themselves competing for fewer homes for sale, [COLUMN_BREAK]resulting in high levels of activity on nearly every well-priced home that hits the market.””According to Redfin’s data, the number of customers requesting tours from the broker’s agents gained 6.1 percent month-over-month from January. Last year, tour requests declined 3.7 percent between January and February.Meanwhile, the number of customers making offers with Redfin agents rose 20.3 percent month-over-month, a modest improvement compared to the 27.7 percent gain observed at the same time in 2012.While Ellis noted the number of customers making offers always increases “”dramatically”” at the start of the year, the last week in February saw 267 percent more customers making offers than during the holiday slump, a significant improvement over the 168 percent gain in the same period last year.””A strong display of buyer activity and steadily rising prices is adding up to increasing seller confidence, but so far it hasn’t been enough to motivate enough sellers to notably improve the inventory situation,”” Ellis wrote. “”It is unlikely that the balance will change much over the next few months, but we could see more sellers jump into the market if the spring home-buying season is as intense as it is currently shaping up to be.””last_img read more

Forecast Prices to Rise in Most Top50 Metros in Second Half of

first_img in Data Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Home Prices Home Values Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2013-07-02 Krista Franks Brock July 2, 2013 425 Views Forty-five of the top 50 metropolitan markets will experience yearly price increases during the second half of the year, according to “”Clear Capital’s Home Data Index Market Report””: released Tuesday. [IMAGE]This widespread forecast of price increases “”speaks to this move toward a more balanced, broad-based recovery,”” said Alex Villacorta, VP of research and analytics at Clear Capital. Bakersfield, California, is expected to lead national price gains with a 5.2 percent price increase through the end of this year. Las Vegas comes in as a close second in Clear Capital’s forecast with a projected price growth of 5 percent. Las Vegas posted the highest quarterly price gain in the second quarter–an increase of 4.4 percent. The Bakersfield metro posted a notable jump from 29th place in Clear Capital’s first-quarter report to first place in the second quarter report. [COLUMN_BREAK]””This leap is an example of the fundamentals driving the overall recovery, Clear Capital said, adding also that Bakersfield “”serves as a reminder that the recovery continues to unfold market by market.”” After, Bakersfield and Las Vegas, the top five metros for projected price gains through the end of the year are rounded out by Chicago; Sacramento, California; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with gains of 4.9 percent, 4.8 percent, and 4.4 percent, respectively. Clear Capital expects the Cleveland metro to fare the worst for the remainder of the year with a 2.2 percent price decline. Raleigh, North Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Denver, Colorado, are the only other metros out of the top 50 with anticipated price depreciations over the remainder of the year, according to Clear Capital. However, the analytics firm expects price decreases of less than 0.5 percent in each. “”At the metro level, we saw some subtle, yet notable trends unfold in June,”” Villacorta said. “”While price trends continued to diverge at the micro market level, they are for the most part positive. At a national level, Clear Capital revised its 2.6 percent projected price gain over the year this year up to 6 percent. While lower than the current yearly gain of 8.6 percent, this forecast is still greater than historical norms, which rank between 4 and 5 percent. While it is notable that some markets are experiencing double-digit gains, “”[s]eeing the bulk of major metros move into positive territory is truly good news, even if their gains are still in the single digits,”” Villacorta said.center_img Forecast: Prices to Rise in Most Top-50 Metros in Second Half of 2013 Sharelast_img read more

5 Reasons Incentive Compensation Plans Should be Part of Your 2016 Growth

first_img 2016 Growth Strategy Incentive Compensation Plans LBA Ware 2015-12-23 Staff Writer 5 Reasons Incentive Compensation Plans Should be Part of Your 2016 Growth Strategy in Commentary, Daily Dose, Headlines, News As the year of TRID comes to an end, the focus is now shifting towards driving profitability through increased productivity and operational efficiency. The foundation of success for this lies in frequently monitoring and measuring performance and having the ability to make seamless adjustments when necessary.Incentive compensation plans (ICP) are a practical way to monitor origination performance by aligning compensation structures next to key indicators of efficiency. Here are five benefits of using ICP as part of your growth strategy and how automation and integration software makes implementing ICP’s achievable.1. Effectively MotivatesICPs effectively motivate origination teams by clearly outlining expectations, defining incentives, and juxtaposing them next to potential earnings and branch revenue. Doing so makes it easy to track progress; loan originators know how many units they need to close until they are bumped to the next compensation tier level, processors are aware of how their average turnaround time from application through closing compares to that of the branch’s average, and branch managers can continuously monitor plan effectiveness or identify underperforming LO’s in need of improvement. Presenting ICPs and performance data in an organized, comprehensible way provides a cost-effective means to continuously motivate and reinforce desired behaviors that drive growth.Kelley Martins, Marketing Manager at LBA Ware2. Recruiting ToolStanding out from the crowd in today’s competitive mortgage landscape requires taking a new approach to traditional compensation structures. Offering ICPs that are built around individuals skills, experience, strengths, and expertise will be the golden ticket to recruiting qualified high performing loan officers. With integration and automation, lenders can offer creative yet complex compensation plans that illustrate recognition of the loan officer’s value brought to the company by drawing a direct link from individual performance to the overall success of the branch. Whether using financial performance measures such as variable commission rates based on tiers of revenue attainment or through more non-financial means such as quarterly bonuses for loan quality, or a combination of both, ICPs make a powerful recruitment tool for acquiring high performing sales teams.3. Invest Today, Grow TomorrowIntegration and automation software enables ICPs to drive strategy and operational efficiency by eliminating redundant and manual administrative tasks that all too often bog down teams. The return on investment becomes evident in the day-to-day work; there’s a decrease in distractions for compensation managers because payroll reports are readily available across the enterprise; there’s no longer any shadow accounting being done by loan officers because they have complete transparency into compensation practices; and managers no longer operate reactively to situations since they have the essential mortgage performance information they need to make data-driven forward-thinking decisions.4. Risk ManagementWith the countless regulations and compliance requirements faced by lenders today, implementing ICPs may seem like a daunting task. Quite the contrary actually. By utilizing automation and integration, you’re lowering risks that otherwise come with using spreadsheets or other disparate systems to manually calculate complex compensation plans and monitor productivity. You’ll ensure integrity and plan effectiveness through reduced errors of manual processes and accuracy in calculations, increase productivity with streamlined validation and approval workflow, and experience improved audits with detailed audit trails that track every transaction tied to employees at the loan level and breakdown exactly how compensation is calculated.5. Inspires Collective ProductivityIt goes without saying that loan origination is, without a doubt, a team sport, relying heavily on the efforts of multiple people in order to succeed. One of the best ways to promote teamwork is by designing ICPs that are based on collective performance and extend beyond sales departments. Using concrete performance indicators that can be measured at the enterprise, branch, and individual levels makes identifying where inefficiencies exist effortless.Furthermore, when people know their compensation relies on the performance of others, there’s an added sense of inherent accountability to make sure loans are originated with upmost attention to detail. Doing so will keep cost-to-close low and performance high across the entire loan origination cycle.A successful branch manager realizes the importance and power of effectively motivating origination teams. In turn, to feel motivated, one must understand exactly what is expected. The key to achieving this efficiently is by using automation and integration for ICPs. Web-based software such as LBA Ware’s CompenSafe seamlessly integrates with LOS’, automatically pulling essential loan data in real time, linking it to predefined compensation structures and delivering the big data through role-based user interfaces. As a centralized database, CompenSafe provides a single place to perform the multi-dimensional analysis, frequent forecasting, and performance management essential to increasing profitability. Make 2016 a year of growth by setting up your team with these tools for increased productivity and your branch will achieve long-term sustainable success for many more years to come.Click here to learn more about LBA Ware.center_img Share December 23, 2015 773 Views last_img read more

EnergyProducing States Facing Housing Price Drops

first_img June 28, 2016 515 Views Share The likelihood of home price declines across the United States in general over the next two years remained unchanged from last quarter, but a few markets could be looking at significant odds of price drops, according to the Summer 2016 Housing and Mortgage Market Review by Arch Mortgage Insurance (MI) Company.Nationally, Arch MI put the risk of price declines at 5 percent, which is where it was in Q1. But some areas in the energy-extraction states (coal, oil, and natural gas) remained at heightened risk and may experience slower than normal economic and home price growth.According to the report, North Dakota has a 52 percent chance of a price decline of any magnitude over the next two years. Arch MI attributed this primarily to a 3.9 percent drop in year-over-year total employment, which is the largest employment decline in the U.S. North Dakota’s home prices are also estimated to be overvalued by 21 percent, relative to historic norms, the report stated.Wyoming’s outlook didn’t fare much better, with that state facing a 46 percent chance of declines through 2018. This is in part due to the fact that Wyoming’s mining and energy-related jobs “continue to contract faster than can be offset by growth in other sectors, such as tourism,” Arch MI reported. “Additionally, the number of homes listed for sale in Wyoming is now 20 percent higher than a year ago.”West Virginia held at a 35 percent risk, unchanged due to the state’s swath of layoffs in the coal mining industry and a 1.5 percent state-wide drop in employment from one year ago.Local markets in other energy-producing states, such as Texas, showed notable risks of coming price drops. Houston is facing a 39 percent chance of declines, followed by Fort Worth/Arlington, which is at 16 percent risk. Statewide, Texas is facing a 16 percent risk of declines.However, these examples are not typical of what Arch expects over the next two years.“Apart from some weakness in some energy-extraction states, home prices should rise faster than inflation over the next few years due to strong fundamentals,” said Arch MI economist Ralph DeFranco. “Positive fundamentals include strong affordability, healthy job growth (2.7 million net new jobs over the past 12 months, but the pace slowed recently) and net household formations outpacing new supply.”Click here to view the complete Arch MI report. Arch Mortgage Insurance Home Prices 2016-06-28 Seth Welborncenter_img Energy-Producing States Facing Housing Price Drops in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Newslast_img read more

Mnuchin Named Treasury Secretary

first_imgMnuchin Named Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinAlthough his journey was rough, Steven Mnuchin, former Goldman Sachs and OneWest executive, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 77th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury on Monday evening.Leading up to the final vote, some Democratic members insinuated that his businesses aided in the financial crisis of 2008 during his Senate Confirmation hearing on January 19. When it came time to vote on January 31, Senate Democrats staged a boycott, which Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called “abysmal.”“This has never happened before, that we’ve had this kind of treatment of cabinet officials,” Hatch said. “This is the most pathetic thing I’ve seen in my whole time in the United States Senate.”Ed Delgado, President of The Five Star Institute and former Wells Fargo executive, called Mnuchin a “competent choice” for Treasury Secretary. “His plans to roll back burdensome regulations and advance GSE reform will help foster progress and growth in the industry and the economy,” Delgado said. “He should not be labeled as the architect behind the 2008 financial crisis. The reality is that Mnuchin’s leadership during his tenure at OneWest defended American homeowners by making available programs that offered loan modifications to eligible borrowers.”Michael S. Barr—an architect of Dodd-Frank, the former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Institutions, and a financial reform expert at the University of Michigan Law School—issued the following statement regarding Steven Mnuchin’s role as Treasury Secretary:“With a new Treasury Secretary in place, the Administration’s focus will now shift to the substance of financial reform. Will they continue to propose gutting consumer and investor protections and removing the guardrails put in place after the financial crisis, or will they actually focus on investing in communities, including real community bank relief? As I argued in a recent Russell Sage Foundation journal on this topic, the Treasury and independent agencies should work to deepen our oversight of shadow banking, reduce reliance on hot money, and strengthen consumer and investor protections. We need to make the financial system safer and fairer, and focus on helping households and businesses, rather than return to the practices that brought us the devastating Financial Crisis of 2008.” When Mnuchin was nominated by President Trump, he indicated that he would roll back key provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010 to regulate Wall Street. He also said he would end the governmental conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.Mnuchin succeeds Jacob Lew, who served as Treasury Secretary for almost four years before stepping down on January 20. Adam Szubin served as interim Treasury Secretary while awaiting Mnuchin’s confirmation.(Editor’s note: This is a developing story. Please check back for more information.) February 13, 2017 623 Views Sharecenter_img Government Steven Mnuchin Treasury secretary U.S. Department of Treasury 2017-02-13 Mirasha Brown in Featured, Government, Newslast_img read more

Trump Economic Forecasts in Question

first_img Share in Government, Headlines, News February 20, 2017 534 Views Trump Economic Forecasts in Questioncenter_img Government Trump Administration 2017-02-20 Ryan Schuette The Trump administration has come up with some initial economic projections that forecast a rosy future for the country, but a number of economists and observers are questioning what they’ve seen from reports thus far. According to a story by the Wall Street Journal’’s Nick Timiraos, who reportedly spoke on background with several sources, the new administration put together projections that showed U.S. gross domestic product reaching between 3 percent and 3.5 percent annually. The Journal reported that administration officials have done away with any formal budgetary process in producing these forecasts, and instead plugged in numbers consistent with their goals. “What’s unusual about the administration’s forecasts isn’t just their relative optimism but also the process by which they were derived,” Vox reported Timiraos writing. According to CNBC, President Donald Trump has vowed to increase economic growth in the United States to that magic number over the next decade. “My great economists don’t want me to say this, but I think we can do better than that,” the news outlet reported President Trump telling the Economic Club of New York in a speech last year.For comparison, the U.S. economy has averaged about 2 percent each year since around the time of the financial crisis, according to the Journal.Though some are in favor of President Trump’s economic forecasts, critics from independent outlets and organizations were quick to note that the forecasts clash with more reliable and nonpartisan reports.According to the Journal, these included much-less-rosier forecasts published by the Congressional Budget Office and Federal Reserve, both of which project less than 2 percent in GDP growth over the same time in question.Writing for the New York Times, Paul Krugman, a professor of economics, voiced his opinion by stating the reports as “economic arrogance” in an op-ed published Monday.“There is, as far as we can tell, no serious analysis behind this optimism,” Krugman wrote. The WSJ reported that administration officials have since revised their internal forecasts. last_img read more

Raising the Standards of Success

first_imgRaising the Standards of Success credit loss standard HOUSING mortgage success 2017-11-26 Jeffrey Zuckerman November 26, 2017 671 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, News, Print Featurescenter_img Share The credit loss standard (CECL) issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) overhauls the current impairment models for loans, leases, and debt securities and also impacts commitments. It removes the “probable” threshold under the “incurred loss model” for recognizing credit losses. We will explore the new CECL Standards interms of what they do and how they impact the financial Industry, and what it will take to implement CECL in summary.Then we’ll take a look at preliminary disclosure format examples: scope, sample sizes, and data requirement. We’ll close with a review of how Mortgage Industry Advisory Company (MIAC) is helping our clients prepare.Overview of the RulesFirms will be required to report the current estimate of lifetime loan losses, incorporated into the Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses (ALLL): thusly, CECL brings fair value into the ALLL. While a DCF approach was considered by FASB in exposure drafts, the final standard allows any approach, as long as it is reasonable. Institutions, auditors, and regulators will decide, so early discussions areencouraged.Both quantitative and qualitative methods are to be utilized jointly in a process that is generally described. Although there is a strong a bias to the use of cash flow models with assumptions powered based on quantitative data and “reasonable” scenarios, a justified historical loss-based result, which is quantitative only, could suffice.The basis of Allowance Estimates is that CECL requires that estimates be based on relevant information about past events, including both qualitative and quantitative factors such as Historical loss experience with similar assets, then-current conditions, including evaluations of the borrower’s creditworthiness, and reasonable and supportable forecasts that affect the expected collectability of the financial assets’ remaining contractual cash flows.Historical experience is quantitative information, so many models are based on it. Reasonable forecasts and conditions assessments are qualitative in nature as they must provide a forecast direction and estimate. Any factors not otherwise addressed in the final process arelikely to be qualitative in nature.Other qualitative factors include:Changes in lending policies and procedures, collections, etc.Changes in the experience of management and staffChanges in the quality of the loan review systemFinancial assets carried at amortized cost less a loss allowance will reflect the current expected cash flows to be collected and the income statement will reflect the credit deterioration or improvement.If financial assets are carried at fair value with changes in fair value recognized through other comprehensive income (OCI), the balance sheet would reflect the fair value, but the income statement would reflect credit deterioration or improvement.Under some circumstances, the institution can elect not to recognize expected credit losses on assets held at fair value. The conditions are that both the FV exceeds or equals the amortized cost, and ifexpected, credit losses are insignificant.What Will it take to Implement CECL?An array of new processes will be required, including but not limited to management, governance, risk reporting, controls, and functional integration.Program management will be the start, as will be newfound coordination among functional areas such as finance, originations, credit, operations and technology, and a revised governance and riskmanagement framework.Segmentation of loan, lease, and debt portfolios into clearly identifiable portions with similar and discrete characteristics is the next step. This means specific identification and description of thecharacteristics of the assets will be used to model probability of default (POD) and loss given default (LGD) to make the ALLL processes Basel compliant, plus development of specific credit risk modeling and forecasting models and tools.FASB will require institutions to develop well-documented data management and data quality processes. Validated Extract-Transform-&-Load (ETL) systems and procedures and data quality reporting must be created.Next, firms will identify control points in the origination and operations areas to ensure adequate support and data capture, and integration of new tools within Financial and Regulatory ReportingProcedures.Importantly, dual (jurisdiction?) reporting institutions—CECL and IFRS 9—firms will need to:Handle 12-month (IFRS 9) versus lifetime (CECL) credit loss projections and reporting in models and report generation; and Estimate credit losses for future draws on commitments for IFRS andfor commitments that cannot be unconditionally canceled for CECL.Planning for CECLThere are definite steps that organizations need to take to prepare for integrating these standards. This will start with defining a revised governance standard for CECL, establishing a steeringcommittee/task force with members currently in high-level positions infinance, originations, credit, and operations who have management backing. This team needs to be given budget and action authority to implement prescribed procedures.Then, as required, firms will need to identify appropriate external consultants and partners who can participate and contribute to the process, and should seek ways to integrate them into the processearly. These firms should be able to create and/or evaluate models for conformance with the new standards.Next, these teams will determine the resource needs involved in each area and inventory what exists today, beginning with performing initial portfolio segmentation of all loan, lease, and debt assetsheld, determine what data is needed, and what models and the technology needs by portfolio.The committee will need to examine existing models and methods used in the ALLL process to determine which have the potential to meet the new requirements. Generally, cash flow forecasting models offer potential, and static models do not. Firms will perform pilot evaluations of the potential impact of CECL on the financial statements and the organization over the next two years, and then develop revisions to policies and procedures, to audit policies, and to model riskmanagement practices.These findings will be used to build the “how-to” document or “roadmap”. Key objectives and milestones should be set along these lines:SegmentationWarehousingMetricsModelingScenariosPortfolio Segmentation: Segment the loan, lease, and debt portfolio into meaningful segments, so that then, firms can appropriately define data elements needed for each. This leads to identification of the critical statistical drivers of performance, which will be used in themodeling and reporting, and defining data models.Establish Data Warehousing: The CECL plan should include the data warehousing and capture infrastructure, tools and data models required, which will require implementation of powerful data capture methods, in monthly snapshots, including credit data and performancedata. Firms will need to obtain and reconstruct as much historical data as possible, plus review existing and alternative models, research credit modeling, loss modeling, and voluntary prepaymentsmodeling.Firms must identify models that can be used or repurposed for different products, internal and external, and identify leverage opportunities and efficiency gains from current models, processes,workgroups, and modeling approaches (ALLL, DFAST, or internal vs.vendor models).Develop Metrics and Assumptions: MIAC helps firms use these data models to develop key reporting metrics and descriptions of the drivers used in the credit, loss, and prepayment models; determineassumptions; and drive the building of a descriptive narrative of all the models selected and the processes to be used.Model Design and Development: Institutions will utilize the warehouses and the tools to develop historical analysis and internal models, and integrate results with existing systems. The task will be to expand these systems to handle scenario inputs, develop financial and managerial reporting format, as FASB will require lenders to define and explain the use of any credit-grading systems and otherqualitative inputs to the ALLL process.Design Reasonable Scenarios: CECL urges banks to develop a narrative to explain the basis of the scenarios and why they are deemed to be reasonable. Regulators will review the scenario rationales with senior management, so institutions are preparing currently with externalconsultants and auditors.Firms will begin parallel test runs of the CECL ALLL process and the existing process, and test the process and the models and back-testing models. The challenge is to identify differences (size), volatility in results and capital impacts, and evaluate strategic considerationsacross product lines. Naturally, product pricing, origination standards, processing, collections, and operations will be of the essence.The CECL Committee is encouraged to write narratives, and work closely with auditors and external partners to finalize the narratives and reporting.last_img read more

Going Going Gone… Home Sales to Increase in 2018

first_img Share homes Housing Market mortgage Prices real estate Sellers U.S. 2018-01-11 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Going, Going, Gone… Home Sales to Increase in 2018center_img Will the housing market smile on homebuyers or sellers in 2018? According to a report released by real estate portal We Buy, 2018 will continue to be a seller’s market in more than 70 percent of suburban markets across the U.S.The report, which was released on Thursday, indicated that nationally, home prices are expected to rise again in more than 60 percent of U.S. markets, and are expected to stay the same in about 34 percent. Home prices are expected to rise 4 percent to 8 percent in major suburban markets with a median increase of 5.5 percent, even as home prices are predicted to rise from a median of $248,000 in December 2017 to $262,000 by the end of this year.In terms of inventory, the report expects lower inventory in over 31 percent of local markets, with inventory increasing in only about 22 percent of the housing market this year. While the cost of labor is expected to rise in around 48 percent of the markets the availability of contractors is expected to remain tight. Cost of materials however will remain the same in about 51.2 percent of the markets.The report expects Southern U.S. to emerge as the hottest region with local market experts expecting home prices to rise along with the cost of labor and materials, in part due to the residual effects of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Inventory is expected to remain about the same as 2017, a year in which housing inventory in the South was very tight. On the other hand, Western U.S. continues to remain the most competitive region with prices in prime suburban markets of San Diego, California and Colorado Springs, Colorado expected to continue their rising streak as inventories remain constrained in these areas. January 11, 2018 633 Views last_img read more

FloridaBased Bank to be Acquired

first_img June 28, 2019 207 Views in Headlines, News Rushmore Loan Management Services, LLC, a residential mortgage servicer, announced that it has signed an Asset Purchase Agreement to acquire the correspondent lending channel of FirstBank, a Florida-based correspondent platform, and accompanying proprietary Fusion lending technology.“We are thrilled about this transaction,” said Terry Smith, CEO of the California-based Rushmore. “FirstBank has developed an outstanding correspondent lending business under Bill Scammell’s leadership and we are very excited to welcome him and his team to our organization. In addition to expanding the universe of loan servicing offerings that we are able to provide to our customers, we expect that it will also increase our visibility into the broader mortgage lending space— enabling us to gain valuable market insights that can be leveraged across many different facets of our business.”“We are very excited to join the Rushmore platform, build this business to a larger scale, and take advantage of new opportunities such as having a strong appetite for government loans,” said Bill Scammell, FirstBank’s Director of Correspondent Lending. “These are highly complementary businesses, and we fully expect that joining Rushmore will enable us to accelerate the growth of both Rushmore’s core servicing platform and the correspondent channel.”The acquisition is targeted to close in the third quarter of 2019. 2019-06-28 Mike Albanesecenter_img Florida-Based Bank to be Acquired Sharelast_img read more


first_imgMyanmarScenic The Nine Network’s Getaway will be showcasing Scenic’s luxury river cruise along Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River on both 18 and 25 March – all experienced and seen through the eyes of Ray Martin!Onboard Scenic Aura for the voyage from Mandalay to Yangon, Ray explores Mandalay, Myinmu, Yandabo and Bagan in episode one, and Salay, Magwe and Thayetmyo in the second program.Book now to join Scenic’s 14 day Mystical Irrawaddy Cruise & Tour and fly free*. Includes a 10 night luxury cruise on the Irrawaddy River plus a tour of Yangon and Mandalay. Priced from $8,990 per person.Getaway viewers will also get a free suite upgrade on selected cabins valued at up to $1,200.*Travel dates & conditions applylast_img read more

Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute ri

first_img Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke The Cardinals have one vacant spot on the coaching staffthat needs to be filled — QB coach — and the names thatkeep popping up for the job are fairly impressive.Former head coaches Todd Haley and Hue Jackson have beenlinked to the Cards, and now Steelers offensive coordinatorBruce Arians has seen his name come up in the conversation.Former Steelers OC Bruce Arians still intending to retire but has had talks with teams, including AZ. Has ties to their staff #insideslant— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 24, 2012 D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’center_img 0 Comments Share Top Stories Arians, 59, reportedly retired from the Steelers only because the team did not offer him a contract extension. That, of course, would open the door for him to continue his coaching career somewhere else, and as LaCanfora notes, there are ties to the staff in Arizona.Arians would likely be a good fit in Arizona not only because of his familiarity with the coaching staff and schemes, but also his work with QB Ben Roethlisberger. Say what you want about the guy as a person, but there is little doubt Big Ben has turned into one of the game’s best signal callers over the years, and Arians played a significant role in his development. In fact, Arians was so important to Roethlisberger that the QB publicly campaigned for the coach to keep his job after the 2009 season and is not at all happy to see him go now. The main reason he was let go, supposedly, is the Steelers’ desire to go back to the run-based offense they were known for instead of the pass-heavy system they featured the last couple seasons. Arians has been Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator since being promoted to the job in 2007, replacing Ken Whisenhunt when he left to lead the Cardinals. He was the team’s receivers coach prior to then.last_img read more

Top Stories

first_img Top Stories The truth is we don’t really know what kind of QB he is; he hasn’t played enough games to determine if he’s destined for stardom or the clipboard.Now familiar with the offense, it’s up to Kolb to not only play well, but play. – / 15 Even QBs playing behind great offensive lines get hit. Should he win the starting job, Kevin Kolb will not be playing behind a great offensive line.Just because a QB gets hit — hard — does not mean he should get hurt. While injuries do happen, the majority of contact does not lead to players exiting the game and missing time.As it goes, no matter how good a player might be he is of little use to a team if he can’t be on the field. Unfortunately for Kolb he’s not a Peyton Manning, as he has no history of success to fall back on.Sure there have been moments, but they have been fleeting. Fortunately for Kolb his poor performance in Canton, along with his injury history, will not cost him the starting job. It was his job to lose in training camp, and it’s still far too early in the process to assume John Skelton will be under center for the September 9 season opener.But time is running out for Kolb to prove he should get the job. Sooner or later he’ll run out of opportunities. Friday’s game in Kansas City is another chance for the former Eagle to step up and claim the job he was handed one year ago.It was thought last season that Kolb’s lack of familiarity with the Cardinals had an adverse effect on his performance, and the various injuries he suffered prevented him from showing what he could do. 0 Comments Share You know what was weird about seeing Kevin Kolb lying on the field last Sunday in pain, injured?Not the fact that the QB was hurt, as that happens far too often. But the reaction from the media and Cardinals fans alike to Kolb exiting the game was more indifferent than upset, more understanding than scared. The team’s starting quarterback was injured in the team’s first preseason game and yet there were no tweets about how the season was over and no commentary about how a Cardinals team without Kolb under center is one that can prepare for another top-10 draft pick next April. Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaycenter_img D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation The truth is the only thing Kolb going down led to were groans and thoughts of “here we go again”. That’s what happens when you have yet to win anyone’s confidence. Kolb has been unable to stay on the field long enough to prove what kind of quarterback he is, and his track record is a mixed bag of competence, excellence and downright awful QB play. Is the 27-year-old the QB who threw for 247 yards and one touchdown in a win over the Cowboys last year, or is he the guy who completed just half of his passes and was picked off twice in Minnesota against the Vikings? Maybe Kolb is something in between, a decent quarterback who could be effective if there are quality pieces around him, especially along the offensive line. As NFC West blogger Mike Sando points out, the protection Kolb received against the Saints was less-than-stellar. But even though Kolb was the recipient of some tough hits — including the one by Sedrick Ellis that knocked him out of the game — the simple truth is this is a quarterback who needs to prove not that he’s tough (seriously, can you make it to the NFL and not be tough?), but that his body can withstand the punishment of playing in the NFL.last_img read more

Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impa

first_img Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 0 Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Now that the Arizona Cardinals’ 2014 season is over, it’s time to reflect. Over the next ten days or so, we’ll look back at the Cardinals’ 11-win campaign, position by position.A big part of what made the Arizona Cardinals’ defense so good was its safeties. The four-person group was dynamic, versatile and impactful, and afforded defensive coordinator Todd Bowles plenty of freedom to employ unique schemes. last_img read more

Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impa

first_img Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) 1 Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Good news for the Arizona Cardinals offense. Both running back Andre Ellington and wide receiver Brittan Golden will be in uniform and thus available to play Week 9 at the San Francisco 49ers.Ellington and Golden had been listed questionable with quadriceps and groin injuries, respectively.Ellington’s injury kept him out of the game against the Rams in London.There’s good news for the Cardinals defense as well. Despite being labeled questionable on Friday’s injury report, linebacker Karlos Dansby (finger/hamstring) and defensive lineman Frostee Rucker (knee/hip) will play. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Golden did not practice Thursday or Friday, but he apparently is good to go. The same can’t be said for fellow wideout Chad Williams. He, too, did not practice the last two days of the week due to a back issue. Williams is inactive, as he has been each of the past four weeks.The remaining inactives are running back D.J. Foster, offensive lineman Will Holden, center Daniel Munyer, tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, defensive lineman Xavier Williams and linebacker Scooby Wright.Munyer (toe) had already been ruled out, and he did not make the trip.For the 49ers, offensive lineman Garry Gilliam (knee), defensive tackle D.J. Jones (knee), defensive end Aaron Lynch (calf), left tackle Joe Staley (eye), defensive end Solomon Thomas (knee) and cornerback K’Waun Williams (quadriceps) are out due to injury and among the listed inactives.The others player not in uniform for San Francisco is linebacker Pita Taumoepenu. Top Stories last_img read more

Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires

first_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) Comments Share Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former San Diego Chargers head coach and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is expected to join the Arizona Cardinals as head coach Steve Wilks’ offensive coordinator, reports 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro.The 18-year NFL coach is receiving a two-year deal from the Cardinals, according to Gambadoro.McCoy began the 2017 season as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator before he was fired in November after the team lost its sixth straight game. In that span that sealed his fate, McCoy’s Denver offense averaged 322.2 yards and 14.2 points per game. Before his brief second stay in the Mile High City, he served as the Chargers’ head coach from 2013-2016.McCoy’s first stint with the Broncos came from 2009-2012, when he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach before he dropped the quarterback job from 2010-2012.As a quarterback product out of Utah, McCoy played for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe from 1997 to 1998 and Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League in 1999.McCoy will succeed Harold Goodwin, who spent 2013-2017 as the offensive coordinator under Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians.last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter JW Marriott Phuket R

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletter >JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa’s Kabuki Japanese Cuisine Theatre is relaunching the Japanese Sunday Brunch from 13 December 2015.The Kabuki Japanese Cuisine Theatre presents the drama of Japanese cuisine in a fun dining experience, known for its lavish and modern Japanese cuisine, with three distinctive Live Teppanyaki stations.Three Teppanyaki combinations are prepared to perfection by skilful chefs who display their art from behind a large show counter for all to see. A must-try dish is the Tonkutsu – deep fried pork cutlet at the Tempura station. For desserts, guests may indulge in blissful treats ranging from sweet and fruity sushi to a luscious chocolate fountain and orange yuzu cheesecake, just to name a few.The Kabuki’s Japanese Sunday Brunch is available every Sunday from noon to 3pm. Priced at THB 2000++ per person including food and free flow of soft drinks, 50% off for children aged 7to 12.Go back to the e-newsletter >last_img read more

This time she reappears as a mystical Mermaid th

first_imgThis time she reappears as a mystical Mermaid, “the soul and spirit behind the first Virgin Voyages ship”, Virgin Voyages said. “Her name, and therefore the name of our first vessel, was carefully deliberated and finally chosen to be Scarlet Lady. Scarlet is the embodiment of everything this ship represents. As our figurehead, she takes on a role historically dedicated to goddesses, important women in society and even mermaid figures,” the Virgin Voyages blog said.“Though beautiful and mysterious in vision, she represents a woman of power – the leader not only on our first voyage, but also in our efforts to encourage front-facing female leaders throughout our company with our Virgin Voyages Scarlet Squad Program.“From engineers to builders, marine tech to crew captains and technical positions, this program is meant to help female leaders break through the glass ocean if you will; it’s meant to create more leadership positions for women on the operations side of the sea travel industry,” Virgin Voyages said.Overnight (Thursday 26 July), Scarlet Lady’ drydock in Genoa, Italy was flooded for the ships “jumboisation” – enlarging the ship by adding an entire section of the hull – see images below.Meanwhile, a Steel Cutting Ceremony for Virgin Voyages’ second vessel, due for delivery in 2021, was held in Genoa, Italy a few days ago.Furthermore, Virgin Voyages has released a preview video of it’s classy Athletic Club, which appears to feature an outdoor boxing/sparring ring on the upper deck. View the video on LinkedIn (below) for a fly through.Lead image credit – Tania Steere. Other images sourced from Virgin Voyages.Go back to the enewsletter Go back to the enewsletterVirgin Voyages has announced the name of its first oceangoing vessel as Scarlet Lady in a throwback to one of the first planes of Virgin Atlantic’s fleet.The first Lady Ship of the Virgin Voyages fleet is well underway and Virgin Group has adopted a similar lady image which appears on other Virgin entities. Designed by artist Toby Tinsley, her likeness appears on the Virgin Atlantic and Australia aircraft as well as the Virgin Galactic spaceline.last_img read more

Related Most Brits still plan to book summer holid

first_img RelatedMost Brits still plan to book summer holiday flightsMost Brits still plan to book summer holiday flightsCrunch Time – how safe are your holiday plans?I am sick of hearing about all this Credit Crunch stuffHolidaymakers looking for ‘peace and quiet’UK-based holidaymakers are turning away from action-orientated getaways in favour of breaks that offer peace and quite. Holidays are the last thing that UK consumers would give up, it has been claimed.According to travel company TUI Travel, Britons’ desire to hop onto cheap flights for a standard annual holiday has not diminished in the face of the credit crunch.Dermot Blastland, TUI managing director, explained: “Customers do not see their main annual holiday as a luxury but rather as a necessity.”Neither First Choice or Thomson have seen any evidence of deteriorating customer sentiment in booking patterns or the average holiday duration booked; in fact, over half of our customers agree that even if they had to cut back on spending, their main holiday abroad would be the last thing they would give up.”Meanwhile, recent research by insurance company Towergate found that more consumers are considering taking flights to domestic seaside destinations.Of the 2,000 that responded to the poll, 65 per cent claimed they will take a holiday within the UK over the next 12 months.Flight search engine also recently reported a 35% increase in visitor traffic, suggesting that people were still travelling, despite financial worries. ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Maplast_img read more

4 Be a high roller in Las Vegas If you go to

first_img4) Be a high roller in Las Vegas If you go to Sin City, then the only ball rolling is going to be the one on the roulette wheel! From the casinos, to nightlife, to pool parties to nightly musical entertainment, you’ll never have a dull moment! Just remember…’what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’. 6) Shopping break in DubaiHome to the largest mall in the world, ladies, prepare to fulfil all your shopping fantasies by taking a trip to Dubai. The Dubai Mall is the same size as 50 football pitches and has over 1200 shops. On top of that, there’s an indoor waterfall, an Olympic sized ice-rink, an aquarium and a theme park, so you’ll never be short of football-avoidance activities. For more football-free holiday inspiration, check out the 10 most amazing natural wonders of the world. ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map 5) Watch Sumo Wrestling in TokyoWant to see some sport…but as long as it’s anything BUT football? Why not jump on a flight to Tokyo and watch some sumo wrestling? Visit a ‘sumo stable’ and you may even get a close-up view of the wrestlers during their energetic morning practise session. If sumo spectating doesn’t float your boat, Tokyo is a great city for food, shopping, mountain views, museums and of course all the wacky electronic innovations too. 3) Visit remote lands by heading to Easter IslandFamous for being the most remote island on the planet, Easter Island is 2182 miles away from mainland Chile and there’s not a chocolate bunny in sight! It’s known to locals as ‘Rapa Nui’ which translates as ‘belly button of the world’. The island only has one town and under 6000 inhabitants and there are 887 mysterious monolithic statues known as ‘Moai’. 10) Get a boat to Tristan da Cunha IslandKnown for being the most isolated community in the world – Tristan da Cunha is a tiny island in the South Atlantic Ocean. There are only around 275 people living on the island and you must contact the Island’s council in advance for approval before you visit. There are no hotels (only home stays and guest houses), no airports, no nightclubs, and the sea isn’t safe for swimming. It’s the perfect place to ‘find yourself’ (let’s face it – you’re not going to find much else there). It takes five to ten days by boat from Cape Town to get there, but there are only around ten ships that make this trip a year, so if you oversleep on departure day, hard luck! 7) Sunshine and theme parks in Orlando, FloridaWhether you’re two or ninety-two, this may just be the ideal escape option for you. Bask in the Orlando sunshine and relive your childhood by visiting one of the many theme parks. It’s not all about Mickey, Minnie and the Magic Kingdom; there’s also Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Epcot. If you find yourself in Epcot, head to the World Showcase, where you can walk to 11 countries in a matter of minutes. From sampling pasta in ‘Italy’ to beer in ‘Germany’ – you’ll be able to appreciate different countries of the world without any mention of a certain sporting competition.center_img 8) Snorkelling and Scuba Diving in FijiNothing shouts out ‘football-free zone’ like being on a gorgeous South Pacific Island. Fly into Nadi and get a boat to the Yasawa Islands for beach huts, palm trees, crystal clear water and great scuba diving and snorkelling spots. RelatedTop trips for teenagersThose turbulent teenage years are hard enough as it is without throwing the thorny issue of ‘who wants to holiday where’5 great winter sun escapesThe season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon us, but if you dream of warmer climes, plot your escape now.10 places to visit in Brazil: in picturesWorld Cup wonders: check our our gorgeous gallery of 10 of Brazil’s natural beauties. 2) Go on a jungle trek in Chiang Mai, ThailandIf you want to avoid television (and all forms of electricity) completely, then why not head to Chiang Mai and book yourself on a jungle trek? You’ll be swapping the sound of a referee’s whistle for the sound of squealing gibbons as you hike through the jungle, and cross paths with elephants.A sure-fire way to avoid the latest football scores is to stay with a hill tribe who have never even heard of the word ‘football’. You may even find yourself amongst the ‘long neck Karen tribe’ who wear large brass rings to elongate their necks as a sign of tradition and beauty. If you’d rather pay a visit to the dentist than watch the World Cup, then it’s officially time to start planning your escape! From beach breaks to shopping sprees to safaris and sumo wrestling, there are plenty of ways to flee the football fever. Here are 10 holiday ideas to_ really _escape the world cup.1) Safari Holiday in Kruger National Park, South AfricaForget ‘three lions on a shirt’ and swap the roar of the stadium crowd, for the roar of the real-life king of the jungle. At Kruger National Park, football will be the last thing on your mind. Drive through the park and you’ll see monkeys, tigers, zebras, giraffes, warthogs, elephants and many more. There are even on-site camping facilities, so sleep beneath the stars and the World Cup will be a distant memory. 9) Log cabin in NorwayWhether you want to be beside the fjords, high in the mountains, or in the woods – there are thousands of different options to hire a log cabin, hut or holiday cottage in Norway. Check out Svalbard for beautiful untouched arctic wilderness. Nothing says ‘getting away from it all’ like heading to remote territory with just a polar bear as your neighbour. It may play havoc with your body clock though – during the summer months there are 24 hours of daylight here. last_img read more

Dallas Texas – Reported by Elite Traveler the pr

first_imgDallas, Texas – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazineMillion Air Dallas received the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Diamond Award for Excellence for the fourth consecutive year in a row. The Diamond Award, the FAA’s most prestigious Maintenance honor, signifies Million Air Dallas’s ongoing commitment to aircraft maintenance training and safety excellence. Inspector Oscar Escobedo presented the Diamond Award Certificate of Excellence to the Million Air Dallas Maintenance team at the FBO in Addison, Texas on March 1st, 2012.The award program was implemented by the FAA to recognize and honor employers and technicians who take the initiative to commit to aircraft maintenance training and safety excellence in the areas of initial and recurrent training. The FAA awards range from Bronze to Diamond, with Diamond being the highest rating and most prestigious.In addition, 11 maintenance technicians received the Maintenance Technician Award (AMT) from the FAA for excellence achieved in maintenance training. Those recognized by the FAA are as follows:Bryan Boen – Bronze Award Wayne Carter – Silver Award Bill Enckhausen – Bronze Award Kem Fishburn – Bronze Award Steve Grandell – Bronze Award Aaron Guajardo – Silver Award Greg Meals – Bronze Award Ron McCaskill – Bronze Award Dwayne Obenshain – Bronze Award John Powers – Bronze Award John Reese – Silver AwardPlease view our website for more information. Or our Facebook Page: Air Dallas is rated “Platinum” by ARG/US, is a member of the Wyvern Wingman program, holds the “Diamond” award for maintenance excellence from the FAA, is registered by the ACSF (Air Charter Safety Foundation) and by IS/BAO and has successfully met all the Safety Management System requirements at the Stage II level.Since 1984, Million Air Dallas has combined luxurious flight services with award winning excellence. By providing the highest level of service at competitive rates, Million Air Dallas continues to take the industry to new heights. We offer outstanding service in aircraft charter, aircraft sales, aircraft management, FBO services, and aircraft maintenance. Customers receive 24-hour access to the fleet without having to purchase a membership, place a large deposit, pay capital or leasing costs, or monthly management fees.www.millionairdallas.comlast_img read more