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VOL. 128 | NO. 8 | Friday, January 11, 2013

Daily Digest

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Millbranch Properties Buys Germantown Office Complex

A Memphis-based company called Millbranch Properties LLC has paid $1.2 million for the multi-building office complex at 8590 Farmington Blvd. in Germantown.

The company bought the 22,580-square-foot property Dec. 27 from the Edward S. Kaplan Irrevocable Insurance Trust, Dated Dec. 22, 1989. The trust had acquired the property in 2001 for $1 million.

Built in 1979, the mixed-used office complex sits on 2.38 acres along the north side of Farmington Boulevard between Allenby Road and Cameron-Brown Park. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2012 appraisal was $864,600.

Millbranch Properties filed a $1.1 million deed of trust in conjunction with the purchase. Blair Graber signed the trust deed as manager of Millbranch Properties.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Memphis Area Association of Realtors Reports December Sales

Memphis-area home sales for December increased 26.5 percent from a year ago, with 1,156 total sales recorded in the Memphis Area Association of Realtors MAARdata property records database.

Average sales price year to date was up 2.2 percent at $128,774. Total home sales year to date were up 17.2 percent, and monthly sales volume increased 19.8 percent to $1.94 billion.

Total sales decreased 2 percent from November. Inventory declined 4.8 percent, with 6,481 units listed for sale.

The database includes records of all property transactions in Shelby, Fayette and Tipton counties.

– Sarah Baker

December Tax Collections Beat Projections by $25 Million

Tennessee’s general fund revenue collections came in $25 million above expectations in December, bringing the total surplus through the first five months of the budget year to $84 million.

December revenue collections reflect economic activity in November, which included shopping activity surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday.

Finance Commissioner Mark Emkes said the results may reflect renewed consumer confidence, but said figures to be released next month will give a better picture of the Christmas season.

The state collected about $12 million more than expected in December, a 5 percent growth rate.

Corporate franchise and excise were nearly $13 million above the budgeted estimate.

– The Associated Press

New Federal Rules to Curb Risky Mortgages

Federal regulators for the first time are laying out rules aimed at ensuring that mortgage borrowers can afford to repay the loans they take out.

The rules being unveiled Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau impose a range of obligations and restrictions on lenders, including bans on the risky “interest-only” and “no documentation” loans that helped inflate the housing bubble.

Lenders will be required to verify and inspect borrowers’ financial records.

The rules discourage them from saddling borrowers with total debt payments totaling more than 43 percent of the person’s annual income. That includes existing debts like credit cards and student loans.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray, in remarks prepared for an event Thursday, called the rules “the true essence of ‘responsible lending.’”

The rules, which take effect next year, aim to “make sure that people who work hard to buy their own home can be assured of not only greater consumer protections but also reasonable access to credit,” he said.

Cordray noted that in years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, consumers could easily obtain mortgages that they could not afford to repay. In contrast, in subsequent years banks tightened lending so much that few could qualify for a home loan.

The new rules seek out a middle ground by protecting consumers from bad loans while giving banks the legal assurances they need to increase lending, he said.

The mortgage-lending overhaul is a priority for the agency, which was created under the 2010 financial law known as the Dodd-Frank Act.

The agency is charged with reducing the risk of a credit bubble by helping to ensure that borrowers are better informed and loans are more likely to be repaid.

– The Associated Press

Bronson Sporting Goods Adopts Green Ballast Lighting

Tommy Bronson Sporting Goods, a local sporting goods provider for 86 years, has installed Green Ballast Inc.’s patented daylight harvesting fluorescent light ballasts in its new East Memphis location at 964 June Road.

Cliff Hunter, owner of Tommy Bronson Sporting Goods, said in a statement that “proper lighting is a key aspect of merchandising.”

Green Ballast, led by CEO J. Kevin Adams of CB Richard Ellis Memphis, is a developer and marketer of energy efficient electronic ballasts for fluorescent fixtures in the commercial lighting industry.

Green Ballast’s ballasts measure and harvest available daylight to calculate and provide only the amount of needed electricity for proper lighting.

In addition to Tommy Bronson, Green Ballast has added several clients to its portfolio in recent months, including commercial real estate developer Belz Enterprises and Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Real Estate Investment Trust Healthcare Trust of America Inc.

– Sarah Baker

Central Defense Security Distributes Coats

Central Defense Security, a leading provider of business, retail and warehouse security, recently distributed 40 coats to underprivileged families served by Memphis community centers.

The coats were collected from CDS employees, clients and the community during a coat drive in November. After the collection efforts, CDS had all of the coats professionally cleaned by Mercury Valet Dry Cleaners, which donated its services.

CDS then worked with Whitehaven Community Center to identify recipients for each of the 40 coats.

The coats were distributed Dec. 7 at the Whitehaven Community Center.

– Andy Meek

Federal Reserve Pays Government $88.9 Billion

The Federal Reserve paid the federal government a record $88.9 billion in 2012.

The central bank earned the money from the Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities it has purchased to drive interest rates lower and boost the economy.

The Fed said Thursday that the 2012 payment was up 17.9 percent from 2011 when it paid the federal government $75.4 billion. It also surpassed the previous record payment of $79.3 billion made in 2010.

The Fed began buying Treasury bonds and mortgage bonds during the last recession and has kept up the effort since the downturn ended in June 2009 in an effort to boost the sub-par recovery and lower high unemployment. It is currently purchasing $85 billion in bonds each month.

Fed officials say the massive bond buying, known as quantitative easing, is needed until economic growth is stronger.

But critics contend that the bond purchases could ultimately lead to higher inflation.

All of the Fed’s purchases have pushed the central bank’s balance sheet to $2.92 trillion, more than three times the size of the Fed’s holdings before the financial crisis struck in the fall of 2008.

The Fed is funded from interest earned on its portfolio of securities. After covering its expenses, the Fed makes a payment of the remaining amount to the Treasury Department. Before the Fed launched the first bond buying program in 2008, its annual payments had averaged below $30 billion for the previous three years.

The 2012 payment to the Treasury was reduced by $387 million, which went to fund the operations of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of Financial Research, two new agencies created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which overhauled the government’s financial regulations. Republicans opposed having these agencies receive their operating funds from the Federal Reserve rather than going through the normal appropriations process in Congress.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 66 153 14,870
MORTGAGES 64 144 19,474
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 22 3,817
BUILDING PERMITS 217 359 35,689
BANKRUPTCIES 59 121 14,155
BUSINESS LICENSES 24 86 5,077
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 71 170 21,603
MARRIAGE LICENSES 22 59 4,616

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