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VOL. 129 | NO. 139 | Friday, July 18, 2014

Daily Digest

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Crews Realty Buys Collierville Acreage for $2 Million

Three vacant parcels totaling about 231 acres at Tenn. 385 and Houston Levee Road in Collierville have sold for a combined $2 million.

A Germantown-based entity called HL385 Investments LLC, an affiliate of Crews Realty, bought the properties in two July 14 special warranty deeds from Jane Isbell Haynes, Barton F. Haynes, Elizabeth F. Haynes Burnett and Mary F. Haynes Gardner.

The buyer paid slightly less than $2 million for two parcels totaling 225.9 acres and $42,204 for another 5.3-acre parcel. All three parcels are classified as farm land and will become a mixed-use development.

One parcel with no address listed by the Shelby County Assessor of Property is 128.1 acres and has a 2014 appraised value of $2.1 million. Another, listed as 0 Houston Levee Road, is 97.8 acres with an appraised value of $1.6 million.

And the final parcel, whose address is listed as just Nonconnah Parkway, is 5.3 acres and has an appraised value of $215,400.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Cohen Co-Sponsors Bill on Pension Changes

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis is co-sponsoring a bill that would set a higher bar for local governments seeking to modify contracts with public employee unions as well as change benefits to local government retirees when a local government files for bankruptcy.

The bill was introduced Wednesday, July 16, in Washington by U.S. Rep. John Conyers, and Cohen is among the co-sponsors.

Cohen said, in a written statement, the legislation is necessary because of inadequacies in federal municipal bankruptcy laws that came to light with the recent bankruptcy filing of the city of Detroit.

– Bill Dries

Guidingpoint Financial Adds New Adviser

Michael Turner has joined Guidingpoint Financial Group, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services Inc., as an adviser.

He comes to Guidingpoint after almost two decades with Charles Schwab & Co., and Turner previously was a financial adviser with Ameriprise.

Guidingpoint co-leader Brian Douglas said Turner understands the Memphis community and has “deep connections” in the market, in addition to being committed to exceptional one-on-one client service, which aligns with the firm’s culture.

– Andy Meek

Ball Seeks Correction of Name on Ballots

Knoxville attorney Gordon Ball wants the Shelby County Election Commission to correct a misspelling of his name on Shelby County absentee ballots that include the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in which he is a candidate.

The ballot lists his name as Gordan Ball.

“Our names are important,” Ball said in a written statement Thursday. “How would Sen. Lamar Alexander feel if his name was misspelled by one letter. If Lamer Alexander were on the ballot, the senator probably wouldn’t like this anymore than I do.”

– Bill Dries

Tourism Department Presents New Tennessee Logo

Tennessee’s tourism agency has a new logo and ad campaign aimed to spark travelers’ interest in a vacation that can only be made in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s “Made in Tennessee” campaign features original music from Tennessee musicians and highlights other unique aspects of the state.

Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker said in a news release announcing the new branding that the campaign will emphasize Tennessee’s scenic beauty, music, history and family-friendly attractions.

The campaign will include famous Tennessee residents like Dolly Parton and Jack White.

According to the department, tourism is Tennessee’s No. 2 industry, with a $16.2 billion annual economic impact.

– The Associated Press

US Home Construction Drops 9.3 Percent in June

U.S. home construction fell in June to the slowest pace in nine months, a setback to hopes that housing is regaining momentum and will boost economic growth this year.

Construction fell 9.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 893,000 homes, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That was the slowest pace since last September and followed a 7.3 percent drop in May, a decline even worse than initially reported.

Applications for building permits, considered a good indicator of future activity, were also down in June, dropping 4.2 percent to a rate of 963,000 after a 5.1 percent decline in May.

The worse-than-expected June performance reflected a big drop in activity in the South, where construction plunged by 29.6 percent last month.

Analysts, however, said that the June decline in construction may have been influenced by temporary factors such as heavy rain in parts of the South which could have held back housing starts in that region.

Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO, said it was too soon to conclude that the housing recovery has stalled. “After all, job growth continues, mortgage rates are near their lows for 2014 and homebuilder confidence has been increasing,” she said in a research note.

The overall weakness reflected a 9 percent fall in construction of single-family homes, the biggest part of the market, and a 9.9 percent drop in construction of apartments and other multi-family units.

– The Associated Press

US Unemployment Aid Applications Drop to 302,000

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week, a steady decline that suggests a strengthening job market.

Weekly applications for unemployment aid dipped 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped 3,000 to 309,000, the level since June 2007, about five months before the start of the Great Recession.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs, a sign that they expect economic growth to continue. When businesses are confident enough to keep staff, they are also likely to hire more people.

Hiring is at its healthiest clip since the late 1990s and the 6.1 percent unemployment rate is at a 5 1/2-year low. Employers added 288,000 jobs in June, the fifth straight month of job gains above 200,000.

The latest report on unemployment benefits “suggests another solid payroll report” with job additions in July, said Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.

Still, the steady hiring gains have yet to boost wages significantly. Wage growth has barely matched inflation since the recession ended five years ago.

But more people with jobs increases the total number of paychecks, which could boost consumer spending and growth. After a sharp contraction in the economy in the first three months of the year, most economists expect growth to return in the April-June quarter and exceed 3 percent at an annual pace in the second half of 2014.

– The Associated Press

30-Year Mortgage Rate Near Historic Low

Average U.S. mortgage rates declined slightly this week, with rates remaining near historic lows.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the nationwide average for a 30-year loan dipped to 4.13 percent, down from 4.15 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, edged down to 3.23 percent, compared with 3.24 percent last week.

Mortgage rates are below the levels of a year ago, having fallen in recent weeks after climbing last summer when the Federal Reserve began talking about reducing the monthly bond purchases it was making to keep long-term rates low.

Rates on one-year adjustable rate mortgages were 2.39 percent this week, down from 2.40 percent last week, while rates on five-year adjustable rate mortgages were 2.97 percent, down from 2.99 percent last week.

At 4.13 percent, the rate on a 30-year mortgage is down from 4.53 percent at the beginning of this year.

Rates have fallen modestly even though the Fed has been trimming its monthly bond purchases. Fed Chair Janet Yellen told Congress this week that the purchases will likely end altogether at the end of October.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 76 166 10,044
MORTGAGES 105 195 13,070
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 35 2,573
BUILDING PERMITS 216 370 23,894
BANKRUPTCIES 82 152 9,685
BUSINESS LICENSES 42 51 3,654
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 103 264 14,227
MARRIAGE LICENSES 29 53 3,116

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