US Pending Home Sales Slip in October


Collierville Land Sells for $1.5 Million

Commercial property at Winchester and Byhalia roads in Collierville has sold for $1.5 million.

CGL Investments LLC sold two parcels of vacant land to Innovative Investments LLC. The address given on the Nov. 18 warranty deed was 484 Winchester Road, located on the northeast corner of Winchester and Byhalia.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal for the two parcels, which total 2.5 acres, is $1.3 million.

Source: The Daily News Online Chandler Reports
– Amos Maki


Grizz Holding Food Drive for Mid-South Food Bank

In their annual tradition, the Memphis Grizzlies and ACH Food Cos. Inc. are teaming up for a canned food drive to benefit the Mid-South Food Bank on Friday, Dec. 5, when the Grizzlies take on the San Antonio Spurs at FedExForum.

Fans who make a nonperishable food or monetary donation will receive a buy-one-get-one ticket voucher, courtesy of ACH Food Cos., to one of two future Grizzlies contests – the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 9 or the Charlotte Hornets on Dec. 12.

The Grizzlies will host a second canned food drive with ACH Food Cos. on March 6 when the Grizzlies take on the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Mid-South Food Bank serves charitable agencies that feed hungry and needy people in West Tennessee, East Arkansas and North Mississippi. Founded in 1981 as the only organization in the region to supply food to all qualified charitable organizations, the Mid-South Food Bank provides millions of pounds of food to emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, youth and senior programs, daycares and rehabilitation programs.

– Don Wade


Harris Chosen to Lead Tennessee Senate Democrats

Newly elected state Sen. Lee Harris of Memphis is the new leader of Tennessee Senate Democrats.

Harris was chosen Tuesday, Nov. 25, by the group of five Democratic senators. Three of the five Democrats in the 33-member state Senate are from Memphis: Harris and Sens. Sara Kyle and Reginald Tate.

Harris’ resignation from the Memphis City Council is effective in January, just days before the start of the Legislature’s 2015 session. He was elected to the Senate seat in November after upsetting incumbent Sen. Ophelia Ford in the August primaries.

Harris succeeds state Sen. Jim Kyle, also of Memphis, as head of the caucus. Kyle resigned from the Senate following his election as a Shelby County Chancery Court judge in August.

– Bill Dries


Big Legal Need Among Low-Income Tennesseans

A new study found more than 60 percent of low-income Tennesseans face a significant civil legal need.

According to a news release from the Tennessee Supreme Court, respondents cited conflicts with creditors and landlords, problems obtaining or paying for health care, and difficulties with government benefits.

Unlike criminal legal matters, people with civil legal needs are not entitled to public attorneys. And according to the study, only 25 percent of respondents were aware of resources to help find a lawyer.

Many said they did not seek help because they feared involving the courts would make their problems worse.

The Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission is seeking ways to provide help civil legal aid to needy Tennesseans. The group meets in December to discuss the study’s results.

– The Associated Press


Comcast Awards Grants to Tennessee Organizations

The Comcast Foundation announced it has made a series of financial grants totaling more than $87,000 to a variety of groups around Tennessee that support the underserved.

Beneficiaries include the American Red Cross; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Boys and Girls Clubs; the National Kidney Foundation; the Pencil Foundation; and Volunteer Mid-South.

Comcast vice president of external affairs Andy Macke said the grants help further Comcast’s desire “to be a key partner to those in need.”

– Andy Meek


Hargett Staffer Reserved Website for Governor’s Race

A political consultant hired to work in Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office reserved a website in the event his boss decided to run for governor.

WTVF-TV in Nashville reports that Hargett paid consultant Dennis Berwyn of North Carolina $6,000 a month as his director of policy. Berwyn managed a public relations campaign and newsletter called Tennessee Business Spotlight that heavily featured Hargett’s likeness and name.

While Hargett insisted that Berwyn’s work was not political, WTVF found that Berwyn is also the owner of the Internet domain for HargettForGovernor.com.

Hargett acknowledged that the connection “doesn’t look good,” but said the website registration was meant to protect him.

Following the WTVF interview, Hargett contacted other media to announce that he has no plans to run for governor in 2018.

– The Associated Press


Consumer Sentiment Rises for 4th Straight Month

Greater optimism about income growth and future spending pushed U.S. consumer sentiment to a fresh 7-year high in November.

The University of Michigan said Wednesday that its index of consumer sentiment rose to 88.8 in November from 86.9 in October. That’s the highest since July 2007, five months before the Great Recession began.

The report adds to a mixed picture of U.S. consumers heading into the holiday shopping season. A separate measure of consumer confidence, released Tuesday by the Conference Board, fell sharply after reaching its own 7-year high last month. And Americans are spending at a sluggish pace despite a pickup in job creation this year.

Consumers are more optimistic that their incomes will increase, the Michigan survey found, but their expectations are modest: Respondents expect their incomes will increase 1.1 percent over the next 12 months. That’s the most in six years, though still not enough to keep up with inflation.

Yet the Michigan survey also found other positive signs. Consumers said they were more likely to spend on big-ticket items such as appliances and autos than at any time since the recession began. And Americans expect recent steady job gains to continue and the unemployment rate to decline further.

– The Associated Press


US Pending Home Sales Slip in October

The number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes fell slightly in October as tight credit and lagging wages remained financial hurdles for would-be homebuyers.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index fell 1.1 percent in the past month to 104.1. The index remains below its 2013 average but is 2.2 percent higher than last October.

Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a contract and a completed sale. The number of contract signings rose in the Northeast but fell in the Midwest, South and Western regions of the U.S.

Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Ian Sheperdson said the latest numbers are “more evidence that the trend in housing market activity is flat, despite the gains in existing home sales in the past couple of months.”

Sales of existing homes rose 1.5 percent to 5.26 million last month, the briskest pace this year.

Housing has struggled to fully rebound since the recession ended more than five years ago. Many potential buyers lack the savings and strong credit history needed to afford a home, causing them to rent or remain in their existing houses instead of upgrading. Harsh winter weather crippled sales at the beginning of 2014, just as rising home prices and essentially flat incomes limited the supply of affordable homes for many Americans.

The Realtors group noted Wednesday that the average home price for October was $208,300. Monthly price growth for existing homes has slowed to 5.8 percent in 2014, leveling off from a rate of 11.5 percent last year. The group’s chief economist suggests the slower pace will keep affordability in check for prospective homebuyers.

– The Associated Press