National home sales up 5.2 percent

WASHINGTON – Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 5.2 percent in November 2016 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000 units, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

“New home sales showed growing strength in 2016, and builders expect more of the same next year,” said Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. “A key to continued growth in 2017 will be to ensure that prospective, qualified first-time home buyers have access to affordable home loans.”

“NAHB expects an increase in single-family home construction next year, fueled by a growing economy and solid job growth,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Moreover, builder confidence has risen on anticipation of reductions in regulatory costs, which is good news for home buyers and renters. However, the pace of construction will continue to be restricted by shortages of lots and labor in some markets.”

The inventory of new home sales for sale was 250,000 in November, which is a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace. The median sales price of new houses sold was $305,400.

Regionally, new home sales increased 43.8 percent in the Midwest and 7.7 percent in the West. Sales were unchanged in the Northeast and fell 3.1 percent in the South.


Locals provide relief from wildfires

Tennessee State Bank, the Dollywood Foundation and WIVK radio have partnered for the My People Fund to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the recent East Tennessee wildfires, according to TSB President and CEO Todd Proffitt.


The Dollywood Foundation will provide $1,000 a month to families who lost their homes in the fires for six months so they can get back on their feet. To help in this effort, donations can be made at any TSB location, which includes branches in Sevier, Knox, Cocke and Jefferson Counties or at the Dollywood

“Tennessee State Bank offers thoughts and prayers of support to all affected, which includes some of our own TSB families who were touched by the recent fire disaster,” Proffitt said. “We are thankful to all who have responded to this crisis; with willingness to serve in any capacity. Tennessee State Bank is blessed to be part of this community and stands ready to participate in the healing and rebuilding process. We are grateful to live and work in the Volunteer State.”

Tennessee State Bank is a locally-owned and operated community bank headquartered at 2210 Parkway in Pigeon Forge. The bank consists of 15 branch locations throughout Knox, Sevier, Jefferson and Cocke counties. The bank is a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) member and an Equal Housing Lender.

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NAHB hosts forecast webinar

WASHINGTON – The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will host its Semi-Annual Construction Forecast Webinar on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET, featuring industry experts, including Leonard Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist, Freddie Mac, for a lively discussion on what’s ahead for housing. Topics will include:

Current market conditions as well housing’s potential and most likely path for the rest of 2016 and beyond.
Recovery hurdles like lot and labor shortages, and tight credit.
Tailwinds pushing housing such as demographics and pent-up demand.
Federal Reserve actions and their impacts.
Regional and state analysis and factors, such as employment, that affect housing

The schedule of speakers includes:
Robert Dietz, PhD, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, NAHB
Leonard Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist, Freddie Mac
Robert Denk, Senior Economist, NAHB

Participants will have the opportunity to submit questions during the webinar.

Registration for NAHB members is $29.95 and $49.95 for non-members. To register for the webinar or for additional information, please visit Before the event, participants will receive an email with specific log-in instructions to gain access to the live meeting. After the event, the webinar will be available in the NAHB archives to all registrants for on-demand viewing.


TSB launches money ed center

Tennessee State Bank has announced a new initiative to bring financial education to adults. The TSB Financial Wellness Center uses cutting-edge technology that incorporates video, animations, gaming and social networking to effectively teach complex financial concepts for adults. Developed by EverFi, an independent and industry-leading education technology company, the TSB Financial Wellness Center will be made available to customers and employees and no cost.

This innovative online financial education tool helps individuals develop the skill-set to successfully manage their finances and make sound financial decisions.

“Tennessee State Bank is committed to empowering families with the skills they need to thrive financially and plan for their future,” said Todd Proffitt. “It is more important than ever for people to have the skills to navigate an increasingly complex financial system and Tennessee State Bank is proud to offer this innovative educational experience to benefit our customers and employees.”

EverFi pic

The TSB Financial Wellness Center learning experience is specifically designed for today’s busy adult. The mobile and tablet friendly platform is available in English and Spanish and features a series of 10-minute learning modules that cover topics such as mortgages, overdrafts and learning how to improve your credit score. The program is self-paced and contains knowledge checks that allow users to measure their knowledge gains.

Tennessee State Bank is a locally-owned and operated community bank headquartered at 2210 Parkway in Pigeon Forge. The bank consists of 15 branch locations throughout Knox, Sevier, Jefferson and Cocke counties. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.

Be debt-free in 2016

If taking control of your money is one of your goals this year, you need to come up with a plan that’ll outlast your Valentine’s Day roses, says financial expert Dave Ramsey.  To make that happen, he says, you must begin with a plan to pay off your debts, beginning with the smallest one. This frees up more of your money to pay off even more debts, and you create a snowball effect. This changes you from being a person who buys what they can’t afford into a person who can afford to buy what they really want, in cash.

  1. Where do I want to be financially at this time next year?

Take a look into the future. Imagine yourself better off, money-wise, by 2017. What does that look like for you? Depending on where you are now and just how gazelle intense you want to get, you might have made a dent in your consumer debt, or you might be coasting through a fully funded retirement plan and gearing up to finally pay off your house. You’ll set yourself up for success by having a solid, definable goal in mind with a timeline in place to reach it.

Use an outline to help you break down your goals into tiny, bite-size pieces. Now pull out your calendar and start writing down your goals!

  1. How can I kick-start dumping debt for good?

The key to freeing yourself from debt is making a budget and sticking to it so you can see where your money is going. Try it out for about three months to get the hang of it and to see some patterns in your spending. Once you do, it’s pretty simple, and it can actually be fun! This is a habit worth starting.

Once you have a budget, you have to change your perspective. You have to hate being in debt. That’ll make you pay your bills off fast. That also means you might have to delay some things you really, really want. But if you slog through the painful stuff now, you’ll reap the rewards later.

  1. What are my biggest financial obstacles?

Change isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would be debt-free. That’s why you need to identify what’s held you back in the past and attack those obstacles head on. Do you spend money you don’t have? Is your accountability partner MIA? Does an endless stream of emergencies drag you back into debt as soon as you’ve gotten out?

Identify your weaknesses or stumbling blocks so you can protect yourself from them when you’re feeling tempted or backed into a corner. Where are you spending your time? Are your priorities lining up with your goals?

So, now that you’ve faced the hard questions, are you ready to make 2016 your best year yet? With the right level of determination and a little bit of planning, you can be debt-free.

For more ideas on how to get control of your finances, visit